The 26 participants in the Eurovision Song Contest finals, this Saturday evening, will do their best to convince the jury and the audience at the expected concert hosted by the English city of Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine.
After a series of performances that promise a large dose of visual dazzle, the winner of the competition will be known as the successor to the “Kalosh Orchestra” that won Eurovision last year thanks to the song “Stefania”, which combines hip-hop and traditional music.
However, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and instead of holding the competition this year in the country that won the previous edition, as usual, Eurovision was organized in the cradle of the Beatles.
British Culture Secretary Lucy Fraser said: “While the eyes of the world will be fixed this weekend on Liverpool for Eurovision, our hearts will be with the people of Ukraine who are fighting for their sovereignty and resilience.”
In an illustration of the difficulty of reconciling the requirements of political neutrality stipulated in the terms of the competition, and the need to uphold the flag of a war-torn country, the organizers of Eurovision stirred controversy in the final hours by refusing to allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to deliver a speech via videoconference during the final party.
The European Broadcasting Union, which is responsible for organizing the competition, indicated that “Zelinski’s request to address the audience of the Eurovision Song Contest, although it involves good intentions, unfortunately cannot be approved because it contravenes the rules for the musical event” which stipulate that it is forbidden to “make any political or public statements.” Like during the event.
However, the federation stressed that the competition would send strong messages of support to Ukraine during the closing ceremony on Saturday evening, with the presence of eleven Ukrainian artists on stage, including Kalush Orchestra.
Video clips will be shown during the evening, different regions of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian flag will be present in the hall.
Russia was excluded from the competition this year, as last year, due to its invasion of Ukraine.
* Ukraine in songs--
The war will be present in several songs during the concert. Kiev this year is represented by the electro-music duo “Tvorchi” with the song “Heart of Steel” or “Heart of Steel”, which was nominated by the band, and is inspired by the steadfastness of the Ukrainian forces at the Azovstal Steel Factory in Mariupol throughout the siege imposed by the Russian forces on the city for a month. It thus symbolizes “strength and courage,” according to the band’s singer, Jeffrey Kinney.
The selection process for Ukraine’s representatives to Eurovision took place in a bunker in Kiev.
“We saw a lot of Ukrainian flags,” Andrei Hotsoliak, a member of the “Tvorchy” band, said during a press conference on Friday, on the eve of the final concert, that “Britain made a great effort to represent Ukraine here.”
As for the representative of Switzerland, the young singer, Remo Forer, he chose to participate in a more traditional message of peace through the song “Watergan”.
On the other hand, under the flag of Croatia, the band “Late 3” is competing with the song “Mama SC”, which is carried in a hidden way on Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the band described it as a “weapon” in confronting “human stupidity” and “wars”.
According to bettors, this band has little chance of winning despite the uproar it has caused.
Projections in this context indicate that Ukraine ranks third among the countries most likely to win this party, behind two Scandinavian countries, Sweden and Finland.
And at the top of the list of favorite countries in this competition, according to bettors, Sweden is represented by singer Lauren, who previously won Eurovision in 2012 with the emotional song “Tattoo”. If she wins, Lauren will be the second artist to win the Eurovision Song Contest twice, after Irishman Johnny Logan.
Finland is represented by the song “Cha Cha Cha” by singer Kariya. France is represented by Canadian of Moroccan descent, Fatima Zahraa Hafezi, known as La Zara, who has not won the competition since Marie Myriam won her title in 1977. The Quebec singer is considered one of the leading candidates with her electro-disco song “Evidaman”.