«Stephanie» Ukraine Eurovision 2022

«Stephanie» won Eurovision. This is the story of a song that represented Ukraine. From national team runners-up to representatives of a country at war, the Kalush Orchestra and its song are now symbols of Ukrainian resistance.

In a period as turbulent as the one the country is going through, participation in the Eurovision 2022, apart from the fact that it has never been cancelled, has been quite a difficult achievement for many.

As a result, the final of the festival in Turin was the victory of Ukraine with a live performance of the Kalush Orchestra, which first won the semi-final, and then snatched the victory, with a loud vote from the public, to the grand final on Saturday, May 14th.

At the preliminary competitive selection competition in 2022, the winner was not the song «Stefania» of the Kalush Orchestra – the current representatives of Ukraine, but the «Shadow of Our Ancestors» by another Ukrainian performer. However, even before the invasion and due to her illegal presence in the territories occupied by Russian troops after 2014 (annexation of Crimea), the artist was forced to refuse to represent Ukraine at Eurovision 2022.

Against this background, they invited the second place winner in the program of the Kalush Orchestra to represent Ukraine with the song «Stephania». The band eventually confirmed their presence at this festival on February 22, two days before the start of the Russian invasion.

Kalush Orchestra frontman Oleg Psyuk immediately stood out in the war effort, being part of a volunteer group that provided supplies and support to Ukrainian war refugees trying to cross the country into the westernmost part. Psyuk admitted that he had not even thought about Eurovision yet. At the time of the decision to participate in Eurovision, all members of the group were separated, one of them was even part of the armed forces of Ukraine and actively fought to protect the country from Russian invasion.

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The Kalush Orchestra’s song for Eurovision 2022 has quickly become the anthem of the war the country is now going through. «Stephania» is a tribute to Ukrainian mothers and their role in Ukrainian society. This is a song that mixes rap with traditional Ukrainian singing and thus incorporates the various sounds and styles of contemporary music produced in the country. Because it represents a large part of the Ukrainian identity and culture of its people, it easily becomes a symbol of resistance and patriotic unity in times of war.

By the way, it should be said that «Stefania» performed by the Kalush Orchestra was highly appreciated by music critics long before the start of the war. Therefore, bookmakers in the music world made a very positive forecast regarding this composition, predicting if not a victory, then one of the places of honor at the prestigious international music festival, which is considered the largest such competition in the world.

Eurovision has become a career cradle for many famous and very popular performers, for example, For Julio Iglesias or ABBA. The festival has been held since the mid-50s of the last century and only once was not held live, but was canceled altogether. This happened quite recently, in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The rules for the music competition state that the winning country of the current event will have to be the host country of next year’s festival. Therefore, the whole world hopes that the next Eurovision 2023 will be held in peaceful Ukraine.

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