Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday in a symbolic show of public support following the country’s invasion by Russia.
The rap-folk band, which was given special permission to leave the war-torn country, soared to first place with 631 points.
They ended their performance in Turin with a plea: “Please help Ukraine, help Mariupol, help Azovstal right now.”
Greece comes in eighth in Eurovision 2022
Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord representing Greece with “Die Together” came in eighth.
The Greek-Norwegian singer, aged 25, received 215 points. Greece’s stage set was directed by Fokas Evagelinos and designed by Giannis Mavrikis while internationally acclaimed fashion designer Selia Kritharioti created Amanda Georgiadis’ costume. Lighting and visual effects were designed by Ukrainian visual artists under Nicholas Chobb.
The top five were represented by:
Ukraine – “Stefania,” by Kalush Orchestra
UK – “Space Man,” by Sam Ryder
Spain – “SloMo,” by Chanel
Sweden – “Hold Me Closer,” by Cordlia Jakobs
Serbia – “In Corpore Sano,” by Lonstrakta
However, nobody could compete with Ukraine’s act, who had been projected to win for weeks.
Their winning song, “Stefania,” was initially written as a tribute to frontman Oleh Psiuk’s mother, but it has been re-purposed as a rallying cry for Ukraine amidst the Russian invasion.
A unique combination of old Ukrainian folk melodies and traditional flute with contemporary rap and hip-hop beats, its lyrics about “broken roads” and fields “turning grey” seemed oddly prescient given the devastation facing the country’s citizens.
“After it all started with the war and the hostilities, it took on additional meaning, and many people started seeing it as their mother, Ukraine, in the meaning of the country,” Psiuk said last week. “It has become really close to the hearts of so many people in Ukraine.”
Receiving the coveted trophy, Psiuk declared: “Thank you for supporting Ukraine. This victory is for every Ukrainian. Slava Ukraini.”