Ukraine wins Eurovision 2022 with overwhelming help from the viewers

Updated May 14, 2022 at 8:16 PM ET

Ukraine is the winner of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, one of the crucial visually stimulating spectacles on European tv.

Much of the world’s consideration had already been centered on Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in late February.

But the nation took the highlight on a distinct type of world stage on Saturday, when folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra competed and prevailed in Eurovision’s grand closing.

“This victory is for every Ukrainian!” lead singer Oleh Psiuk shouted.

Support for Ukraine may very well be seen and heard from the primary moments of the finals on Saturday. Contestants and viewers members alike sang, “All we are saying, is give peace a chance,” through the opening ceremony. When the cameras lower to pictures of the viewers in Turin, Italy, folks may very well be seen wearing yellow and blue, some waving the Ukrainian flag, in help.

After the Kalush Orchestra peformed, Psiuk known as out to viewers members the world over, “I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol, help Azovstal, Right now!”

Ukraine ended the night with a whopping 631 factors, adopted by the U.Okay. with 466, Spain with 459 after which Sweden with 438.

Frontman Oleh Psiuk instructed NPR in a Zoom interview earlier than the ultimate that it is an enormous accountability to signify Ukraine and its tradition to the world, particularly as Russia is actively attempting to destroy it.

“We need support to show everybody that our culture is really interesting and has a nice signature of its own,” he mentioned. “It exists, and we have to fight now at all of the front lines.”

The band is comparatively new, however its type and track shortly grew to become iconic

Kalush Orchestra grew to become a recognizable fixture of this yr’s competitors, thanks largely to its members’ distinctive outfits, dance strikes and wind instrument abilities.

Its track, “Stefania,” combines rapped verses and a people refrain. Psiuk wrote it about his mom earlier than the warfare, however it has since taken on a brand new, extra patriotic which means.

“Many people began to perceive it like Ukraine is my mother,” he explains. “And this way the song has been very close to Ukrainian people.”

Psiuk explains that the group’s distinctive type is current not solely in its music, however “in our images, in the concept, in anything we do.”

The six-person band mixes trendy streetwear with conventional clothes, from embroidered vests to Psiuk’s signature pink bucket hat, and incorporates Ukrainian woodwind devices just like the sopilka and telenka.

While the present iteration of the band has solely been round since final yr, it has its roots in a three-person rap group known as Kalush, which Psiuk helped present in 2019. It’s named after his hometown within the western area of Ivano-Frankivsk.

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Psiuk’s household continues to be there. In his few spare moments between rehearsals and interviews, they inform him in regards to the missiles flying overhead.

“It’s like a lottery,” he mentioned. “You never know where it strikes, so … we are very anxious.”

The musicians combat for his or her nation on and off the stage

The band’s members are all males of preventing age, and needed to get non permanent permits with a purpose to depart Ukraine for the competitors in Turin, Italy.

One of them, Vlad Kurochka, or MC KylymMen (which interprets to CarpetMan) selected to remain in Ukraine, the place he is been serving to to defend Kyiv.

The different musicians have been planning to return residence instantly after Eurovision ended, Psiuk mentioned.

He plans to return to the volunteer group he began known as “De Ty” (which interprets to “Where are you”). Its roughly 35 volunteers coordinate issues like transportation, drugs and lodging for folks throughout Ukraine, who submit requests through a Telegram channel.

And Psiuk mentioned whereas the band is not in a position to deal with creating new music for the time being, it does have some already within the works.

What a Eurovision win means for Ukraine

Psiuk had hoped that the band would return to Ukraine as Eurovision champions, including that any kind of win would assist enhance the nation’s morale.

“I would like to bring some good news to Ukraine, because good news [hasn’t] been in our country for a long time,” he mentioned.

He hoped followers’ help for Ukraine will not finish now that the songwriting contest has.

Psiuk mentioned it is necessary for folks to attend peaceable rallies, put up on social media and maintain elevating consciousness in different methods.

“The more people speak about Ukraine, the quicker the war will be over and it will not start in other countries,” he mentioned, including that he’s grateful for the help his nation has acquired to date.

It’s customary for the nation that wins Eurovision to host the next yr’s competitors. Does Psiuk suppose that may occur in 2023?

“Yes,” he mentioned emphatically. “I’m sure that Ukraine will host Eurovision, and will gladly do that in the rebuilt, whole and happy Ukraine.”

Dustin Jones contributed reporting.

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