Ukraine in Eurovision
Ukraine first debuted in Eurovision in 2003 and have been a dominant force throughout. They have finished in the Top 10 on ten occasions, including last year where Go_A finished fifth with 'SHUM'. They have won the Contest twice with ‘Wild Dances’ in 2004 and ‘1944’ in 2016.
Ukraine is the only country who have a perfect semi-final qualification record.
2022 Entry: Kalush Orchestra - 'Stefania'
Semi-final: Kalush Orchestra will compete in the first half of semi-final 1
My Eurovision Scoreboard ranking: 10th
Odds to win ranking: 1st
(Rankings as of 19 March 2022)
About the artists
Kalush Orchestra is a hip hop folk band made up of rapper Oleh Psiuk, musician Ilhor Didenchuk, beatboxing bagpipes player Vitalii Duzhyk, solo instrumentalist Tymofii Muzychuk, and rapper, DJ and dancer Danyil Chernov.
The band is a side project of Kalush, which only features a few members and focuses on hip hop, rap and beats. The additional members provide the folk and instrumental elements, hence the addition of "orchestra" to the group's name.
The name Kalush comes from the city where the members are from and where they formed the group.
Ihor maybe be familiar name to some as he was part of Go_A's entries in both 2020 and 2021.
About the song
The song 'Stefania' is written by the group and is an ode to Ole Psiuk's mother, whose name is Stefania.
It is performed in Ukrainian, with a mix of musical genres. The chorus is traditional folk while the verses are rapped by lead performer Ole Psiuk.
How they were chosen for Eurovision
It was not a typical path that saw Kalush Orchestra get the ticket to Turin. The Ukrainian national final 'Vidbir' was marred with controversy after issues with the eligibility of the winning artist and even accusations of rigged results hit the event.
The winner of 'Vidbir', Alina Pash, withdrew after it was revealed she had forged documents which showed she had previously entered Crimea through Ukraine. It is alleged that she actually travelled via Russia, which automatically rules out participants.
Kalush Orchestra were runner-ups and were offered the spot at Eurovision, despite the group accusing the broadcaster of falsifying the results.
The impact of war
The group has been impacted by the war. A member of the group is in the Territorial Defense of Kyiv and Oleh and has established a volunteer group to provide medical assistance and shelter to people in his city, Kalush.
The group are still aiming for participation, with the broadcaster stating that:
"Ukraine is preparing for participation in Eurovision 2022. For the group Kalush Orchestra, Eurovision is very important. At the same time, the band is focused on the situation in our country. They became more active, volunteered, enlisted in the territorial defence and called on everyone to help Ukraine and asked everyone watching this video to speak about the war and to ask to close the skies in our country so that Russian bombs would not kill people anymore. Everything will be Ukraine! Everything will be Eurovision! ”
The group will at least have a 'live-on-tape' performance for Turin (all delegations have been asked to do this) saying:
"Despite the fighting, the Kalush Orchestra will record their performance in a safe place, which will be sent to the organizers of the song contest, and in case of our victory over the occupiers by May, our delegation will go to Italy and sing live all over Europe."
Oleh has also stated the song is now about more than his mum, Stefania, saying:
"This song which we have created, it's the anthem for Ukraine and everybody is singing it. Originally, the song was dedicated to my mother, and now it's the song for all mothers."
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Ukraine will compete in semi-final 1 on May 10 (European time) in Turin.