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Ukraine wins Eurovision 2022, France penultimate with Bretons Alvan & Ahez




Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time in its history, at the Pala Olimpico in Turin (Italy), in a packed house of 15,000 enthusiasts. The country was the big favorite of bettors.

(AFP photo)

Performed by Kalush Orchestra, the song “Stefania”, mixing hip-hop and traditional song, was acclaimed by the jury but especially the televote of the public. “I will always find my way back home, even if all the roads are destroyed,” say the lyrics, which were written before the Russian invasion.

The United Kingdom rose to second place, with “Space Man” by Sam Ryder. The artist is known for his covers, broadcast on video during confinement. He has since released an EP. Stratospheric popularity for those who sing “I’m up in space, man!” »

Ukraine wins Eurovision 2022, France penultimate with Bretons Alvan & Ahez
Sam Ryder representing the UK. (AFP photo)

The “Fulenn” spark did not take

France finished 24th with “Fulenn”, an electro song entirely sung in Breton by the group Alvan & Ahez. A real UFO whose performance in Breton, however hailed internationally, was not enough to offer the podium to the tricolors.

Ukraine wins Eurovision 2022, France penultimate with Bretons Alvan & Ahez
(AFP photo)

The French quartet had bet on a feminist song, based on the legend of a woman who goes dancing with the devil. The “Fulenn” spark did not take. Is it the fault of the storm that showered the streets of Turin the day before the final? In the original legend, the heroine dies of exhaustion… A bad omen. But, despite the disappointing result, we cannot take away from Alvan & Ahez the feat of having brought Breton culture to life in front of hundreds of millions of viewers.

“A pride”, testified the day before the stylist Pascal Jaouen, whose daughters were at the Diwan school just like the singers of Alvan & Ahez. The Quimper embroiderer had come with his family to applaud those whose stage outfits he had created.

The last French victory dates back to 1977, with “The Bird and the Child” performed by Marie Myriam. In 2021, singer Barbara Pravi almost won, finishing in second place.

Saturday night’s grand finale brought together 25 countries on stage at the Pala Olimpico in Turin, with more than 200 million viewers.

Gone too soon?

Alvan & Ahez came in 6th, just after the Swiss Marius Bear (“Boys do cry”), but before the Norwegian duo Subwoofer and their crazy “Give that wolf a banana”. This situation, partly due to the draw and partly to the decisions of Rai, was criticized by French fans who learned the news on Friday morning. Better indeed to be among the last five in order to mark the spirits… And the public vote. Ukraine, she passed in 12th.

The performance of the Bretons, however, demonstrated a good mastery of the stage, as the rehearsals of recent days had been able to confirm.

Fans who hadn’t been able to get a ticket to the theater found themselves in front of the screen of pubs around the central station, or in the jam-packed Eurovillage near the banks of the Po. Besides the tricolor flags, gwenn-ha-du floated in the crowd. The Bretons having made the trip to support the children of the country…

Thought for Ukraine

Throughout the show, Ukraine benefited from a strong sympathy capital in addition to its song of undeniable quality. In the discussions between fans in the squares of Turin, the war has held a good place for several days. While the siege of the Azovstal factory in Mariupol continued, no one could forget that the artists of Kalush Orchestra had been specially exempted from military mobilization to wear their colors in Italy. Nor that Russia, as well as Belarus, stakeholders in the aggression against Ukraine, were excluded from the competitions this year.

In the crowd that thronged the forecourt of the Olympic Stadium, many asked to take a selfie with anyone carrying a Ukrainian flag. Like these two blonde women a little removed from the hustle and bustle: “I came to join my daughter who was living in Italy when the war broke out in my region of Donbass, in 2014”, testifies Larisa Ushkarska, with a dark look, in hesitant English. “Yes, this Eurovision is very special for us,” she adds, firming her grip on the banner that covers her shoulders.



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