Simply magic: Azerbaijan's Farid Mammadoy (R) performs during a dress rehearsal for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, on May 17, 2013.

Simply magic: Azerbaijan rehearse for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. Photo: AFP

Eurovision is derided as a shallow spangle-fest but more than half a million Australians will tune in to watch on Sunday night even though they can't barrack for their country.

Last year an average of 531,000 Australians watched the coverage, the highlight of which was Sweden's winner, Loreen, singing her dance-pop hit Euphoria, or for many, the six Russian grannies of Buranovskiye Babushki, singing about baking bread and other forms of partying.

Several Sydney venues are hosting public Eurovision parties tonight, where the etiquette is dress up and if you know the winner, to keep it to yourself.

Visual feast:Moldova's Aliona Moon performs during a dress rehearsal for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.

On fire: Moldova's Aliona Moon prepares for this year's contest. Photo: AFP

Mark Jones, organiser of the ''Hello Malmo This is Sydney Calling'' party, expects about 200 people at the Oxford Art Factory, with half in a Eurovision costume (entry is free if you have dressed up).

Jones says the event has a strong following in the gay and lesbian community because the music is over the top and camp and the costumes are lots of fun.

''It's very tongue in cheek, [these are the] genres of music we listen to, even if some of the songs are terrible.''

The many faces of Eurovision: Portuguese entry to the 2011 Eurovision song contest.

The many faces of Eurovision: Portugal's entry to the 2011 Eurovision song contest. Photo: Facebook

Australia's love for Eurovision, he says, comes from the fact so many European expats are here, meaning the country still looks to Europe culturally and because there's usually some rich humour to be found. ''Australians can laugh at themselves.''

If you want the full experience, avoid spoiler alerts and instead ponder the favourites, according to the bookies: Denmark's 20-year-old barefoot competitor Emmelie de Forest, who topped Denmark's iTunes with her entry Only Teardrops, ahead of the Ukraine's Zlata Ognevich, who was carried on stage by a giant in the semi-final. Russia's Dina Garipova, Germany's Cascada, Italy's Marco Mengoni and Ireland's Ryan Dolan are also favoured.

One name probably more familiar is Bonnie Tyler, who at 61 is singing the United Kingdom's entry, Believe in Me. Britain's last win was by Katrina and the Waves in 1997.

Fancy that:

Fancy that: The contest is as much a visual feast as a musical one. Photo: Reuters

Check out our liveblog of the SBS Eurovision Grand Final broadcast from 7.30pm on Sunday


Five unforgettable Eurovision moments


1968  Cliff Richards with Congratulations — The crooner lost by a point.
1974  Abba win with Waterloo — The Swedish couples smashed the field.
1998  Dana International with Diva — The Israeli singer was the first openly transsexual performer to win.
2004  Ruslana with Wild Dance — The Ukrainian won  with  a Xena look.
2006  Lordi wins with Hard Rock Hallelujah — The Finnish rock band’s grotesque masks freaked viewers.