Eurovision — think of it as a European-wide “The Voice” — is beset by controversy this year: Russia has no competitor, ostensibly because Ukraine, the host nation, has refused to allow Yulia Samoylova to enter the country. According to the Ukrainians, she’s attempting to interject politics into the event because of the song she had planned to perform.
The Russians are angry. The Ukrainians are angry. The television audience has no say in this.
But Russia is not backing down. As the Moscow Times reports,
Samoylova, will perform at a concert in Crimea instead of at the competition in Kiev.
Samoylova will take to the stage in Sevastopol on May 9, the day of the first Eurovision semi-final, local officials confirmed.
Crimea, of course, would be that part of Ukraine that Russia annexed a couple years ago.
Now that your appetite has been whetted, here’s some background information on the competition.