Eurovision's glitzy pageant jars with pain of Ukraine conflict

A giant 'Eurovision' sign in Maidan square, Kiev.

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN)Ukrainians rolled out the red carpet near the country's parliament on Sunday for performers from 42 countries in an opening ceremony complete with all the theatrics one would except from the Eurovision Song Contest.

Loudspeakers blared bubblegum pop as latex-clad contestants rubbed glittered cheeks with fawning television hosts. Balloons bearing the participating countries' flags soared into the sky over this capital city's golden onion domes.
Around the same time, roughly 450 miles east, a more somber procession was taking place, as the bodies of three Ukrainian servicemen killed fighting Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine on May 1 were brought back to government-controlled territory.
    The Eurovision Village on Kreschatyk Street in Kiev, Ukraine.
    Some 10,000 people, including 2,673 Ukrainian servicemen -- at least five since Eurovision preparations began last week -- have been killed in the conflict, now in its fourth year, according to the military.
    Nothing suggests that an end is in sight for the fighting, which has affected pretty much everyone in the country in some way. And some Ukrainians are upset that attention is being diverted from the battlefields to observe a week-long festival of camp.
    "It's absolute madness," said Alina Anatolyevna, a uniformed member of the Donbas battalion. "People desecrating sacred ground and behaving like a war isn't happening and people aren't dying -- this is not normal."
    The Ukrainian capital is the host of this year's two semifinals as well as the final.