Eurovision week is underway, with the first semi-final taking place on Tuesday 10th May.
Russia was excluded from this year’s song contest, marking the first time the country has not participated since its debut in 1994.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the musical event, has banned Russia from the 2022 competition following its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
In February, EBU organizers first said they had no plans to prevent Russia from participating, then quickly backtracked and banned the country from participating.
“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,” it said in a statement at the time.
“We remain committed to protecting the values of a cultural competition that promotes international exchange and understanding, brings audiences together, celebrates diversity through music and unites Europe on one stage,” said the EBU.
Russia was originally scheduled to perform in the second half of the first semifinals on May 10, 2022, and it has not announced its appearance for this year. Last year, Russian Manizha took 9th place with her song “Russian Woman”.
In recent years, Russia had achieved five top-five finishes in the last decade and took home the trophy in 2008 when Dima Bilan “Believe”.
After Russia’s elimination, a total of 40 countries will compete in the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy this week.
Ukraine has selected the rap trio Kalush Orchestra for the competition. Her song “Stefania” – a track that blends hip-hop and traditional Ukrainian music – was written as a tribute to her mothers. The Kalush Orchestra, led by Kiev rapper Oleh Psiuk, also consists of multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk and dancer Vlad Kurochka.
Alina Pash was originally selected by a televised national selection show to sing her song “Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors”. However, she withdrew after facing scrutiny for an alleged visit to Russian-occupied Crimea in 2015.
People entering Crimea via Russia are considered to have crossed the border illegally by Ukraine, although there is no evidence that Pash did so.
The Kalush Orchestra was granted special permission to leave Ukraine to travel to Italy for the competition after nearly all men under the age of 65 are required to stay in the country in case they are needed to fight Russian soldiers.
“Some people say we could win because of the war, but our song was in the top five before the conflict started, which means people still like it,” lead actor Psiuk said in an interview with Italian news agency Ansa.
The group is predicted to succeed in the semi-finals as “Stefania” is currently the most watched Eurovision entry on YouTube among the 40 contenders.
The Eurovision semi-finals will take place on May 10th and 12th, while the grand final will take place on Saturday May 14th.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/eurovision/russia-eurovision-2022-ukraine-war-b2078220.html Eurovision 2022: is Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest and why not?