The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, England on Saturday was supposed to be a Ukrainian party.
After Ukraine won last year’s adorable Campy singing contest, the country won the rights to host this year’s spectacle. But with the Russian invasion showing no sign of ending, the event was moved to Liverpool.
With millions watching live during the war, Tvorki from Ukraine was one of the favorites to win this year’s glorious and often quirky event. This is a sign of the continued solidarity of the European people with Ukraine against the Russian aggression. .
Instead, Sweden called off the celebrations. M&S Bank Around midnight in her arena, the Eurovision presenter announced that pop singer Lorene had won the “”.tattooa dance track that intensifies with each verse.
Loreen was a favorite of the bookmakers at the event, thanks to her catchy track and her Eurovision pedigree, which she won once in 2012. Her win means the Eurovision-obsessed country of Sweden will host next year’s contest.
Ukrainian pop duo Tvorki finished sixth.
Eurovision, which began in 1956 and is now in its 67th year, is the world’s most watched cultural event. every year, entrant Representatives from all over Europe and beyond face off, performing original compositions in hopes of winning votes from viewers and judges.
The BBC, which hosted this year’s contest, has promised to host a party for Ukraine, and the presence of the war-torn country became inevitable in Liverpool on Saturday. Eurovision fans roamed the city carrying the Ukrainian flag, and dozens of Ukrainian art installations were seen in prominent locations around the city.
The event in Kiev on Saturday provided a change from the battlefield. Eurovision fans gathered to watch the show at the city’s Squat 17b bar, giving the first round of applause to the Ukrainian military.
Kiev’s daily curfew starts at midnight and bars close at 8:30pm so people can go home. Fans were not able to watch the entire event there. Still, at one table a group of friends sang together as best they could.
“I’m very happy,” said Olha Tarasenko, 24. Tarasenko said he remembered Ukraine’s victory in last year’s competition. “I was crying and I felt like everything was possible,” she said when rap-folk group Karush Orchestra won.
Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine was evident throughout Saturday’s spectacle in Liverpool. Opening with footage of the Karush Orchestra playing in the Kiev metro, the band took the stage to deafening cheers.
Later in the broadcast, one of the evening’s TV presenters, Julia Sanina, stepped into the audience and spoke with displaced Ukrainians living in the UK who had received heavily discounted tickets to the final. A special guest performance included Dutch pop star Duncan Lawrence’s rousing rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” a show tune made popular in the UK by a cover of Jerry and the Pacemakers. sang enthusiastically. A video introduction to the Kiev choir. The choir sang “Walk, walk with hope” and “And you can never walk alone”.
The show’s hosts and contestants were careful not to actually mention or criticize Russia, which was banned from the contest last year for its invasion of Ukraine. Eurovision is intended to be a non-political event, and overt political statements are prohibited.
The rule sparked controversy in the UK on Friday after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s request to speak at the final was denied. This was announced by the European Broadcasting Union, which oversees Eurovision. in the news release “Unfortunately,” he said, President Zelensky’s speech would violate the rules.
Shortly after the union’s decision, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters that the apolitical nature of Eurovision was not a good excuse. “The values and freedoms that President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people are fighting for are not political, they are fundamental,” he said. According to a BBC report.
Still, apolitical rules were pushed to breaking point on Saturday night, with several attendees performing songs alluding to a Russian invasion. During a performance of Tvorki’s “Heart of Steel”, the band sang lyrics such as “Despite the pain, I keep fighting”.
Despite Tvorki finishing sixth on Saturday night, Ukrainian culture was on display until the end of the spectacle.
After Laurene accepted her Eurovision trophy, Ukrainian TV presenter Julia Sanina took the stage to thank Liverpool for being “a great host representing Ukraine”. And she said her slogan for this year’s contest was “We will always be united by music.”