The Kalush Orchestra will represent Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest tonight (May 14) as the Russian invasion of their homeland continues.
With their song “Stefania” they are the favorites to win, even if they are not the first choice.
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 counted as crossing the border illegally by Ukraine, although there is no evidence that Pash did so.
She was replaced by hip-hop act Kalush Orchestra, whose song blends modern rap and classic Ukrainian folk music.
Formed in 2019, the group consists of founder and rapper Oleh Psiuk, multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk and dancer Vlad Kurochka.
The lyrics to “Stefania” are an ode to mothers and the trials they face when raising families. The band’s live performance features synchronized dance moves, break dancing and flutes.
Kalush Orchestra is the favorite to win the competition at odds of 4/5.
Russia was banned from the 2022 event after its invasion of Ukraine in February, before announcing its act.
It won in 2008 with Dima Bilan singing Believe and in turn hosted the 2009 competition in Moscow.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine played out around the event in 2017, when Yulia Samoylova was chosen to represent Russia at the competition, which was held in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv that year.
She was banned from the country for reportedly traveling through Crimea without entering through the border with mainland Ukraine.
The Russian television station Channel One then announced that it would not broadcast or participate in the competition.
Follow live updates from today’s finals here.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/eurovision/eurovision-ukraine-kalush-orchestra-b2079043.html Kalush Orchestra: The Ukrainian group is preparing to take to the Eurovision stage amid the Russian invasion