Eurovision 2016 winner: Jamala wins for Ukraine beating Australia and Russia as UK is disappointed yet again

The UK's Joe and Jake finished in 24th place with 62 points despite their performance impressing fans

Jess Denham
Saturday 14 May 2016 23:18 BST
Jamala wins the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm, Sweden with her politically-charged song '1944'
Jamala wins the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm, Sweden with her politically-charged song '1944'

Ukraine has won the Eurovision Song Contest, narrowly beating Australia and Russia in a nail-biting grand final.

Jamala's poignant song "1944" about the mass deportation of Tatars under Josef Stalin, moved voters across Europe to earn her first place with 534 points, forcing Dami Im's "Sound of Silence" for Australia and Sergey Lazarev's "You Are The Only One" to miss out on victory with 511 and 491 points respectively.

"I know that you already sang a song about peace and love, but actually I really want peace and love to everyone," Jamala said when asked how she felt by Swedish host and last year's Mans Zelmerlow. "Thank you so much."

Herself a Crimean Tatar, Jamala's haunting performance was more stripped-back than many of the more upbeat, club-friendly efforts. The title "1944" refers to the year in which Stalin shipped Tatars in over-crowded trains to Central Asia. Thousands died during the journey or starved to death upon arrival, and they were not allowed to return to Crimea until the Eighties.

"That terrible year changed forever the life of one fragile woman, my great-grandmother Nazylkhan," soprano Jamala, real name Susana Jamaladinova, said before the contest.

Despite the hard-hitting subject matter, the song had an appealing pop flavour and the lyrics avoided mention of Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. However, there is likely to be a political backlash to the result, due to continuing tensions between the Ukraine and Russia.

Elsewhere, the UK's Joe and Jake left disappointed, finishing in 24th place with 62 points. Response to the duo's performance of cheery song "You're Not Alone" was overwhelmingly positive both in the arena and among viewers at home, but they failed to rack up the votes.

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Justin Timberlake performed "Rock Your Body" and "Can't Stop the Feeling" during the interval, much to the excitement of the flag-waving audience, while Graham Norton provided yet another witty, acerbic commentary. He toasted the late Sir Terry Wogan, the "voice of Eurovision" from 1971 to 2008 during song nine, when the broadcaster had told him it was acceptable to start drinking.

Voting at this year's contest was more exciting than in past years due to a shake-up in the way the results were delivered to viewers. The final outcome was decided by a 50:50 split between professional juries and televoting from each of the 42 participating countries, with the televoting results only added onto the scoreboard at the end of the night.

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