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Eurovision contestants practice; big week for song contest

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/8/2017
Montenegro's Slavko Kalezic performs the song "Space" during rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest, in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, May 8, 2017. The first semi final of The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be held on May 9. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) © The Associated Press Montenegro's Slavko Kalezic performs the song "Space" during rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest, in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, May 8, 2017. The first semi final of The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be held on May 9. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

MOSCOW (AP) — Contestants for this year's Eurovision contest are holding practices in the Ukrainian capital.

Australia's Isaiah Firebrace performs the song "Don't Come Easy " during rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest, in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, May 8, 2017. The first semi final of The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be held on May 9. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) © The Associated Press Australia's Isaiah Firebrace performs the song "Don't Come Easy " during rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest, in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, May 8, 2017. The first semi final of The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be held on May 9. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Rehearsals have been underway in Kiev since April 30 for the annual song competition that pits performers from across the continent and also includes Australia and Israel.

Georgia's Tako Gachechiladze performs the song "Keep The Faith" during rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest, in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, May 8, 2017. The first semi final of The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be held on May 9. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) © The Associated Press Georgia's Tako Gachechiladze performs the song "Keep The Faith" during rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest, in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, May 8, 2017. The first semi final of The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be held on May 9. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

The contest, noted for its cheerfully garish clothes and often-kitschy performances, is one of Europe's most popular televised events. The final will be Saturday.

This year's edition has been overshadowed by controversy after Ukraine refused to allow Russia's Eurovision performer, Yulia Samoylova, to enter the country. Ukraine said she was banned because when she performed in Russia-annexed Crimea, she did not cross into it from Ukrainian territory.

Russia refused a European Broadcasting Union offer to have Samoylova perform live elsewhere says she will be Russia's Eurovision contestant for 2018.

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