The first semifinal of the 62nd song contest Eurovision, which takes place in Ukraine, kicks off tonight, on May 9 at 21:00 CEST.
Ukrainian singer Jamala brought the ESC to Ukraine after winning in Stockholm in 2016 with the song “1944”.
This will be the second time the contest takes place in Kyiv after the victory of Ruslana in 2004.
The contest consists of two semi-finals on 9 and 11 May and the final on 13 May 2017, with all three live shows to be hosted by Oleksandr Skichko, Volodymyr Ostapchuk and Timur Miroshnychenko.
Forty-two countries will participate in the contest, including Romania and Portugal who return after a year’s absence. The best ten in each semifinal will proceed to the Grand Final from each Semi-Final. Traditionally, six countries are automatically pre-qualified for the Grand Final. The so-called 'Big Five' — France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom — and the host country. This brings the total number of Grand Final participants to 26.
Rockband O.Torvald performs for Ukraine this year on Eurovision 2017.
Russia withdrew their representative from the competition after Ukrainian authorities banned Yuliya Samoylova from entering Ukraine for illegal visiting Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014 and considered illegally occupied by Kyiv.
The logo and visual design of the contest incorporates imagery of stylized beads, with the main logo using the beads to form a traditional neck amulet.