Ukraine was crowned the winner on Saturday Euro Vision Song Contest.
The competition tweeted the winner.
The Ukrainian band benefited from a last-minute wave of 439 TV audience votes that put them on top.
Written as a tribute to the frontman’s mother, “Stefania” by award-winning Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra has become an anthem for the war-torn country.
“Some stuff in here was actually written well before the war and dedicated to my mother,” frontman Oleh Psiuk told The Associated Press.
“After everything started with the war and hostilities, it took on additional meaning and many people began to see it as their mother, Ukraine, in the sense of the country,” he continued. “It’s really grown on us from so many people in Ukraine.”
The other countries’ artists who finished in the top 5 of the annual competition were: United Kingdom: Sam Ryder –astronaut; Spain: Chanel – SloMo; Sweden: Cornelia Jakobs – hold me closer; and Serbia: Konstrakta – In a healthy body.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy celebrated the victory in a statement on Telegram.
“Our bravery impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he said, according to a translation of NBC News. “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision!”
He said it is the third time the country is hosting the competition. Zelenskyy vowed to one day host the event in the war-torn city of Mariupol.
“We will do our best to one day host the Eurovision Song Contest participants and guests in Mariupol, Ukraine,” he said. “Free, Peaceful, Rebuilt!”
He thanked the Kalush Orchestra for representing the country and showing up at the top.
“I am sure that our victorious string in the fight with the enemy is not far away,” Zelenskyy said.
Eurovision said in a statement on Saturday that its separate jury voting process may have been the subject of an “irregular” vote.
As a result, it replaced the jury’s votes with a total calculation for the final semi-final and final. “The EBU takes any alleged attempt to rig voting at the Eurovision Song Contest extremely seriously and has the right to remove any such votes,” Eurovision’s European Broadcasting Union said.
That long-running singing competition show features artists representing each European country and some non-European countries such as Australia.
The contest’s Ukrainian commentator, Timur Miroshnychenko, did his job from a bomb shelter.
“This year I think it’s more symbolic than ever because of course none of us were thinking about Eurovision or anything like that on February 24,” he said before announcing a winner on Saturday.
In February, the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the competition, said Russia was allowed to participate despite the country’s attack on Ukraine. Less than 24 hours later, however, organizers changed course and said no Russian act would be part of the show.
“The decision reflects concern that, given the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, including a Russian entry in this year’s competition would bring the competition into disrepute,” a Explanation read.
Dennis Romero contributed.