Look, we all know that the people of Ukraine are going through unimaginable atrocities right now. And a dumb Eurovision blog isn’t going to provide any deep insight on what’s going on there.
But a dumb Eurovison blog IS qualified to make the following comment: Ukraine’s high position in the odds is not due to a wave of anti-Putin sentiment.
Oh, don’t get me wrong – Eurofans HATE Putin. Just look at the way anti-booing technology was introduced to avoid Russian acts getting savaged.
But Ukraine is a Eurovision powerhouse. They’ve made the final every time they’ve competed, since first appearing in 2003, and won the whole shebang twice. To claim they’re only contenders because of pity political voting is preposterous. (Of course, a lot of the people who are saying this still maintain the UK does bad because of the Iraq War/Brexit/Jacob Rees-Mogg.)
Kalush Orchestra maintain Ukraine’s tradition of excellence in the contest. They mix rap with traditional folk instruments, which is something that Ukrainian musicians are uncommonly good at (see here Go_A and Onuka). They sing about Stefania, one of their mothers who is “wiser than Solomon”. And instead of backup dancers, they have brought a hype man in a tattooed gimp suit. It’s a mix of modern and sentimental that simultaneously appeals to the banger sluts and grandmas.
Will Kalush Orchestra win Eurovsion? Maybe – but if they do, it will be on the strength of their song, rather than the strength of negative feelings toward certain world leaders. And although this entire post is arguing that politics are not the deciding factor that locals seem to believe they are, a Kalush Orchestra win would also be a strong reminder of Eurovision’s role in promoting peace.