Ukraine win Eurovision 2022 in an emotional, compassionate final

“Everybody wants peace. And music is peace.” Phrases uttered by Eurovision 2022 host Laura Pausini summed up probably the most emotional tune contests in current reminiscence, with hip-hop collective Kalush Orchestra taking first place after a dramatic finale.

This yr’s Eurovision Music Contest was probably the most intriguing, thrilling and unpredictable in years. Whereas there have been grumbles behind the scenes concerning the ranges of organisation from the 2022 host nation, Italy, the present itself was as spectacular as ever – maybe much more so due to dynamic presenters Pausini, Alessandro Cattelan, and Lebanese-born British pop star Mika. Pausini, one in every of Italy’s most adored and prolific pop artists, carried out a spectacular medley of her best hits together with a rendition of that Italian basic, “Volare” by Domenico Modugno.

It was additionally the UK’s finest efficiency in years. For under the third time this century, a UK contestant made it to the highest 10 of the Eurovision last. That contestant was Sam Ryder, the endearing, bearded singer-songwriter initially recognized for his viral Tik-Tok renditions. But it was the 32-year-old’s background performing in rock and steel bands that appeared to profit his rousing rendition of pop ballad “Space Man”. Resplendent in a silver house go well with and surrounded by a glowing steel cage, Ryder nodded to British heritage acts comparable to Elton John and David Bowie. His voice – pitched at a dizzying falsetto reaching celestial highs – soared regardless of what was unquestionably quite a lot of strain from a nation that got here lifeless final in 2021.

There was loads of competitors for Ryder, too. Ukraine got here out swinging with their eclectic hip-hop troupe Kalush Orchestra, whereas Italy obtained hearts fluttering with Mahmood and Blanco’s poignant ballad “Brividi”, and Spain obtained, erm, one thing else going with Chanel’s scorching pop tune “Slomo”. There have been eclectic choices from Norway (“Give That Wolf a Banana”) and Moldova (“Trenulețul”). And there was the downright peculiar, within the type of Serbian artist Konstrakta singing “In Corpore Sano” (“a healthy body”). It was a piece of efficiency artwork that includes a wash basin, hand gestures, and ominous, cloaked figures handing the singer towels.

Kalush Orchestra dispelled any assumptions that they’d cruise via the competition on sympathy votes alone. The Ukraine group’s efficiency was sharp and energetic, paying tribute to their heritage whereas incorporating fashionable rap parts. Shortly after Moldova’s energetic efficiency, which despatched a conga line dancing across the press room right here in Turin, it was Ryder’s time to shine. The response to his tune was notably extra enthusiastic than poor James Newman with final yr’s dismal effort, “Embers”. It helped that Ryder was so endearing throughout his marketing campaign and on the rehearsals in Turin, taking care to recollect the title of every journalist who interviewed him. “[I’m doing this for] the love of singing and songwriting, and of being a fan of Eurovision in general,” he’d instructed The Unbiased only a week earlier than the ultimate. “The scoreboard needs to be an afterthought and the focus just on the song and enjoying the whole experience!”


Final yr’s champions Maneskin turned as much as deliver some hearth to an already energetic contest. Damiano David put a courageous face on what seemed like a nasty ankle damage (he’d turned as much as the present utilizing a crutch), then cracked a joke concerning the band’s infamous “coke” scandal final yr, the place a quick shot of him leaning down to choose up some damaged glass was misconstrued by viewers. Any recommendation for this yr’s 25 contestants, he was requested? “Don’t get too close to the table.” Mika adopted with a glittering mash-up of a few of his greatest hits, together with “Happy Ending” and “Love Today”.

These performances had been distractions, in fact, as members of the general public in Europe and Australia, together with every nation’s panel of judges, took to voting for his or her favorite contestants. What adopted was one thing we hadn’t seen in years. Douze factors for the UK, from Ukraine, then Germany, then Belgium, then France. And the factors simply stored coming. By the point every collaborating nation had learn out its jury’s scores, the UK was on the high of the leaderboard in what felt like the primary time in aeons. However as followers will know, the general public vote can change every little thing.

Ukraine awards UK and Sam Ryder 12 factors at Eurovision 2022

The UK second, helped by Ukraine with these douze factors. However Kalush Orchestra had a cushty end with a large complete of 631 factors. “You have melted our hearts, friends [at] Eurovision,” the embattled nation’s authorities account tweeted.  “And it matters the world to us during this time. We send all your love and support to our brave freedom defenders at Azovstal and along the frontline. Congrats, KALUSH Orchestra.” And actually, who deserved it extra?

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