Ukraine crowned Eurovision 2022 winners as Australia deliver emotional performance OCN News

The public vote drastically changed the rankings with Ukraine crowned the winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won with the song ‘Stefania’!
Accepting the award on stage to loud applause, the band thanked their supporters.

“Thank you very much, thank you for supporting Ukraine. This victory for every Ukrainian. Slava Ukraini!” the band said.

The band got the most votes from the public for a winning total of 631 points.
After the pandemic forced the cancellation of the competition in 2020, this year’s 66th edition lasted four hours, with 25 finalist performances in 12 languages.

Australian Sheldon Riley finished in 15th place after an enthusiastic audience response to his ballad “Not the Same”.

Australia's Sheldon Riley singing 'Not The Same' during the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final in Italy on May 14, 2022.

Australia’s Sheldon Riley singing ‘Not The Same’ during the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final in Italy on May 14, 2022. Source: AAP / Luca Bruno/AP

The 23-year-old singer, who grew up on the Gold Coast, said his song was inspired by his experience of being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, growing up in public accommodation and struggling with his sexuality in a religious home.

“It’s the story I never thought I could tell,” the singer told contest organizers.

The UK was second in the country’s best result in 20 years with 466 votes, followed by Spain, Sweden and Serbia.

“Please help Ukraine”

Ukrainian folk rap group Kalush Orchestra were strongly tipped to win by bookmakers, who gave the group a 60% chance of winning.
The group mixes traditional Ukrainian rhythms, costumes and dance moves with contemporary hip hop.
This is the third time Ukraine have won Eurovision – the last time was just six years ago at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 where Jamala won with ‘1944’.

The group has issued an impassioned plea to free those still trapped in a besieged steelworks in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

“I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Avostal, now,” group leader Oleh Psiuk told a crowd of some 7,500 and millions of viewers in the world.
The call to free the remaining Ukrainian fighters trapped under the sprawling Avostal factory by the Russians served as a grim reminder that the hugely popular and sometimes flamboyant Eurovision song contest was being played out against the backdrop of war.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave signs that he was watching from Kyiv and supporting the Ukrainian group.
“Indeed, this is not a war, but nevertheless, for us today, any victory is very important,” Zelenskyy said, according to a presidential statement.
“So let’s applaud ours. Glory to Ukraine!”

The winner usually hosts the competition the following year, although this can be difficult to achieve in war-torn Ukraine.

Russia and Belarus excluded

Russia and Belarus did not compete. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes Eurovision, decided that no Russian acts could participate this year, after Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
In 2021, the EBU rejected entry from Belarus, which mocked protesters against the Lukashenko regime, and has since suspended Belarusian broadcaster BTRC from the EBU.

The competition winner was chosen equally by panels of music experts in each competing country and votes from the global public.

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Australia haven’t won the Eurovision Song Contest, which has regularly stretched its borders beyond mainland Europe, but have been a fan favorite in recent years, scoring four times in the top 10 .
The winner takes home a glass microphone trophy and a potential career boost.
Twenty groups were chosen in two semi-finals this week and competed against the Big Five of Italy, Britain, France, Germany and Spain, who have permanent places due to their support funding for the competition.

Watch the show airing in prime time tonight at 8:30 p.m. AEST on SBS and on SBS On Demand. There will also be a Grand Final replay tomorrow (Monday, May 15 starting at noon) on SBS VICELAND.

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