The Eurovision Song Contest is nursing its annual controversy, this year in the form of one bearded lady from Austria, 25-year-old Conchita Wurst.
Conchita (real name Tom Neuwirth) has divided followers of the contest into two strong camps - those who detest everything she stands for, namely Russian statesman Vitaly Milonov, a strong force behind his country's anti-gay promotional laws - and those who support Conchita's cause and, therefore, her music.
Conchita is representing Austria at this year's Eurovision Song Contest
Milonov has called her “a sick person” and asked his country to boycott the entire broadcast if Conchita is allowed to perform.
Conchita will be performing tonight in the second semi-final, singing for a place in Saturday's grand final.
MORE EUROVISION 2014:
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- WATCH: Eurovision's bearded lady 'just wants acceptance'
- WATCH: Is this the best winner ever?
- BLOG: The (un)official Eurovision scorecard
- BLOG: One's to watch at this year's Eurovision
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The Wall Street Journal reports Conchita's bemusement at causing such a reaction.
“We are living in the 21st century and for me it is incomprehensible how one can say such things,” the Austrian performer said in an interview after dress rehearsals in Copenhagen.
“Sexuality and nationality are unimportant things […] and it also does not matter how one looks. That’s why I created this character.”
This year's Eurovision Grand Final is on Saturday evening at 8pm, BBC1.
Whose your favourite Eurovision act ever - perhaps one of these?
Year: 2007 Country: Ukraine Choice lyric: "Speak English? Nicht verstehen? Speak English? Don't understand?"
Year: 2008 Country: Ireland Choice lyric: "G-o-b gobble b-l-e yeah"
Year: 2006 Country: Finland Choice lyric: "It's the arockalypse!"
Year: 1998 Country: Germany Choice lyric: "Piep, piep, piep, ich hab' Dich lieb."
Year: 2005 Country: Moldova Choice lyric: "She's screaming like Hawkins, my old Big Mama..."
Year: 1983 Country: Turkey Choice lyric: "Opera, opera, opera, opera, opera"
Year: 1980 Country: Belgium Choice lyric: "Eurovision, Eurovision, Eurovision"
Year: 1976 Country: Switzerland Choice lyric: "When Djambo Djambo plays his barrel organ, children call it circus in the streets"
Year: 2009 Country: Serbia and Montenegro Choice lyric: "Moјa stara cipela, pola sveta videla (My old shoe, it saw half of the world)"
Year: 2008 Country: Latvia Choice lyric: "With a hii hii hoo and a hii hii hey!"