Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra will compete in the final round of the Eurovision Song Contest, tying its place as the top pick to secure victory in the competition.
Kalush, a hip-hop band that mixes ethnic themes and contemporary songs, stood up cheerfully, displaying the Ukrainian flag when it was announced that they had reached the second final. But, before that, they played their song, Stefania.
“Thank you for supporting Ukraine,” stated Oleh Psiuk, a founding member, after finishing their performance.
Pala Alpitour spectators applauded with genuine tears. The band received a lot of support after Russia attacked Ukraine in February.
Psiuk told the BBC that the success would send a strong message of help to the besieged nationals and the 12 million people who have fled the country.
“For our country, it is so important to have victories in all ways,” he stated. “So, if we win, it will be another opportunity to show Ukraine to the world, to remind people about Ukraine, and to increase morale in the whole country.”
However, the band quickly emphasizes that their accomplishment is not just a movement of solidarity.
“Even before the war, we’re in fifth position according to bookmakers,” they stated in a press conference the previous week, “which means this Ukrainian song is already enjoyed by Europeans.”
Stefania, the band’s song, was written to honor Psiuk’s mother, but profound verses, for example, “I will always walk to you by broken roads,” have been taken as a refreshing cry.
Psiuk, speaking after the semi-final, thanked everyone who voted and pointed out that the Kalush Orchestra is “totally focused” on the final “because we are here to show that Ukrainian culture is alive.”
Also, Russia has been denied entry to the current year’s competition. Organizers say the country’s contribution could “bring competition into disrepute.”
The semi-final on Tuesday gave 10 acts advancement to the finals on Saturday. They were (not in a specific order):
Switzerland – Marius Bear: Boys Do Cry
Armenia – Rosa Linn: Snap
Iceland – Systur: Með hækkandi sól
Lithuania – Monika Liu: Sentimental
Portugal – Maro: Saudade, Saudade
Norway – Subwoolfer: Give That Wolf A Banana
Greece – Amanda Tenfjord: Die Together
Ukraine – Kalush Orchestra: Stefania
Moldova – Zdob și Zdub and Advahov Brothers: Trenulețul
Netherlands – S10: De Diepte
So, popular songs such as the Latvian “vegetarian anthem” Eat Your Salad and Austria’s EDM banger Halo did not make it to the final. Albania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Denmark were eliminated from the challenge on Tuesday.
Ten more acts will enter the major tournament after the second semi-final on Tuesday. The “Big Five” countries – France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and Italy – have funded to make the competition a reality that automatically qualifies to join this cycle.
The first semi-final began with a planned show called The Sound of Beauty which included parts of Nucunini’s Nessun Dorma and last year’s winner Zitti E Buoni, of the Italian team Maneskin.
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