Eurovision

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra has won the Eurovision Song Contest, in a symbolic show of public support following the country’s invasion by Russia.

The rap-folk band, who were given special permission to leave the war-torn country, soared to first place with 631 points.

They ended their performance in Turin with a plea: “Please help Ukraine, help Mariupol, help Azovstal right now.”

Sam Ryder came second for the UK, the country’s best result since 1998.

Eurovision: Sam Ryder Topped The Jury Votes

A former construction worker, he had been keenly favored ahead of the competition thanks to his soaring power ballad, Space Man, which evoked the classic British pop of Queen and Elton John.

It topped the jury vote, amassing 283 points, but was pipped at the post when public votes were added to the total. (The UK came fifth with the public, with Ukraine receiving the most points).

However, his second-place position reverses a long decline in the UK’s Eurovision fortunes. The country hasn’t been in the top 10 since Jade Ewen came fifth in 2009. In both 2019 and 2021, the UK came last.

“This is the tip of an iceberg,” he told the BBC afterward. “The UK is going to be a force next year. It’s gonna be mad.”

“This is a red-letter moment,” added Graham Norton, who presented the contest on BBC One. “I am so happy for [Sam], for the UK, and for the BBC who have worked so hard to turn our fortunes.”

The top five looked like this:

Ukraine – Kalush Orchestra: Stefania

UK – Sam Ryder: Space Man

Spain – Chanel: SloMo

Sweden – Cordelia Jakobs; Hold Me Closer

Serbia – Konstrakta: In Corpore Sano