While the Eurovision song contest was going on, Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian city of Ternopil, home of Ukrainian newcomers Tvorchi.
Swedish singer Loreen has won the Eurovision Song Contest with her power ballad ‘Tattoo’ in a colourful, eclectic music competition clouded for the second year in a row by the war in Ukraine.
The Stockholm diva beat acts from 25 other countries to take the continent’s pop crown at the competition in Liverpool, UK, on Saturday night.
Finnish singer Käärijä came second in a hard-fought battle between the Nordic neighbours.
Loreen scored 583 points after the public and jury votes were combined, narrowly beating Käärijä who scored 526.
Loreen previously won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 and is only the second artist to receive the award twice, following Ireland’s Johnny Logan in the 1980s. The win also ties Sweden with Ireland as the country with the most wins, with seven apiece.
The United Kingdom hosted this year’s Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, which won last year but was unable to exercise its right to hold the contest due to the Russian invasion and ongoing war.
While the Eurovision song contest was underway, Russian missiles hit the western Ukrainian city of Ternopil, home of electropop duo Tvorchi, this year’s Eurovision contestants from Ukraine. Local authorities, writing on Telegram, said the attack hit warehouses owned by commercial enterprises and a religious organization, injuring two people.
Tvorchi said this week they hoped to highlight their country’s struggle for freedom.
The Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine received a huge wave of support from all over Europe to win the competition last year.
Under the motto “united by music”, this year’s Eurovision song contest merged the soul of Liverpool – the English port city where The Beatles were born – with the spirit of war-ravaged Ukraine.
The sights and sounds of Ukraine echoed through the show, starting with an opening cinematic that showed the Kalush Orchestra of the 2022 winners singing and dancing in the Kiev subway, with the tune picked up by musicians in the UK – including Kate , Princess of Wales, shown playing the piano.
The folk-rap band themselves then appeared on stage at the Liverpool Arena on a giant pair of outstretched hands, accompanied by massive drummers.
Liverpool had embraced Eurovision and Ukraine, with businesses in the city flying Ukrainian flags and a program of cultural events introducing locals to the Eastern European country’s art, music and food.
But organizers said they rejected a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to give a video address for the Eurovision Song Contest, citing the non-political nature of the show.
Founded in 1956, Eurovision is a European cultural institution that has produced breakthrough stars – ABBA and Celine Dion are both past winners – alongside artists whose careers have sunk without a trace.
Contestants from the 26 finalists entered the arena on Saturday in an Olympic-style flag parade, accompanied by live performances from Ukrainian acts including Go A, Jamala, Tina Karol and Verka Serduchka, all past Eurovision contestants.
Now in its 67th year, Eurovision is establishing itself as the world’s biggest music festival, an olympiad of party-friendly pop. Contestants have three minutes each to fuse catchy tunes and dazzling spectacles into performances that can win the hearts of millions of viewers.
Loreen was the bookmaker’s favourite, winning by far the most votes from professional juries in Eurovision’s complex voting system.
Around 6,000 fans watched the show in the arena, and tens of thousands more in a fan zone in Liverpool and at big screen events across the UK.
The worldwide television audience is estimated at 160 million.