Kalush Orchestra, a rap group who formed in 2019, replaced Ukraine’s original entrant Alina Pash, who withdrew from the competition in February. The group’s track ‘Stefania’ is an ode to powerful mothers.
The Grand Final of Eurovision 2022 will take place at the PalaOlimpico in Turin, Italy this weekend (May 14), with Kalush Orchestra’s odds currently sitting at 8/11 (via Oddschecker).
Written by frontman Oleh Psiuk, ‘Stefania’ is also the most watched on YouTube among the 35 contenders. “Some people are saying we could win because of the war, but our song was among the five favourites before the start of the conflict, which means people like it regardless,” Psiuk said in an interview with the Italian news agency Ansa (via Guardian).
He continued: “Those of us here represent every Ukrainian. After Eurovision we will return home to provide our contribution.”
On Stefania being dedicated to his mother, he said: “This is the best thing I have ever done for her; and with the outbreak of war the meaning is extended to all mothers who protect their children.”
The band were given special permission to visit Israel for a pre-Eurovision concert, as men of military age are presently banned from leaving the country. This was their first international performance since the invasion began.
Russia was banned from competing in this year’s competition following backlash to an earlier statement from organisers saying the country would be allowed to compete despite launching a military assault on Ukraine.
Last year’s Eurovision was won by the Italian band Måneskin, who have gone on to achieve international success, with highlights including supporting The Rolling Stones in 2021.
Last week, the band shared details for an upcoming single called ‘Supermodel’, which is out the day before Eurovision on May 13.