Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy on Saturday evening, ahead of the United Kingdom and Spain, thanks to the vote of viewers who voted for the group representing the country invaded at the end of February by Russian troops.
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The Kalush Orchestra, whose song “Stefania” mixes hip-hop and traditional music, garnered 631 points. Favorites of the competition, the Ukrainians are ahead of the Briton Sam Ryder and his title “Spaceman” (466 points) and the Spanish Chanel with “Slo-Mo” (459 points).
“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe”reacted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Facebook.
“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! »
It is Ukraine’s third victory in this competition after that of 2004 and especially the 2016 edition – two years after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea by Russia – with Jamala and the title “1944”a song about the deportation of the Tatars by Stalin.
As in the two semi-finals organized this week in Turin, a tide of blue and yellow flags of the country under the grapeshot of the Russian army swept into the arena of the Pala Olimpico in the Piedmontese capital (north-west of the Italy) where the 25 finalists performed.
“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal »called on stage the singer of the Kalush Orchestra, Oleh Psiuk, whose performance received a standing ovation. “This victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine! »said the singer in the pink cap after the victory.
Eurovision: “Stefania” by Kalush Orchestra sounds like an anthem of Ukraine
Political messages are generally banned at Eurovision, but the organizers have made it known that Ukraine will not be disqualified for these remarks.
“We understand the deep feelings around Ukraine in this context and consider the comments of the Kalush Orchestra and other artists expressing their support for the Ukrainian people to be more humanitarian than political in nature”said the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), organizer of the event.
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The EBU had excluded Russia from the competition the day after Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24. Ukraine received the maximum score – 12 points – from several former republics or satellite countries of the Soviet Union: Poland, the country in Europe that has hosted the largest number of Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war, Moldova , Latvia, Romania and Lithuania.
“Nothing is decided and we must support Ukraine with the possibility of a long war in mind”
According to Eurovision rules, the next edition of the contest should be held in Ukraine, which would be in the words of Oleh Psiuk “a new, integrated, developed and flourishing Ukraine”. For Volodymyr Zelensky, Eurovision 2023 will have to be held in the city of Mariupol “free, peaceful and rebuilt”. A strategic port city in Ukraine, Mariupol is still intensely bombarded by the Russians according to kyiv.
Finland, which shares more than 1,300 km of border with Russia and is preparing to join NATO, gave 12 points to Sweden, which also must officially announce its intention to join the Atlantic Alliance, perhaps be from this Sunday. As for Ukrainian viewers, they gave their 12 points to the British candidate.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said he wanted the 2023 edition of Eurovision to be held “in kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recalled: “The EU is with you”. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed a victory that reflected the “unwavering support” of Europe alongside Ukraine.
France, which coveted after its first victory since that of Marie Myriam (“The Child and the Bird”) in… 1977, arrived penultimate with the group Alvan & Ahez. The French Barbara Pravi, with her song ” There “, had just missed the feat last year by finishing 2nd. The French public gave 12 points to the United Kingdom and 10 points to Ukraine.
Benoît Blaszczyk, secretary of France-Eurofans, the French branch of the General Organization of Eurovision Fans (OGAE), greeted AFP “The victory of the Europe of the peoples who share a universal language: music! »
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Favorite bookmakers, Ukraine competed with the song “Stefania” mixing hip-hop and traditional music on intimate lyrics – written before the war – which resonate strongly with current events (“I will always find the way home even if all the roads are destroyed”). At six on stage, the members of the group, all of fighting age, benefited from a temporary dispensation issued by the government of kyiv, but they will have to return home to take up arms as soon as the competition is over. One of them stayed in the country.
To complete the podium, the Briton with the stratospheric voice Sam Ryder, who sings “Spaceman” in solo and in combination, and the hot Spanish singer of Cuban origin Chanel, in outfit – very light – of a torera with the rhythmic Latin title “Slo Mo”. The Swedish Cornelia Jakobs arrives 4th with a fairly classic glamor (“Hold me closer”).