Turin, 12 May 2022 (dpa/MIA) — Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, has made it into Saturday’s grand final in Turin.
Kalush Orchestra advanced in the first semi-final late Tuesday along with nine other countries.
The musicians from western Ukraine and their song “Stefania” are the favorites for overall victory at this year’s Grand Prix in the northern Italian city.
Rapper Oleh Psiuk told a press conference the band was very happy to qualify and wanted to thank everyone who supports Ukraine.
Artists from a total of 17 countries took part in the first semi- final on Tuesday.
The band has been vocal in expressing its support for Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion on social media since the armed conflict began.
The war in Ukraine is having a strong impact on Eurovision, which is being hosted by Italy this year after the Italian band Måneskin won the 2021 contest in Rotterdam.
The competition is supposed to be all about music, but this year’s Eurovision has stronger political overtones than usual.
Some groups included symbols related to the Ukraine war in their performances on Tuesday night.
For example, a guitarist from the Icelandic band Systur wore the colors of the Ukrainian flag — blue and yellow — on the back of her hand.
The band said after the semifinals they had concentrated on getting a message across from people suffering, including the people of Ukraine.
Russia has been excluded from this year’s Eurovision, as has its neighbor and close ally Belarus.
The second semi-final takes place on Thursday. A total of 40 nations took part, 25 of which make it to the final event.