Eurovision Audience Jeers Russia's Entrant (Watch)

Europe's most popular annual televised talent competition, the Eurovision Song Contest, became a proxy battleground for the clash between Russia and the West over Ukraine at the semifinals Tuesday night.

With acts from both Russia and Ukraine giving all they had to their live performances, emotions were running high in Copenhagen, Denmark, hosting the contest this year after Emmelie de Forest won last year with "Only Teardrops."

When Russia's singing twins, the 17-year-old Tolmachevy sisters, made it through to Saturday's finals with their song "Shine," their success was met with loud booing from the audience of 10,000 at Copenhagen's B&W Halls -- a former shipbuilding complex specially converted for the event by Danish public broadcaster DR.

Ukraine's entry, "Tick Tock" -- belted out by Mariya Yaremchuk accompanied by a young man running inside a giant hamster wheel -- also qualified but evoked no negative response.

The reaction to the Russian act reflects the loss of respect suffered by Russia in the last year after the introduction of anti-gay laws, scandals alleging corruption at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea and its backing of separatist forces now engaged in a conflict with the Ukrainian army.

  • This article originally appeared in THR.com.