Today one of the significant events, on the road to the Eurovision Song Contest, will take place. The draw for allocating the competing countries in the two semi finals. The draw will be streamed live through the YouTube channel.

Before the draw allocation though, the Host Insignia Handover Ceremony will be held . Both events will take place in Camara Municipal de Lisboa’s Salão Nobre (Noble Hall) and will be hosted by Sílvia Alberto and Filomena Cautela, the two Eurovision 2018 hostesses.

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During the Host Insignia Handover Ceremony the Mayor of Kiev, Mr. Vitali Klitschko, will officially hand over the keys to the Mayor of Lisbon, Mr. Fernando Medina. For this purpose a whole ceremony will take place that will declare officially Lisbon as the Eurovision 2018 host city. The traditional ceremony will evolve in the presence of EBU’s executive supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest,  Mr. Jon Ola Sand , who will address a short speech to the audience on behalf of the EBU.

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The allocation draw will be held just after the Host Insignia Handover Ceremony is completed. The 37 competing countries of the two semi finals have been divided into 6 pots for this purpose. The distribution of the countries in these six pots is based on their voting attitude in the past contests. This procedure was adopted by EBU in order to avoid neighboring voting and countries, that tend to vote for each other, to compete in the same semi final.

The countries are distributed in the 6 pots as following:

Pot 1: Albania, Switzerland, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, F.Y.R Macedonia

Pot 2: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden

Pot 3: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine

Pot 4: Hungary, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Moldavia, Bulgaria

Pot 5: Israel, Australia, Czech Republic, Malta, Austria, San Marino

Pot 6: Belgium,  The Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland

A total of 37 countries will compete in the two semi finals, 19 countries will compete in the first semi-final on 8 May and another group of 18 countries will compete in the second semi-final on 10 May. Today’s draw will determine into which semi-final each country will be allocated.  Another draw will be held to specify in which half of the semi final will each country perform (first or second half) .

The Big 5 countries (Spain , France, UK, Germany and Italy) alongside with the host country, Portugal, although they automatically qualify  to the grand final they vote in the semi finals too. Therefore, another draw today will determine in which semi-final will each one of them vote.

However the precise running order of the competing countries in the two semi-finals will be decided  by the producers of the show until the end of March.

The audience can watch live the events  on Eurovision.tv YouTube Channel , RTP 1 Webstream and on RTP 1.

We remind you that a total of 43 countries will compete in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest , which will be held on 8 (1st semi final) , 10 (2nd semi final) and 12 May (Grand Final) in Lisbon at the Altrice Arena.