Eurovision Song Contest brings its brassy beat to Lisbon

Eurovision Song Contest brings its brassy beat to Lisbon
Policemen stand behind a banner outside the venue hosting the Eurovision Song Contest, Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Lisbon. The Eurovision Song Contest final will be held on Saturday May 12. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Rehearsals are underway for the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest, which kicks off this weekend in Portugal and ends with the final in Lisbon on May 12.

The annual event’s official curtain raising is on Sunday, with a parade of artists from 43 countries taking part.

The semifinals are on Tuesday and Thursday.

The show is the world’s longest-running international television music competition.

Portugal is hosting it this year because its contestant Salvador Sobral won the 2017 event in Ukraine.

The hot favorite is Israeli vocalist Netta with her song “Toy,” which has already racked up more than 17 million views on Eurovision’s YouTube channel.

The show is famous for being glittery, and having a generous dollop of kitsch, but the Portuguese organizers say they’re keeping a tight lid on costs.