UK's Engelbert Humperdinck to kick off Eurovision
Britain's Engelbert Humperdinck will open the proceedings as 26 countries compete in the final of this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Baku on Saturday.
Serbia, Romania and Italy are among those tipped for success but they will face stiff competition from Russia's entry, the "Buranovo Grannies".
Ireland will be represented by pop duo Jedward for the second year running, following the brothers' finish in eighth place last year.
The Azeri government has poured money into the contest but much of the media attention has focussed on Azerbaijan's poor human rights record, and protests by democracy campaigners being broken up in the capital Baku.
Steve Rosenberg reports.