Rehearsing for the main event, contestants from 26 countries taking to the stage ahead of Saturday's Eurovision Contest. Held in Ukrainian capital Kiev, the acts whittled down from 42 semifinalists will aim to impress an estimated 204 million viewers worldwide, all hoping to take Ukrainian singer Jamala's crown. She won last year, and her country won the right to host this year's competition.
But makers are still taking bets on potential winners, with Italy as the current favorite. Francesco Gabbani is representing the country, but says winning is not the most important thing for him.>> I want to be very honest about this. You embrace this experience of Eurovision with the aim of living a great adventure and not necessarily thinking of the first or second place.
>> For the third year in a row, the competition has opened up to an Australian entrant, with singer Isaiah hoping to beat his predecessors and take first place. Eurovision started in 1956 with the aim of uniting Europe after World War II. It's grown enormously since then, launching the careers of Abba, Julio Iglesias, and Celine Dion among others.
Controversy this year, though, for the first time in Eurovision history, the host nation barred another country's singer. Russian contestant Yulia Samoylova has been banned from entering Ukraine after performing in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia. Whoever wins will get the chance to perform their song once again, take home a glass microphone trophy, and their country will host the competition next year.