For lovers of kitsch - The Eurovision Song Contest
It's that time of year again, the time for Europe's annual festival of tuneful melodies and some awful cacophanies that is The Eurovision Song Contest.
This year, for the first time, the contest takes place in two parts. A semi-final was held earlier this evening (I watched part of it on digital tv channel BBC3), to select from a pool of 22 countries the 10 that will go forward to the final this coming Saturday. These will be added to the 14 pre-selected countries to make up the roll-call for the final of 24 countries.
The pre-selected 14 are themselves in two groups - last year's winner and this year's host Turkey plus the next 9 top scorers from last year's contest, plus the 'Big 4' of France, Germany, Spain and the UK (largely because of their significant financial support based on a sliding population scale). The UK of course did notoriously badly last year having joined a select group of countries who have been awarded 'nul points' in the competition.
You can see videos of all the songs here and there will be live streaming of the final on Saturday here.
UPDATE: (Thursday 13MAY04 00.12 BST) The winners in the semi-final, and who will now go forward to Saturday's final, are here.