Ukraine’s Eurovision contestant Kalush Orchestra advance to the final with ‘Stefania’

“Representing Ukraine at this difficult time of war, I want to do my best to be yet another mouthpiece for Ukraine,” frontman Oleh Psiuk previously said

Ellie Harrison
Wednesday 11 May 2022 06:17 BST
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra perform Eurovision 2022 entry, ‘Stefania’

Ukraine’s Eurovision contestant Kalush Orchestra are through to Saturday’s final with their song “Stefania”.

The semi-finals, which took place in Turin on Tuesday night (10 May), saw 17 different artists from the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Norway, Ukraine and more compete for 10 of the spots in the grand final.

Kalush Orchestra’s performance was met with a standing ovation from the crowd.

The other finalists to advance were Switzerland, Armenia, Iceland, Lithuania, Portugal, Norway, Greece, Moldova and the Netherlands.

Ukraine’s Eurovision entry previously spoke of the responsibility they feel in representing their wartorn country at this year’s song contest.

“Representing Ukraine at this difficult time of war, I want to do my best to be yet another mouthpiece for Ukraine,” frontman Oleh Psiuk told BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, amid his country’s ongoing fight against the Russian invaders.

He said he had observed a “striking contrast” while visiting Israel and the Netherlands: “People here are not worried at all [about the war] and it’s quite unusual.

“Many people may see everything that has been happening as a kind of a war movie, but it is very tough when it is happening to you and your family.

“When you wake up in the morning, not being sure if your family and friends are still alive.”

Italy won the honour of hosting Eurovision after its 2021 entry, rock band Maneskin, triumphed in the competition last year with their song “Zitti e Buoni”.

In February, Russia was banned from competing at Eurovision this year due to the invasion.

“The EBU [European Broadcasting Union] has announced that no Russian act will participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest,” the statement read in February.

The EBU said that it had “widely” consulted its membership on the matter and had made a decision based on “a recommendation earlier today by the Eurovision Song Contest’s governing body”.

“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s contest would bring the competition into disrepute,” a representative said.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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