Who is Eurovision 2022 winner Kalush Orchestra?
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, it could be said that the country has already won just by simply being in Turin. Despite the uncertainty surrounding whether they would make it to Eurovision 2022, were crowned this year's winners.
Their song of choice was called Stefania and was performed by Kalush Orchestra. The UK’s Sam Ryder was the second favourite backed to win.
After qualifying from the first semi-final on Tuesday, Ukraine maintained their reputation as the only country taking part in the semis to have qualified for Saturday’s final every single year. After first joining Eurovision in 2003, it also won the contest in 2004 as well as being the runner-up in 2007 and 2008.
During the national selections, it was actually another artist, Alina Pash, who was selected to represent them. However, accusations that she previously visited Crimea illegally arose and the runner-up, Kalush Orchestra, was asked to compete instead.
Founded in 2019 and named after the Ukrainian city of Kalush, they are a six-person hip-hop band that uses folk instruments. Their track Stefania is a tribute to frontman Oleh Psiuk’s mother, although emotive lyrics such as "I will always walk to you by broken roads" have been re-interpreted as a rallying cry.
As always at Eurovision, the staging was just as important as the song itself, and their performance included synchronised dance moves, breakdance and flutes. Contrary to thoughts that any victory would be down to a sympathy vote, the band previously stated how their song did well even before the start of the war with Russia; they said in a press conference last week, "Even before the war, we were in fifth position according to bookmakers."
After their progression to the final was announced, the folk-rap band jumped to their feet and proudly waved the Ukrainian flag. "Thank you for supporting Ukraine," said founder member Psiuk upon finishing their semi-final performance.
One of their members, Ihor, previously took part in Eurovision after competing with his other band, Go_A, last year in Rotterdam.
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