The musicians needed special permission to bypass martial law and the commentator was performing from a bunker. But as Europe prepares for its most popular song competition, the Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra made it to Saturday’s grand finale.
Ukrainian folk-rap mash-up, “Stefania”, bookmakers have chosen to win Eurovision 2022, the world’s longest-running television music competition, based on viewers’ votes and once Dad helped launch. The Ukrainian competitor will have a 25 job that Compete in the final round In Turin, Italy, the most viewed YouTube of the 40 national entries this year.
For frontman Oleh Seuk, the song has become a tribute to Ukraine, and the stage is a reminder of Russia’s war against his country. She first sang it to her mother, but on stage at the Eurovision semifinals this week, the lyrics resonated differently. “I’ll always come to you, through the broken road,” she whispered in her pink bucket hat.
The 26-year-old said this week, “If we win, it will be another opportunity to show Ukraine to the world, to remind people about Ukraine and to boost morale throughout the country.”
Despite being banned from leaving the country in the hope that most men between the ages of 18 and 60 could be called up for war, Ukrainian authorities allowed the singer and his troupe to travel to Italy to compete.
To avoid the sound of air raid sirens, Ukrainian supporters will be able to hear a broadcast from an underground bunker of presenter Timur Miroshenichenko tuned into Saturday’s final. Public broadcaster Saspilon posted pictures of her sitting at a desk with a computer and a camera in a makeshift studio.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “There are not many happy moments in our country right now. “Nothing will stop Eurovision broadcasting.”
If the Kalush Orchestra – which mixes hip-hop with Ukrainian folk dance – wins the Eurovision final, Ukraine will have the right to host the 2023 competition. The annual competition was first held in 1956, and its organizers in the European Broadcasting Union billed it as an “apolitical” event, often reflecting the political dynamics of its time.
In fact, the band has replaced the original work in Ukraine this year, Alina Pash, as she investigated a 2015 tour of Crimea, the peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. And in February, after the Kremlin began its war against Ukraine, Russia was banned from competing this year.
In 2016, the Ukrainian entry of Crimean Tatar singer Jamala brought Ukraine its second Eurovision victory. When the competition was held in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, the following year, Russia was barred from participating.
Armenia and Georgia have been among the contenders to withdraw in recent years over tensions with other countries, and the 2014 victory of bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Worst has sparked controversy over LGBTQ rights.
Annabel Chapman contributed to this report.