Ukraine has won the Eurovision Song Contest after a huge show of support from the rest of the continent following Russia’s invasion of the country.

Performing their folk-rap song Stefania, Kalush Orchestra stormed up the leader board, beating off strong competition from the UK and Italy.
The group was out on the streets fighting off Russian aggressors just weeks before taking to the stage in Turin – instead of rehearsing for the biggest performance of their lives.

Following their win, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy defiantly vowed that next year’s contest will be held in Mariupol. The city is currently almost entirely in Russian hands.

He wrote on Facebook: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe. Next year, Ukraine will host Eurovision.”
The UK’s Sam Ryder took second place – the first time the UK has placed in the top three at the Eurovision Song Contest in 20 years.
The singer was top after the national jury vote with 283 points, but there was a huge surge of support for Ukraine in the public vote.
The UK had been waiting a quarter of a century for a Eurovision win and the announcement of the winner was a nail-biter, as it came down to the final vote.

Russia was excluded from the competition this year in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine had been widely tipped to take the title and on the night there had been a huge cross-European swell of support for the war-torn country. Almost all entrants sported Ukrainian flags as well as their own.

It was this ‘prediction’ that has angered so many. The concern is that it was not the quality of the contestants in the end but the fact that the public are supposed to vote for Ukraine entirely for political reasons.

Some comments garnered thousands of likes including the following:

Kristina Kleuver: ‘SO f*cking political. This event has never been about music but it is even less about any performance whatsoever now. Unbelievable. Maybe we should hand Ukraine the Football World Cup in advance.’

Jamie Paterson: ‘Ukraine only won it because of events, this contest is an absolute joke. It was a political vote. The song wasn’t good.’

Stuart Robinson: ‘Don’t know what they’re going to do if the war in Ukraine goes badly and Kyiv has become a Russian regional city….If anyone in continental Europe was in any doubt, Eurovision is a POLITICAL event, NOT a musical one, I’m afraid. It’s high time it was reformed.’

Siobhan Linehan: ‘431 points for Ukraine?! I’m sorry but that’s 100% a pity vote. I had a feeling this would happen but I’m disappointed anyway. It’s a SONG contest not a political contest and their song wasn’t great. UK will always be the winners this year in my heart.’

Marko Senic: ‘The worst decision. Mixing music and politics. Sorry, but below average song. Any other in top 10 would be better! Just to be clear – every normal person is against war!!!’

Constantinos Panayiotou: ‘A song that no-one will remember.’

Just a flavour of some of the big hitting comments.

For many there was also a sense of ‘what was the point of that?’ I have just wasted hours watching something in which the merit of the performance was ignored and politics yet again prevailed.

However, for all of that Sam Ryder ecstatic about the result.

Sam Ryder narrowly missed joining the likes of Katrina and the Waves and Bucks Fizz to give the UK its sixth win since 1957.
But he was ecstatic about the result: “There is so much gratitude, what an experience,” he said.

His journey to Turin began during lockdown, when he started singing on TikTok, going on to amass 12 million followers on the app.
He was chosen by the BBC and industry experts to lead the UK delegation, after years of disappointing results at the contest – including last year’s ‘nul points’.

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