Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra selected to win Eurovision Song Contest

A Ukrainian band is seen as one of the favorites to win a popular televised European song contest, as the country continues to resist Russia’s unprovoked invasion.

Bookmakers have given the song “Stefania” by Kalush Orchestra a 46% chance of winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, which has been televised across the continent every year since 1956.

Oleh Psiuk, 27, the group’s rap frontman, insists his song will win the contest on merit, not because of an outpouring of support for his war-torn homeland, according to the Times of London .

The contest is decided by both a panel of music industry experts and home viewers.

“Now we have the number one spot with the bookmakers, but before the war started we were number five. Turns out people really like our song, so huge gratitude to everyone who paid attention to the music Ukrainian,” Psiuk said.

“Stefania,” a love song to Psiuk’s mother that features elements of traditional music and rap, was written before the war started but has taken on new meaning as fans equate the lyrics with the homeland. Ukrainian, the artist told the newspaper.

It features stanzas like “I will always find my way back even if all the roads are destroyed” and “Mother sing me the lullaby, I want to hear your dear word”.

The Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine on the red carpet of the pre-Eurovision party in Madrid on April 16.
Aldara Zarraoa/WireImage
Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra have become one of the top contenders to win this year's Eurovision Song Contest with their viral hit,
Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra have become one of the top contenders to win the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 with their viral hit ‘Stefania’.

“Our song is loved by Europeans not only because of the war. The more people pay attention to Ukraine, the more they hear about the song, so this song is appreciated by an ever wider audience,” he said.

According to The Times of London, members of the Kalush Orchestra needed a special government waiver to leave Ukraine to compete in the final round of the competition next week in Turin, Italy. All able-bodied men under 60 are required to stay in Ukraine and take up arms against the Russians.

Winning the competition would “really lift the spirits of the country,” Psiuk told the newspaper.

People walk past a residential building destroyed during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, May 3, 2022.
Oleh Psiuk, a member of the Kalush Orchestra, hopes an eventual victory could boost the “country’s morale” amid its defense against the Russian invasion.
REUTERS/Alexander Ermoshenko

Expert observers of the competition told the newspaper that such an improvement in “morale” seemed likely.

“They will win the public vote by a landslide,” said Paul Jordan, who wrote a Ph.D. thesis on the Eurovision Song Contest and then worked for the organization. “The [expert] the jury’s vote will be different and difficult to predict.

Ukraine has won Eurovision twice since first entering the contest 19 years ago.

Russia has been banned from participating in this year’s event.

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