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  The stage is set for the world’s unlikeliest pop battle, pitting the septuagenarian crooner Engelbert Humperdinck against a troupe of Russian grandmothers and a rapper on a very small donkey.
  Engelbert has been picked to sing the UK’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, Love Will Set Your Free, a traditional ballad that showcases the artist on a simple stage, accompanied by a Spanish guitar player.
Russian grannies

  But insiders are tipping Russia’s entry, Buranovskiye Babushki, to win the contest. The band, with a combined age of 403 years, is made up of six grandmothers. They will perform Party for Everybody in traditional dress, and one member, 76 year-old Natalya Pugacheva, will become the oldest Eurovision contestant, beating Humperdinck by one year.

  The British singer, best known for his 1967 hit Release Me, will face competition from another 42 acts, including Montenegro’s Rambo Amadeus, who will perform a part-song, part-rap on a ludicrously small donkey.
 The contestants will perform in a semi-final before the final in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 26. 
 Oddsmakers have Engelbert, whose last hit record was almost 40 years ago, an outsider at 14-1 while the grannies are second favourite at 13-2. 
  But Enge is confident because, he says, women still throw their knickers at him when he is performing.  “I have my eyes on the prize and with the nation behind me, I feel ready and look forward to the roller-coaster ride that is Eurovision,” he says.



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