Eurovision 2022: Ukraine presumed favourites after qualifying for final

May 11, 2022 1:46 pm

[Source: BBC]

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra are through to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, cementing their position as favourites to win the competition.

The folk-rap band jumped to their feet, waving the Ukrainian flag as it was announced they had qualified from the first semi-final in Turin.

Earlier, they gave an energetic performance of their song Stefania,

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“Thank you for supporting Ukraine,” said founder member Oleh Psiuk as they finished their performance.

The audience at the Pala Alpitour responded with a mixture of joy and emotion. Deafening applause was accompanied by genuine tears.

Support for the band has swelled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Speaking to the BBC before the semi-final, Psiuk said a victory would send a message of support to the country’s besieged citizens, and the estimated 12 million people who have fled the country.

But the band were at pains to point out that their success isn’t just an expression of solidarity.

Their song, Stefania, was written in tribute to Psiuk’s mother, but emotive lyrics like “I will always walk to you by broken roads” have been re-interpreted as a rallying cry.

Speaking after the semi-final, Psiuk thanked everyone who voted and said Lakush Orchestra were “totally focused” on the final, “because we are here to show that Ukrainian culture is alive”.

Russia, meanwhile, has been banned from competing in this year’s contest, with organisers saying the country’s participation could “bring the competition into disrepute”.