LIVERPOOL, UK (AP) — The Swedish singer Loreen won that Euro Vision Song Contest on Saturday evening with their power ballad “Tattoo” at a colourful, multifaceted music competition that was overshadowed by the war in Ukraine for the second time in a row.
The Stockholm diva beat acts from 25 other countries in the final of the competition in Liverpool to take the continent’s pop crown. Finnish singer Käärijä finished second in a tough battle between the Nordic neighbors.
Loreen, 39, won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2012 and is only the second artist to win the award twice, after Irishman Johnny Logan in the 1980s. It is Sweden’s seventh win at the Eurovision Song Contest, equaling Ireland’s record.
“I’m really overwhelmed,” Loreen said. “This is so beautiful.”
She said returning to the competition that helped her become a star was “like returning to a family.” We have an 11 year relationship. We know each other now.”
Britain hosted the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, who won last year but were unable to exercise their right to host the competition due to the war. Air raid sirens rang out across Ukraine during the competition and Ukrainian media reported a strike in Ternopil, the hometown of Ukrainian Eurovision entrant Tvorchi.
Under the motto “United by Music”, the Eurovision finale united the soul of the English port city where the Beatles were born the spirit of war-torn Ukraine.
The sights and sounds of Ukraine shaped the entire show, beginning with an opening film showing the show The winners of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022: Kalush Orchestra Singing and dancing on the Kiev underground, the tune was picked up by musicians in the UK – including Kate, Princess of Wales, playing the piano.
The folk-rap band themselves then appeared on stage at the Liverpool Arena with huge hands outstretched, accompanied by numerous drummers.
Competitors from the 26 finalist nations entered the arena in an Olympic Games-style parade of flags, accompanied by live performances by Ukrainian artists such as Go A, JamalaTina Karol and Verka Serduchka – all former Eurovision contestants.
In its 67th year, the Eurovision Song Contest bills itself as the world’s biggest music competition – an Olympiad for party pop. The participants each have three minutes to sing catchy melodies breathtaking spectacle to performances capable of winning the hearts of millions of viewers.
Loreen’s anthem of intense love was the bookmakers’ favorite and won by far the most votes from specialist juries in the complex Eurovision voting system. She faced a strong challenge from Käärijä, a highly energetic artist whose rap-pop party anthem “Cha Cha Cha” won the public vote.
Israeli Noa Kirel was third with the power pop anthem “Unicorn,” while Italian Marco Mengoni was fourth with his ballad “Due Vite” (Two Lives).
The continent’s diverse tastes were showcased in a competition that included the cabaret-esque vocals of Portugal’s Mimicat, the Britney-esque power-pop of Poland’s Blanka, echoes of Edith Piaf from La Zarra for France and simmering ballads from Cyprus’s accession, Andrew Lambrou.
From Australia – a Eurovision Song Contest contender despite its distant location – guitar band Voyager conjured up rousing ’80s stadium rock. Croatia’s Let 3 delivered a surreal anti-war rock opera, and Austrian duo Teya & Salena rocked the music industry with the Poe-referencing song Who the Hell is Edgar?
Electronica duo Tvorchi paid tribute to Ukraine’s resilience with “Heart of Steel” and took sixth place.
Briton Mae Muller secured the unenviable last spot of the evening with her snappy breakup anthem “I Wrote a Song”. She finished second to last – but at least avoided the humiliation of getting “zero points” or zero points.
While the votes were cast and tallied, Sam Ryder, last year’s UK runner-up, performed his new single ‘Mountain’, accompanied by Queen drummer Roger Taylor. A ‘Liverpool Songbook’ segment saw former Eurovision stars perform songs from the city including John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’ and the unofficial citizens’ anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk alone”. ” – involving the audience as a tribute to Liverpool and Ukraine.
Around 6,000 fans watched the show in the arena and tens of thousands more in a Liverpool fan zone and at big screen events across the UK. The global television audience is estimated at 160 million.
Under the spring sunshine, thousands of fans flocked to a Eurovision party zone in the city’s port area ahead of the competition. Many were draped in the flags of their favorite nations or dressed up as their favorite performers.
“Just coming down and seeing people of all nationalities and cultures – it’s great fun,” said Australian Martin Troedel, with a kangaroo on his guard. “Honestly, there are some pretty weird performances, which is what I love about them. You never know what to expect.”
Liverpool welcomed the Eurovision Song Contest and Ukraine, with businesses across the city raising Ukrainian flags and a program of cultural events bringing locals closer to the Eastern European country’s art, music and food.
But organizers said they turned down an application President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to create a video address. The European Broadcasting Union said this would violate “the non-political nature of the event”.
Founded in 1956, Eurovision is a European cultural institution that has produced outstanding stars – ABBA and Celine Dion are both past winners – and artists whose careers have disappeared without a trace.
In recent years it has once again developed into a platform on which stars can start. Italian rock band Måneskin, who won in 2021, have played major US festivals and toured as the support act for The Rolling Stones. Ryder had a #1 album and performed at the Glastonbury Festival.
“Now the music industry, the world, knows that performing in the Eurovision Song Contest could do you a great thing,” said Steve Holden, host of the official Eurovision Song Contest podcast.