TRANSFORMATION: The Eurovision Song contest is in Baku, Azerbaijan, this year. That gives the capital of a former Soviet republic the chance to show off its decade-long transformation from a dour, industrial city to a vibrant metropolis.
RISKS: To authorities, the contest also risks exposing what critics say is rampant repression and cronyism.
CONCERT: About 125 million people worldwide watch the contest. Now in its 57th year, the pop battle pits performers from 42 nations against one another. Musically, it's a laughingstock. But for host countries, the event can serve as a valuable PR platform.