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

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.

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.

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