The Eurovision Song Contest 2022 has been decided – the Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra won. The musicians were only allowed to travel to the competition with a special permit because they are of military age. Their crossover folk-rap song “Stefania” sings about Kalush frontman Oleh Psiuk’s mother, whose trademark is an oversized pink hat.

Actually, Kalush had not even qualified as second in the Ukrainian ESC preliminary round. However, the originally qualified had to withdraw from the competition after criticism was leveled at a performance in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia.

After the victory of his compatriots, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wants to organize the biggest music show in the world in his country. “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in our history,” wrote the Ukrainian head of state on Sunday night on the Telegram news channel. His country had already won the ESC in 2004 and 2016.

The 66th edition of the ESC was more politically charged than it had been for a long time. At the end of their highly acclaimed performance, the Ukrainian musicians called on the world community for support. Singer Oleh Psjuk said on stage: “I ask all of you: Please help Ukraine, Mariupol, help Azov stal – right now”. Other musicians also showed solidarity with Ukraine on the show.

After the spectacle, rapper Oleh Psjuk called on the world community to help the fighters in the Azov steelworks in Mariupol in the south-east of the country: “We need help to get these people free.” The musician knew whether he would have to go to war after his return in his own words not yet. On Monday he celebrates his 28th birthday – but without his mother Stefania, to whom he dedicated the winning song of the same name at this year’s ESC.

It is unclear whether Ukraine will really be able to host the ESC next year. Currently, Ukraine could not host such a competition because of martial law in the country. No major events are allowed. An end to the war is not in sight.

At the ESC, 25 countries competed in the final on Saturday evening, and the Eurovision Song Contest took place in Turin this year. In the run-up to the bookmakers, the favorites were Ukraine, Great Britain, Sweden, Italy and Spain. Serbia and Moldova were also traded highly among fans. Last year, the Italian rock band Måneskin won with their song “Zitti e buoni”.

Malik Harris, representing Germany, ended up in last place. Already in 2021 it was only enough for the penultimate place – and thus a series of bankruptcies, bad luck and breakdowns for the German contributions to the Eurovision Song Contest continued. With the exception of Michael Schulte in 2018 (fourth place), the starters from Germany have never made it past the lower ranks in recent years. In fact, Germany has only won twice, namely with Lena (“Satellite”) in 2010 and Nicole (“A little peace”) in 1982.

Ireland is the record winner with seven successes. The ESC is considered the largest music event in the world, which is watched by billions of people every year.