Kalush Orchestra, a Ukrainian band, will compete in the final round of the Eurovision Song Contest, which has secured its place as the top choice to win the tournament.
Kalush, a hip-hop band that incorporates tribal themes and contemporary songs, stood up with excitement, signaling the Ukrainian banner when it was reported that they had qualified for 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.
Viewers at the Pala Alpitour applauded them with genuine tears. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the group received much support.
In an interview with the BBC, Psiuk stated that the success would send essential points to aid the affected citizens 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 success is not simply the development 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, a song by the band, was composed in honor of Psiuk’s mother, but essential passages, for example, “I will always walk to you by broken roads,” were taken as a refreshing cry.
Psiuk, speaking after the semi-final, said he appreciates everyone who voted and pointed out that the Kalush Orchestra was “totally focused” on the final “because we are here to show that Ukrainian culture is alive.”
Russia has also been barred from participating in the competition this year. Organizers say the country’s commitment could “bring competition into disrepute.”
The semi-final on Tuesday gave 10 acts to the finals on Saturday. They were (in no particular 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 like Latvia’s “vegetarian anthem” Eat Your Salad and the Austrian EDM banger Halo never made it to the roster. Albania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Denmark were eliminated from the contest on Tuesday.
Ten more acts will enter the main competition after the second semi-final on Tuesday. The “Big Five” – France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and Italy – have provided funding to make the competition a reality that meets all the requirements to qualify for this cycle.
The first semi-final started with a planned program called The Sound of Beauty which included pieces from Nessun Dorma of Nucunini and last year’s winner Zitti E Buoni of the Italian team Maneskin.