Ukraine’s The Kalush Orchestra Wins 66th Edition of ‘Eurovision Song Contest’
The 66th edition of Eurovision Song Contest came to a close with the Ukrainian group, The Kalush Orchestra as the winner. The folk-rap group was announced as the winner following jury “voting irregularities” in the second semifinal and grand final.
Ukraine Bring Home Their Third Eurovision Song Contest Win
Ukraine has officially taken home their third Eurovision Song Contest win. The folk-rap group The Kalush Orchestra impressed on the Eurovision stage with their single “Stefania.” Eurovision Song Contest is the first cultural event Ukrainians have taken part of since the nearly three month long Russian invasion. Their touching tune tells the story of the frontman’s mother. Visuals of the official video show “Stefania” as a hero of the ongoing invasion.
Since the country has remained absent from cultural events, fans of Eurovision were excited to see the country take part in the competition. Audience members were happily waving the country’s flag throughout their performance.
“Stefania” helped the Ukrainian group beat their main rivals, the United Kingdom and Spain. The Kalush Orchestra brought home the prize for the third time in Ukraine’s history on May 14. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the group on social media soon after their win.
“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” Zelensky wrote on Instagram (translated from Ukrainian). “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in its history. And I believe – not the last. We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol.”
The European Broadcasting Union Faces Criticism Following “Irregular Voting Patterns”
During the second semifinal and grand final portion of the competition, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) noticed a change in jury voting patterns. As a result, voting was affected in both rounds. Since noticing the change, the network confirmed that it was directly related to the national jury, not the public vote.
While the EBU did not directly come out with a list of countries affected, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and San Marino had jury votes removed. As a result, fans of the series gave harsh criticism for their lack of transparency. In a released statement, the EBU explains that they take any type of vote tampering seriously and reserve the right to adjust scores.