Eurovision Song Contest 2022: The perfect balance between sequins, toilet roll and friendliness | Ents & art news

From the moment the show opened with a touching rendition of John Lennon’s Give Peace A Chance, Eurovision 2022 proved to be just the glittering, glossy antidote Europe needed.

The message of the evening was unity.

And the result, secured by an overwhelming public text message and dial-up, showed it was received loud and clear.

Virtually every performer expressed solidarity with Ukraine, waved flags and made brief statements on stage. “Peace to Ukraine! We love you!” Icelandic Systur announced after their performance.

“Don’t lose your hope for a better future,” added Estonian singer Stefan, as he finished playing his country-tinged ballad, Hope.

Many participants carried Ukrainian flags as well as their own.

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Eurovision 2022 highlights

And in a corner of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, where tired but determined soldiers had long held back a Russian attack, soldiers found time to huddle around a small TV set to tune in to the game and cheer on their compatriots.

Graham Norton, responding live to BBC One, said: “I find the idea of ​​fans and families coming together during dark times to celebrate music across the continent, extremely moving.”

Norton’s Ukrainian counterpart Timur Miroshnychenko was forced to swap his usual comfortable TV studio in Kiev, providing a live voiceover for Ukrainian state TV from a secret basement.

Ukrainian soldiers watch the performance of Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra during the final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, as the Russian assault on Ukraine continues, at their position in Kiev, Ukraine, May 14, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
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Ukrainian soldiers watch Kalush Orchestra perform as Russian attack on their position in Kiev continues
Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra celebrates after winning the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest at the Palaolimpico arena, in Turin, Italy, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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Kalush Orchestra celebrates their victory

Miroshnychenko explained that his team was forced to go underground “for security reasons” after the TV tower in Kiev, where he worked for the Public Broadcasting Service of Ukraine, was hit by Russian forces.

He said, “You know, war is about life. And our soldiers are fighting for our lives. And not just ours, but for the life of the entire civilized world.

“So they told us before the Eurovision Song Contest: just do it, just celebrate, just give us that win.”

Spectators react during the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin
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The Turin show was all about ‘love, joy, inclusiveness and no hostility’

The winner of the competition will traditionally host the following year’s final, but with the fierce fighting still underway in Ukraine, it’s unclear where 2023 will be held.

When it was suggested on Twitter that if Ukraine can’t host it, the UK – which came in second place – should bid, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace replied: “Somehow it will be in Ukraine!”

The winning act Kalush Orchestra actually emerged from a cultural project led by folklore experts and combines traditional folk melodies and contemporary hip-hop to promote Ukrainian culture.

And that has become an even more striking point because Russia, through its invasion, has falsely tried to claim that Ukraine does not have a unique culture of its own.

Host of the Eurovision Song Contest Mika performs during the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest
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Song festival presenter Mika performs during final

Former winner Cheryl Baker, of Bucks Fizz, tweeted: “Wasn’t this the best @Eurovision in years?….It was a show of love, joy, inclusivity and no hostility.”

Rest assured, the competition was also the usual mix of camp, kitsch pop, and terrifying ballads.

The grand finale opened with an energetic performance with strobe lighting and projections of the sculpture of David by Michelangelo from We Are Domi from the Czech Republic singing Lights Off.

Rosa Linn from Armenia performs in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy, May 14, 2022. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
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Rosa Linn with her bed and chair wrapped in toilet roll

Finnish rock group The Rasmus kicked off the first few performances with a powerful version of Jezebel and ripped their shirts off halfway through the show.

Armenia’s representative, Rosa Linn, gave an emotional performance with her song Snap on a stage with a bed, lamp and chair, all apparently wrapped in white toilet roll.

Marius Bear from Switzerland delivered a raw rendition of his song Boys Do Cry with simple lighting as background, while France’s Alvan and Ahez had the fire on stage to perform their song Fulenn.

The team around the band Subwoolfer from Norway during the score in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest
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The team around the band Subwoolfer from Norway

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Subwoofer dressed in their now infamous yellow wolf costumes as they performed a synchronized dance number and sang Give That Wolf A Banana.

After the contest, with the UK finishing second, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Congratulations to Ukraine on winning the @Eurovision Song Contest 2022.

“It is a clear reflection of not only your talent, but also the unwavering support for your fight for freedom.

“Incredibly proud of @SamRyderMusic and how brilliantly he represented the UK tonight.”

Sam Ryder from the United Kingdom reacts during the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at the Palaolimpico arena, in Turin, Italy, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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Sam Ryder just missed the UK’s sixth win since 1957. Photo: Associated Press

Sam Ryder narrowly missed Katrina And The Waves and Bucks Fizz to give the UK its sixth win since 1957.

But he was ecstatic about the result: “There is so much gratitude, what an experience,” he said.

The Italian rock band Maneskin, reigning champion of the Eurovision Song Contest, also performed during the live show, along with singer-songwriter Mika who sang a medley with Grace Kelly and Happy Ending, among others.

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