Ukraine wins Eurovision 2022 with a record breaking public vote

Fans of Eurovision were up early this morning for the 3am broadcast from Turin, Italy.

Ukraine has won the 2022 Eurovision Song Content with Kalush Orchestra taking out the top spot with their song Stefania. The band from the war-torn nation were tipped to be the winner, and the public vote for the band broke all the records in the competition’s 66 year history.

Ukraine scored a total of 631 votes, a combination of points from the industry judging panels of each county and the pubic vote which made up 439 points in the final score.

The song was written about one of the band member’s mother, and features a lullaby at the end of each verse. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine the song took on an increased meaning with parallels of motherhood and motherland, and a cultural history of mothers singing lullabies to their sons before they head to war.

It’s the first time a song with rap lyrics has won the competition.

Kalush Orchestra is a side project of rap group Kalush, which is made up of founder and rapper Oleh Psiuk, multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk, and dancer Vlad Kurochka.  Dancer Kurochka is known as MC KylymMen, which translates as MC Carpetman.

They joined up with Tymofii Muzychuk, Vitalii Duzhyk, and Dzhonni Dyvnyy who play traditional Ukrainian folk instruments. Ihor Didenchuk is also a member of Go_A, who came 5th in last year’s competition.

Not all members of the band were able to attend the competition, MC KylymMen is currently serving in the Territorial Defence Forces around the capital of Kyiv, and another dancer filled his spot.

Take a look at their performance. 

Eurovision usually has strict rules about political statements being made in the competition, the festival was founded around the concept of building bridges between countries in the years after the second World War. Sunday morning’s broadcast opened with a performance of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s song Give Peace a Chance.

Russia was barred from entering this year’s competition following their invasion of Ukraine. Organisers have acknowledged that it might be difficult to stage the 2023 competition in Ukraine, given the ongoing conflict and severe damage to infrastructure.

This year’s win is the third time Ukraine have triumphed in the competition, following their success with Ruslana in 2004 and Jamala in 2016. One of Eurovision’s most memorable and camp entries Verka Serduchka also hailed from Ukraine, their song Dancing Lasha Tumbai was the runner up in 2007.

Sheldon Riley places 15th in the competition

Australia’s Sheldon Riley delivered a powerful performance of his song Not the Same and while it impressed the judging panel, it failed to get much love from the public votes.

Australia came 15th out of the 25 performers who made it through to the grand final. It’s the seventh time Australia has been part of the competition since making our debut back 2015.

Riley’s performance faired better than last year’s entrant Montaigne, who was knocked out in the semi-finals, but also had the added challenge of not being able to travel to the competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our score this year was also higher than 2018’s offering from Jessica Mauboy who ranked 20th in the competition.

Australia’s best performers to date have been Dami Im, who came second in 2016, Guy Sebastian who placed 5th in 2015, and Kate Miller-Heidke who scored a ninth place in 2019.

United Kingdom makes a big comeback

One of the night’s big success stories was the United Kingdom’s entrant Sam Ryder who came second in the competition with his song Space Man. 

Ryder, who came to prominence during the Covid lockdown via his performances on social media site TikTok, gave the UK their best result in decades.

While the UK have previously won the competition with performances from Sandie Shaw, Lulu, Brotherhood of Man, Bucks Fizz and Katrina and the Waves – their last win was in 1997.

Last year’s entrant James Newman came in last in the final, and scored zero points. The UK also placed last in the 2019 final when Michael Rice performed Bigger Than Us. Ryder’s second pace is the country’s best result since Imaani was the runner up in 1998.

Graeme Watson 

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