Ukraine has been crowned the winner of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest after a massive public vote.
In one of the most exciting finals in a long time, the public vote decided and the Kalush Orchestra from the Ukraine triumphed with their song “Stefania”.
The act has been at the forefront since the Russian invasion – which prompted organizers to ban the country from attending.
The country joined the competition in 2003 and its three wins make it one of the most successful of the newer competitive countries – having triumphed in 2004 and 2016.
Upon accepting the coveted trophy, the Kalush Orchestra said, “Thank you for supporting Ukraine. This victory is for every Ukrainian. Slava Ukraini.”
During their performance, which combined rap and Ukrainian folklore, the group wore elaborate outfits including long, multicolored fringe ensembles.
The band appealed to “Help Mariupol” right from the stage.
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And in their victory speech, they said they would be back on the front line Monday in the war since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
President Zelensky congratulated the Kalush Orchestra on their victory for Ukraine.
“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe,” he wrote on Telegram.
“We will do our best to one day host the Eurovision Song Contest participants and guests in Mariupol, Ukraine. Free, Peaceful, Rebuilt,” he added.
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Briton Sam Ryder took second place with his uplifting pop song Space Man, marking the first time the UK has finished in the top three in 20 years.
Commenting on the competition on BBC One, Graham Norton said: “This is a red letter moment. I’m so happy for him, for the UK and for the BBC who have worked so hard to turn our fortunes around.”
The 32-year-old Tik-Tok star wowed the crowd and stunned in a pearl and beaded one-piece suit.
After topping the national jury’s vote with 283 points, beating favorites Spain and Sweden, Ryder said: “There’s so much gratitude, what an experience.”
The singer-songwriter beat fellow favorites Spain, whose contestant Chanel SloMo gave a jazzy performance while the entire crowd sang along with Mahmood from Italy and Blanco singing Brividi, which included a powerful rap, behind a backdrop of twinkling lights.
The grand finale opened with an energetic performance of strobe lights and projections of the David sculpture by Michelangelo from We Are Domi from the Czech Republic singing Lights Off.
During the show, Icelandic folk band Systur, performing the ballad Meo Haekkandi Sol, ended their performance by saying, “This is for Ukraine, we love you.”
Finnish rock group The Rasmus opened the first performances with a powerful version of Jezebel and ripped their shirts off mid-show.
Switzerland’s Marius Bear provided a raw rendition of his track Boys Do Cry with simple background lighting, while French Alvan and Ahez had fire on stage to perform their track Fulenn.
Norway’s subwoolfer in yellow wolf costumes while performing a synchronized dance number and singing Give That Wolf A Banana.
Armenia’s representative, Rosa Linn, gave an emotional performance of her song Snap on a stage with a bed, lamp and chair all seemingly wrapped in white toilet paper rolls.
Estonia closed the show with Stefan performing a catchy rendition of Hope, adding at the end of his performance, “Don’t lose hope for a better tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, the lead singer of last year’s winning group Maneskin advised Eurovision attendees “not to get too close to the table”, citing allegations he was caught by camera using drugs at last year’s competition.
The Italian rock band had “strongly denied allegations of drug use” that surfaced on social media after Damiano David appeared to have bent over a table in the competition’s green room in front of the camera.
After Maneskin’s win last year, David denied using drugs and said he bent over because another band member broke a glass at their feet.
The European Broadcasting Union later confirmed that the frontman had received a negative result on a drug test since the event.
During the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 final, the reigning champions took the stage to perform their new single Supermodel.
After their powerful performance, a limping David was asked to offer advice to this year’s contestants, after which he quipped: “Two things. Have fun and don’t get too close to the table boys.”
Singer-songwriter Mika also took the stage and performed an incredible medley of songs including Love Today, Grace Kelly and Happy Ending surrounded by heart flags, a floating heart balloon while dancing on the piano.
Eurovision Executive Supervisor Martin Osterdahl said in a statement that the organization’s attention was focused on next year’s competition and its “unique challenges”.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is the only cultural event that truly unites Europe. This year, it was more important than ever to bring millions of people together through our shared values and love of music.
“Now we begin planning for 2023 with winning channel UA:PBC.
“Clearly, there are unique challenges associated with hosting the competition next year.”
Ireland did not take part in yesterday’s grand final after disappointment when Brooke Scullion’s entry ‘That’s Rich’ failed in Thursday night’s semi-finals.
Brooke later tweeted that she was “extremely proud of this experience,” adding, “Thank you to my wonderful team. I will never forget @eurovision.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/ukraine-eurovision-winners-kalush-orchestra-to-return-to-frontline-after-gaining-record-public-vote-in-competition-41650925.html Eurovision 2022: Ukraine wins after massive public vote and Kalush Orchestra will ‘return to the front’