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Five things you need to know about the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest


We hate to admit it, but chances are a lot of us will be doing the same thing this Saturday night. We'll be rounding up a group of friends, popping open a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and watching the Eurovision song contest.

And while there are some very amusing and unlikely highlights at this year's event - from this year's host who plays the leading Kasper Juul in Borgen to the Latvian song that pays tribute to The Great British Bake Off - it's also shadowed in controversy with Russia and Ukraine set to compete against one another and an online backlash over Austria's drag queen entree.

So, without further ado, we bring you the five things you need to know about this year's song contest in Copenhagen.

Ukraine and Russia could compete against one another

Russian singer Filipp Kirkorov posted this picture of the Russian and Ukrainian Eurovision performers on Instagram

The Eurovision song contest insists it is strictly nonpolitical, however there is speculation that Russia will face a backlash and fail to qualify in the semi-final round tonight in Copenhagen, due to the country's aggression towards Ukraine and president Putin’s outspoken homophobia.

Russia's act, 17-year-old twin sisters Anastasia and Maria Tolmachevy who are former winners of Junior Eurovision, and Ukraine's performer, 21-year-old Maria Yaremchuk, are set to compete virtually back-to-back - with Azerbaijan in between - tonight in the first of the semi-finals. The two acts are pictured together above.

Borgen's sex symbol is the host

You might recognise this year's unlikely co-host. It's actor Pilou Asbaek, best known for playing spin doctor Kasper Juul in hit Danish drama Borgen. His secret life and stubble make him Borgen's answer to Don Draper.

He's partnered alongside Lise Rønne, who has hosted X-Factor in Denmark.

Famous drag queen Conchita Wurst will represent Austria

Tom Neuwirth, better known as his bearded drag persona, Conchita Wurst, will compete in the contest for Austria. Wurst says she has been an avid watcher of Eurovision "as far back as I can remember". However, she is facing transphobic backlash online from conservative protesters in Russia, Armenia and Belarus.

According to Reuters, a 2013 Russian petition signed by more than 15,000 people requested the state broadcaster to remove Eurovision from its TV schedule, saying: "Austria will be represented in Eurovision 2014 by the transvestite contestant Conchita Wurst, who leads the lifestyle inapplicable for Russians [sic]".

Wurst recently said to the BBC, "I wanted to show that you can achieve anything - you have to work hard and you have to believe in yourself".

Latvia gives a nod to The Great British Bake Off

"I've got a cake to bake – I’ve got no clue at all... Come on and ask your mother, how to bake, bake that cake." These are the lyrics to Latvian's entree by band Aarzemnieki. At the London Eurovision party last month the group dedicated their performance to Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry.

France's song about a man who wants to grow a moustache

Hipster group Twin Twin will represent France with their track 'The Moustache'. Their catchy dance track "tells the story of a man who already has everything, but who still wants a moustache" and it's "a humorous and affectionate critique of our culture of hyper-consumption" according to the trio of singers.

The Eurovision semi-finals will be broadcast live on BBC Three at 8pm tonight and on Thursday 8 May

Watch the Eurovision Song Contest grand final on Saturday 10 May at 8pm on BBC1

(Images: Rex Features)



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