In a symbolic victory more than three months after the Russian invasion, Ukraine took the top honors in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
The annual songwriting and performance competition is often seen as an opportunity to celebrate a wide range of musical styles, appreciate its sometimes implausible presentations, and to feel national pride. Winners are voted on by a panel of professional musicians and television audiences across Europe, although spectators cannot vote for their home country’s entrants.
Participants are advised to refrain from political topics, however, the popular sentiment of the day can turn the number of votes around and Ukraine has been recognized as a country favorite in this year’s contest.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the band on Instagram seconds after Ukraine’s victory was announced.
“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he said in the post. He said: “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in history, the winner of the previous year’s contest is allowed to host the competition! Next year, Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in And I believe – not for the last time. We will try our best to one day organize an event for participants and guests of Eurovision in Mariupol Ukraine. Freedom, peace, freedom. rebuild!”
The Ukrainian contestants were a musical group called Kalush Orchestra, performing a folk/hip-hop style song called “Stefania”, about the lead singer’s mother.
Kalush is the name of the city where singer Oleh Psyuk grew up, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains about 375 miles west of Kyiv.
Originally, the folk rap group finished second in Ukraine’s national selection competition, but they rose to prominence, the original winner having previously gone to Russian-annexed Crimea. They were announced as country targets on February 22, two days before Russian troops invaded Ukraine.
“As we say, our country and our culture are under threat. But we want to show that we are alive, Ukrainian culture is alive, it’s unique, diverse and beautiful,” said Oleg. Psyuk, the band’s leader, told CNN earlier.
Eurovision is one of the most watched events in the world, excluding sports, with hundreds of millions of viewers, and it often kicks off or showcases the careers of famous musicians, artists and songs. enabled by such extensive exposure.
Traditionally, the winning country will host the event next year, attracting thousands of spectators and entertaining journalists, and drawing attention to the country’s tourism industry.
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