It may be tacky, but it‘s a highlight of European cultural life. The Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday brings together millions of people in front of their TVs and thousands more personally in Estonia for the event.
Blind German singer Corinna May is one of the favorites at this year's Eurovision Song Contest.
Everything from a Slovenian transvestite trio to a blind German singer will take to the stage in Talinn on Saturday evening. Twenty-four little-known bands are bidding for stardom in the Eurovision song contest.
An estimated 160 million TV viewers will be watching with bated breath to see who will win Europe’s most-famous battle of the bands. The contest, which launched Swedish pop group ABBA into superstardom when they won with "Waterloo" in 1974, is being hosted by last year's surprise winners, Estonia.
Simultaneously mocked as a tacky TV spectacle and hailed as a gateway to fame for a lucky few, the annual songfest looks set to live up to all expectations in its 47th year.
Hopefuls include the Slovenian transvestite pop trio called Sisters and Britain's Jessica Garlick, who became an overnight starlet after making the finals of British TV show Pop Idol. France's Celine Dion-like ballad "Il faut du temps" sung by Sandrine Francois, Germany's disco-style "I Can't Live Without Music" by Corinna May and Spain's "Europe's Living a Celebration" by performer Rosa are also up in the running.
But no Eurovision outcome is a sure bet.
Estonia's Tanal Padar (photo) and Dave Benton triumphed against all odds last year with their Kool and the Gang-like shuffle "Everybody", showing Europe the tiny Baltic state had learned to boogie since breaking out of the Soviet Union 10 years ago.