The festival of camp, kitsch - and occasionally music - that is the Eurovision Song Contest is nearing its finale in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The 57th competition pits 26 finalists against one another.
All 26 contestants have taken to the stage in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan. German entrant Roman Lob was the 20th act, signing "Standing Still."
The annual competition, once billed as the search for "A Song for Europe," boasts a healthy mixture of youth and experience. Russia's red-clad singing grannies and famous UK crooner Engelbert Humperdinck would be examples of unusually elderly contestants in an event usually reserved for more youthful performers, like the Jedward twins from Ireland with their outrageous hair.
The winning country always hosts the following Eurovision finals, meaning that this year's competition is taking place in Baku after Eldar and Nigar won with their rendition of "Running Scared" in 2011. That event took place in Düsseldorf, Germany, after pop star Lena won the 2010 competition.
The build-up to the competition was marred by a string of anti-regime protests and subsequent arrests on the streets of Azerbaijan's capital. The country is run by President Ilham Aliyev, who took over the role from his father in 2003.
msh/ccp (AFP, AP)