KIEV, May 7 (Xinhua) -- The 62nd Eurovision Song Contest kicked off in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on Sunday with the participation of singers from 42 countries.
The grand opening of the annual event started at Mariinsky Park located right next to the Ukrainian parliament building. All singers and their teams walked through the 265-meter-long red carpet, which was the longest carpet in the history of the contest.
Speaking on the occasion of the Eurovision opening, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine feels honored to host such big European music event.
"The Eurovision is the most famous song contest in the world. Each time millions of people from all over Europe, and recently from Australia as well, freeze in front of their TV screens rooting for their countries," Poroshenko said.
In May 2016, Ukraine was granted the right to host the Eurovision-2017 after its singer Susana Jamaladinova, who uses the stage name Jamala, won the 2016 Eurovision in Stockholm, Sweden.
The semi-finals of the 2017 contest will take place on May 9 and May 11, while the Grand Final will be held on May 13.
About 70,000 music fans from Ukraine and more than 50 foreign countries are expected to attend the event.
This is the second time for Ukraine to host the Eurovision song contest. The first such contest in Kiev was held in 2005, after Ukrainian singer Ruslana won the previous year's competition.