Excitable crowds of international tourists and concert-goers packed the seafronts in Tel Aviv on Saturday (May 18), gearing up for the grand final of the Eurovision song contest.
But despite the many happy faces and jubilant mood, this year's contest in Israel has not been without its controversy, as Reuters Rami Ayyub explains in Tel Aviv.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, RAMI AYYUB, SAYING: "The build up to tonight's final has been more political than usual.
Some have called for a boycott in protest against Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.
Pro-Palestinian activists say they have planned protests during tonight's show.
But Israelis have welcomed the songfest and are looking forward to crowning Eurovision 2019's champion." Further down the same beach, Palestinians are voicing their frustrations over the host country, but Israel says boycott calls are discriminatory and anti-Semitic.
Israel was chosen after local singer Netta Barzilai won last year in Portugal with "Toy", propelling her to international stardom.
Pop superstar Madonna will perform two songs at the final.
In a statement earlier this week, she said she would "never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda", or "stop speaking out against violations of human rights".
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel responded saying: "Artwashing Israel's brutal oppression of Palestinians for a million dollars must be among the most immoral political agendas." 26 countries will compete on Saturday to be crowned winner.