It is seen by Britons as a celebration of kitsch - a harmless event which millions watch despite our chance of victory being close to nil. But for many citizens of this year's host country, Azerbaijan, the Eurovision Song Contest has brought misery as the government has forcibly evicted thousands from their homes in the run-up to the competition.
The BBC will today unveil the song that 75-year-old Englebert Humperdinck, pictured right, will sing at the event in May, at what could be the most controversial Eurovision since it was held in Franco's fascist Spain.
When Azerbaijan won the right to host Eurovision, the government of President Ilham Aliyev saw a chance to showcase the gas-rich country's burgeoning economy. Activists, meanwhile, were optimistic that such a high-profile event would pressure the authoritarian regime to address its abysmal human-rights record.