Eurovision's Coming! What's the Right Song for Europe?
It's that time of year again… when Europe gets together for its regional singing contest.
Loved and loathed in equal measure for its mix of kitsch costumes, often cringe-inducing lyrics and flamboyant performances, the annual Eurovision contest this Saturday will see 26 countries competing for the glory of hosting next year's competition – something of a mixed blessing if a European country suffering from economic decline wins the title.
This year, Sweden is hosting the event after its entrant, singer Loreen, won the competition hosted by Azerbaijan last year with her song "Euphoria."
The finalists were confirmed after the semi-final on Tuesday saw Latvia, San Marino, F.Y.R. Macedonia, Bulgaria, Israel, Albania and Switzerland kicked out by the European public's phone votes.
Launched in the 1950s with the aim of bringing together a fragmented, post-war Europe, the competition comes under fire each year as votes cast by the public in each country are often seen as politically or geographically biased, with Scandinavian or Southern European countries tending to back each other.
The U.K. has resurrected veteran pop singer Bonnie Tyler as its entrant. Along with hosts Sweden and fellow major contributors France, Germany, Spain and Italy, the U.K. is guaranteed a place in the final because it is a major financial contributors to the event overseen by the European Broadcasting Union.
CNBC asked viewers and readers to tweet their suggestions for a song that best summarizes Europe in 2013.
Suggestions so far have included Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me" from trader Manoj Ladwa. Kit Juckes, global strategist at Societe Generale suggested "The Final Countdown", originally by the appropriately named Europe, and Accendo Markets' Mike van Dulken proposed Guns N' Roses' "Too Much Too Soon".
The top five countries tipped to win the competition on Saturday night are Denmark, Norway, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Sweden, according to online bookmakers oddschecker.com.
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It is just as well, perhaps, that most of the favorites - bar Ukraine - are weathering the European economic downturn better than many of their neighbors, and could afford to stage the multi-million dollar competition if they win.
Last year's hosts Azerbaijan spent an estimated 34 million euros on the show itself and 75 million euros on a venue which is now used to host concert. But there has been criticism that hosting costs have spiraled out of control, as countries attempt to outdo each other with increasing special effects and technical production during the show.
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Indeed, Sweden announced that it would bring visual production spending down to below 15 million euros this year, saying that they hoped that austerity-hit nations would still enter and aspire to win the event.
Last year, Spain caused a stir when its entrant joked that she had been told NOT to win as the country did not have the money to host it. Singer Pastora Soler said directors of state-run broadcaster TVE called her in to say: "Please don't win. We don't want to pay for it in 2013," only to retract the claim later.
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Watched by up to 125 million viewers last year and broadcast within and beyond Europe, the competition is one of the longest-running programs in the world. The rules have changed in recent years to stop the apparent bias in voting, with expert judges now accounting for 50 percent of the votes given to the competitors.
A tally is kept of the winning country and occasionally a country's song can be so unpopular that it receives no points, scoring the infamous "nul points" ("no points") in the competition, which is broadcast in English and French.
Tweet us your suggestions for a song for Europe @CNBCWorld
-By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt