LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Swedish singer Lorraine He won the Eurovision Song Contest Saturday night with the power ballad “Tattoo” in a colorful, eclectic mix overshadowed by the war in Ukraine for the second year in a row.
The diva from Stockholm beat acts from 25 other countries to take the continent’s pop crown at the competition’s final in Liverpool. Finnish singer Karija finished second in a close battle of Nordic neighbours.
Lorraine previously won Eurovision in 2012 and is only the second performer to win the prize twice, after Ireland’s Johnny Logan in the 1980s. It was Sweden’s seventh Eurovision win, matching Ireland’s record.
Winning a second time was “huge,” Lorin said.
Britain hosted the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, which it won last year, but could not take the right to host the contest because of the war. Air raid sirens rang out across Ukraine as the contest went on, and Ukrainian media reported a strike in Tvorchy’s home city of Ukraine’s Eurovision entry, Ternopil.
Under the slogan “united by music”, the Eurovision final combined the soul of an English port city with the spirit of war-torn Ukraine that created The Beatles.
Starting with the opening film, which featured 2022 Eurovision winners the band Kalush, the sights and sounds of Ukraine ran throughout the show. It features singing and dancing in the Kiev subway, along with a tune taken by musicians in England – including Kate, Princess of Wales, playing the piano.
The folk-rap band itself appeared on stage at the Liverpool Arena with a large pair of outstretched arms, massed drummers.
Competitors from the 26 finalist nations entered the arena in an Olympic-style flag parade, accompanied by live performances by Ukrainian acts including Go A, JamalaTina Karol and Verga Serduchka — all past Eurovision contestants.
Now in its 67th year, Eurovision bills itself as the world’s biggest music competition – a party-friendly pop Olympiad. Contestants each have three minutes to put together catchy tunes and eye-catching visuals As shows capable of winning the hearts of millions of viewers.
Lorraine was the bookies’ favorite and won with the most votes from the professional judges in Eurovision’s complex voting system. He faced a strong challenge in Käärijä, whose rap-pop party anthem “Cha Cha Cha” won the public vote.
Israel’s Noah Grell took third place with the power-pop anthem “Unicorn,” while Italy’s Marco Menconi finished fourth with his ballad “Two Wide” (Two Lives).
The diverse flavors of the continent were showcased in Portugal’s Mimicot’s cabaret-style singing competition; the Britney-esque power pop of Poland’s Blanca; Echoes of Edith Biap from La Zara to France; and Cypress’s entry, a smoky balladry from Andrew Lambrew.
Hailing from Australia – a Eurovision contender despite its remote location – guitar band Voyager hit 80s stadium rock on the head. Croatia’s Led 3 delivered a surreal anti-war rock opera, and Austrian duo Teaa & Salena sang “Who the Hell Is Edgar?” sent the music department in a go-reference song.
Electronica duo Tvorchi pay tribute to Ukraine’s resilience with “Heart of Steel,” which comes in at number six.
Britain’s May Muller drew an incredible finale of the night with her extravagant breakup anthem “I Wrote a Song.” She came second to last – but at least avoided the humiliation of getting “zero points” – zero points.
As the votes were tallied and counted, last year’s runner-up for Britain, Sam Ryder, performed his new single “Mountain” alongside Queen drummer Roger Taylor. In the “Liverpool Songbook” category, past Eurovision stars performed songs from the city, including John Lennon’s “Imagine”, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” from Dead or Alive and the unofficial national anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. ” — Spectators attend to pay tribute to both Liverpool and Ukraine.
Around 6,000 fans watched the show inside the arena, with tens of thousands more in the Liverpool fan zone and big screen events across the UK for a global television audience estimated at 160 million.
Under the spring sunshine, thousands of fans flocked to the city’s docks – now a sprawling party zone – near the venue before the match. Many were draped in the flags of their favorite nations or dressed as their favorite acts.
“It’s really fun to see people from different nations, different cultures,” said Australia fan Martin Trodel, sporting a kangaroo in his hat. “Obviously there are some different acts, which I love. . . you never know what to expect.
Liverpool embraced Eurovision and Ukraine, with businesses across the city flying Ukrainian flags and a program of cultural events introducing locals to the Eastern European country’s art, music and food.
But organizers said President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected the request Create a video address. The European Broadcasting Union said it would breach the “non-political nature of the event”.
Founded in 1956, Eurovision is a European cultural institution that has produced breakout stars – ABBA and Celine Dion are both past winners – alongside artists whose careers have sunk without a trace.
In recent years, it has again become a platform where stars can be introduced. 2021 hit Italian rock band Meneskin has played major US festivals and opened for the Rolling Stones on tour. Ryder had a number 1 album and performed at the Glastonbury Festival.
“ABBA did it in the 1970s and then it went quiet and wasn’t seen as the launchpad it is now,” said Steve Holden, host of the official Eurovision Song Contest podcast. “Now, the music industry, the world, knows that if you appear at Eurovision, you can achieve something big.”
Follow AP’s coverage of Eurovision at https://apnews.com/hub/eurovision-song-contest and the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine