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Ukraine wins the Eurovision Song Contest

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra poses after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy, May 15. (Yara Nardi/Reuters)

In a symbolic victory more than three months after the Russian invasion, Ukraine has won honors in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The annual songwriting and performing competition is often seen as an opportunity to celebrate a wide range of musical styles, appreciate its sometimes kitsch presentations, and feel national pride. The winner is chosen by panels of professional musicians and viewers from across Europe, although the public cannot vote for the entrant from their own country.

Entrants are urged to refrain from political themes, however popular sentiment of the day can sway votes and Ukraine has been recognized as one of the favorites in this year’s contest.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the group on Instagram seconds after Ukraine’s victory was announced.

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he says in the message. Alluding to the rule that a winner of the previous year’s contest must host the contest, he said: “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in its history. And I believe – not the last. We will do our best to one day welcome Eurovision participants and guests to Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt!”

The Ukrainian entrant was a band called Kalush Orchestra, performing a folk/hip-hop style song titled “Stefania”, about the lead singer’s mother.

Kalush is the name of the town where singer Oleh Psiuk grew up, in the foothills of the Carpathians about 375 miles west of kyiv.

Eurovision is one of the most-watched events in the world, outside of sport, with hundreds of millions of viewers, and it often launches or revives the careers of star songwriters, artists and songs with a such exposure.

Traditionally, the winning nation hosts the following year’s event, attracting thousands of spectators and entertainment journalists, and drawing attention to the country’s tourism industry.

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