Ukraine wins 2022 Eurovision Song Contest

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Ukrainian folk rap group Kalush Orchestra has won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, surfing on a wave of goodwill from European countries to take the country’s third win at the glitzy event.

The band’s song “Stefania”, written about the frontman’s mother, beat the competition from main rivals the United Kingdom and Spain during the competition in the Italian city of Turin.

The event was the first major cultural event Ukrainians have participated in since Russia invaded in February, with many in the audience waving Ukraine’s blue and yellow national flag in the evening.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised Kalush Orchestra in an Instagram post just seconds after the victory was announced.

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he said in the post.

The country’s entry ‘Stefania’, sung in Ukrainian, pays tribute to frontman Oleg Psyuk’s mother, who still lives in the western city of Kalush, from which the band takes its name. “Some days, rockets fly over people’s homes and it’s like a lottery — nobody knows where it will hit,” Psyuk said before his appearance this week.

“Right now, our country and culture are under threat. But we want to show that we are alive, the Ukrainian culture is alive; it is unique, diverse and beautiful.”

Fans rallied behind Ukraine’s entry, and the band received one of the loudest acclaim of the night as they took the stage.

A small Eurovision viewing party took place on Saturday night in a bar in the center of Kiev, not far from the famous golden-roofed Saint Sophia Cathedral. Max Tolmachov, the owner of the Buena Vista bar, said that people who came to the bar were eager to show their support for Ukraine, even if Eurovision wasn’t really their thing.

“They want to show their patriotic spirit. This war has been very hard on people and this is an opportunity to put the dark thoughts aside for a while,” he said.

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest took place in Italy after a victory for punk rock band Maneskin last year. It was the first Eurovision final that took place without major COVID-19 restrictions since the start of the pandemic.

Kalush Orchestra initially finished second in Ukraine’s national selection competition, but was raised after it was revealed that the winner had previously traveled to Russia-annexed Crimea. The group was unveiled as the country’s entry on February 22, two days before Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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