The choice of a drag act to represent the Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest has sparked protests.

Nationalists took to the streets yesterday to demand that the country withdraw from the competition.

They claim that the female impersonator will damage the Ukraine’s reputation.

Verka Serdyuchka is a hugely popular entertainer in the country and in Russia, and was chosen by the public to compete in the Eurovision.

She will perform Dancing Lasha Tumbai.

Protesters allege that Verka mocks Ukrainian country folk.

In February the Danes chose drag act DQ to represent them at the competition. The 2007 British entry was chosen last month.

Scooch are a four-piece group, whose infectiously cheeky Euro-pop tune Flying the Flag (for You) could be Britain’s first win since 1997.

Due to the large number of European nations now wanting to take part, some countries have to go through a semi-final knock-out the previous Thursday.

However, as last year’s Ukrainian entry did well enough, the country goes straight into the final.

The UK do not have to qualify through the semi-final as they are a major contributor to the European Broadcasting Union, which runs the contest, now in its 51st year.

Last year Eurovision was rocked by political voting and a shock win by Finnish heavy metal band Lordi.

The group, in monster masks and chains, won the contest in Athens with 292 points for their controversial entry, Hard Rock Hallelujah.

None of the “big four” countries made the top ten and Eastern European, Balkan, Baltic and Scandinavian countries all voted for their neighbours.

Ireland has won Eurovision seven times, which is the current record, though they have not done so since 1996.

The UK has won five times and have achieved the best cumulative points record of any country by coming second a total of fifteen times.

The competition will be held in Finland on 12th May.