UKRAINE'S JAMALA WINS EUROVISION SONG CONTEST

15.05.16




BBC.  Ukraine's Jamala has won this year's Eurovision Song Contest, held in Stockholm, Sweden.

The country scored 534 points with its song 1944, about the deportation of Crimean Tatars under Josef Stalin.

Australia finished second with 511 points, while Russia - which was the favourite going into the competition - was third with 491 points.

Joe and Jake, who represented the UK with their song You're Not Alone, finished in 24th place with 62 points.

Jamala is the first Crimean Tatar to perform at the contest and her song caused controversy because of alleged political overtones.

It references the year when Stalin deported almost all of the Tatar ethnic group from its native region of Crimea in what was then the Soviet Union.

How Twitter reacted to Jamala's win

There have been calls in Russia for a review of her victory after a prankster told Russian TV that Jamala had admitted to him her song had a political subtext while he posed as an aide to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

A Russian MP, Elena Drapeko, blamed Russia's defeat on what she called an "information war" and "general demonisation" of her country.

The juries from Russia and Ukraine did not award each other any points. However large numbers of the Russian public voted for the Ukrainian song, awarding it 10 points while the Ukrainian public gave Russia's entry the maximum 12 points.

Under the radar: Helen Bushby, BBC entertainment reporter, Stockholm

Ukraine confounded the bookmakers and Eurovision commentators who had been convinced that Russia - or possibly Australia - would win.

Russia's CG effects and the brilliance of Australia's singing weren't enough to defeat jazz artist Jamala.

Russia was the bookmakers' favourite for so long, possibly because it was so similar to last year's Swedish winner. Ukraine appears to have slipped past it under the radar.

Simon Bennett, head of the International OGAE Eurovision fan club, told the BBC that former Soviet countries that would "normally vote for Russia" sent it a message by voting for Ukraine instead.

How political was this?

The singer had dedicated the song to her great grandmother who was forced to leave along with a quarter of a million Tatars, as a collective punishment for those who had collaborated during the Nazi occupation.

It had been expected to finish in the top three but in a surprise result beat favourites Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and had been angered by the song.

Collecting her award, an emotional Jamala thanked Europe for their votes, adding: "I really want peace and love to everyone."

Speaking about her win backstage after, the singer said: "It's amazing. I was sure that if you talk about truth it really can touch people."

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