May 14, 2022 - World

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra wins Eurovision

Members of the band "Kalush Orchestra" pose onstage with the winner's trophy and Ukraine's flags

Members of the band Kalush Orchestra after winning Eurovision in Turin, Italy. Photo: Marto Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday, receiving widespread public support amid Russia's war in its home country.

Driving the news: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated the band on Telegram. "Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!" he wrote.

  • "I thank the Kalush Orchestra for this victory and everyone who gave us your votes! I am sure that the sound of victory in the battle with the enemy is not far off," he added.
  • "We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt." The winning nation traditionally gets to host the song contest the following year.

What they're saying: "Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal right now," the band's lead singer, Oleh Psiuk, said after their performance, referring to the Azovstal steel plant where the last Ukrainian fighters in the destroyed port city remained trapped.

The big picture: Kalush Orchestra, which fuses rap with traditional folk music, performed "Stefania," a song that was written as a tribute to Psiuk's mother but has quickly become an unofficial anthem for the war-torn country, per AP. “I’ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed,” the lyrics read.

  • Ukraine was in fourth place after the jury vote, but topped the leader board after public voting, Reuters reports. The U.K.'s Sam Ryder finished second and Spain's Chanel took third.
  • Russia was banned from competing due to the "unprecedented crisis" in Ukraine.
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