Swede Loreen wins Eurovision Song Contest with Ukrainian symbolism –

Swede Loreen wins Eurovision Song Contest with Ukrainian symbolism – Al Jazeera English

While the singing competition was taking place, Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian city of Ternopil, home of Ukrainian contestant Tvorchi.

Swedish singer Loreen has won the Eurovision Song Contest with her power ballad Tattoo in a colourful, eclectic music competition that has been overshadowed by the war in Ukraine for the second year in a row.

The diva from Stockholm prevailed against acts from 25 other countries on Saturday night and took the continent’s pop crown at the competition in Liverpool, UK.

Finnish singer Käärijä finished second in a tough battle between the Nordic neighbors.

Loreen scored 583 points after the audience and jury votes were merged, narrowly beating Käärijä, who scored 526 points.

Loreen won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 and is only the second artist, after Irishman Johnny Logan in the 1980s, to win the award twice. The win ties Sweden with Ireland as the nation with the most wins (seven each).

The UK hosted this year’s Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, which won last year but was unable to exercise its right to host the competition due to the Russian invasion and the ongoing war.

During the Eurovision Song Contest, Russian missiles hit the western Ukrainian city of Ternopil, home of electropop duo Tvorchi, this year’s song contestant from Ukraine. Local authorities wrote on Telegram that the attack hit warehouses belonging to commercial companies and a religious organization, injuring two people.

Tvorchi said this week they hoped to shine a spotlight on their country’s struggle for freedom.

The Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra garnered a huge wave of support from across Europe last year and won the competition.

Under the motto “United by Music”, this year’s song competition fused the soul of Liverpool – the English port city where the Beatles were born – with the spirit of war-torn Ukraine.

The sights and sounds of Ukraine shaped the show, beginning with an opening film that featured the Kalush Orchestra, the 2022 winners, singing and dancing on the Kiev Metro, with the tune picked up by musicians in the UK – including Kate, Princess of Wales playing the piano.

The folk-rap band themselves then appeared on stage at the Liverpool Arena with huge hands outstretched, accompanied by numerous drummers.

Liverpool had embraced the Eurovision Song Contest and Ukraine, with businesses across the city raising Ukrainian flags and a program of cultural events bringing locals closer to the Eastern European country’s art, music and food.

But organizers said they turned down a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to make a video address about the song contest, citing the show’s non-political nature.

Founded in 1956, Eurovision is a European cultural institution that has produced outstanding stars – ABBA and Celine Dion are both past winners – and artists whose careers have disappeared without a trace.

Competitors from the 26 finalist nations took to the arena in an Olympics-style parade of flags on Saturday, accompanied by live performances by Ukrainian acts including Go A, Jamala, Tina Karol and Verka Serduchka, all former Eurovision contestants.

In its 67th year, the Eurovision Song Contest bills itself as the world’s largest music competition, an Olympiad of pro-party pop. The contestants each have three minutes to combine catchy tunes and breathtaking spectacles into performances capable of winning the hearts of millions of viewers.

Loreen was the bookmakers’ favorite and won by far the most votes from specialist juries in the complex voting system of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Around 6,000 fans watched the show in the arena and tens of thousands more in a Liverpool fan zone and at big screen events across the UK.

The global television audience is estimated at 160 million.