At Eurovision 2022, the Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra qualified for the Grand Final in Turin, Italy

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“I will always come to you, through broken roads.” Ukrainian singer Oleh Psiuk first sang these words as a poem to his mother, but when his band, the Kalush Orchestra, performed on Tuesday at Eurovision, the words echoed differently.

Now, popular rapper Stefania is the favorite to win Eurovision 2022, the world’s longest-running and most popular televised music competition in Europe, which is based on audience votes, mostly on the continent.

The Ukrainian competitor was one of the 10 works Qualified for the Grand Final In the semi-finals in Turin, Italy, after becoming the most-watched on YouTube among the 40 national posts of the year.

For 27-year-old Siuk, the song turned into a tribute to Ukraine, and the stage into a way to remind people of Russia’s war on his country. “If we win, it will be another opportunity to show Ukraine to the world, to remind people of Ukraine, and to raise morale in the whole country,” He told the BBC.

The striker lashed out in his pink hat on Tuesday while his teammate was playing the flute. While some lyric poems were written before the war, they acquired “extra meaning,” he said Earlier, the Associated Press. “A lot of people are starting to see it as their mother, Ukraine, in the sense of the country.”

Ukraine imposed martial law, banning most men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country in anticipation of being called up to fight, but authorities granted Psiuk and his squad permission to travel to compete in Italy.

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“Rap, flute ring, bucket hat, break dance, shiny bodice. We’ll never be as cool as the Kalush Orchestra,” Eurovision Tweet Tuesday after the show.

If the group – which mixes hip-hop music with Ukrainian folk dance – wins the Eurovision final on Saturday, Ukraine will win the right to host the 2023 competition. The annual competition was first held in 1956, and while its organizers at the European Broadcasting Union described it as an “unfair” event. political”, they often reflect the political dynamics of the time.

In fact, the band replaced the original act of Ukraine, Alina Bash, earlier this year due to an investigation into Bash’s 2015 visit to Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. After the Kremlin launched its war on Ukraine, it was blocked Russia from this year’s competition.

In 2016, Ukraine’s entry to the Crimean Tatar singer Jamala recorded her second victory in the Eurovision contest. When the competition was held the following year in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Russia was barred from joining.

Armenia and Georgia have been among the contenders who have pulled out in past years due to tensions with other countries, while the victory of bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst in 2014 sparked debate over LGBT rights.

Annabelle Chapman contributed to this report.

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