Ukraine’s Jamala, the first Crimean Tatar ever to perform at a Eurovision Song Contest, became the winner on Saturday night in Stockholm. Next year’s competition is to be held in Kyiv.
Her song 1944 was branded ‘political’ as it depicts the plight of Crimean Tatars – an ethnic group from Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula deported by Stalin. Jamala’s great-grandmother and her five children were among the quarter million Crimean Tatars forced to leave their homes at gunpoint in the early hours of May 18, 1944. The jazz singer herself claimed the song told “a personal story” and did not relate to present day’s politics.
Bookies’ favourite Sergei Lazarev of Russia was in third place, while the Australian Dami Im came second.
It was a glitzy yet suspenseful night in the Swedish capital as a new, more complex voting system was introduced which meant the winner was revealed in the final moments of the contest.
Euronews has been following the Eurovision Song Contest in the run-up to the show as well as following Saturday night’s performances.
Now that we have kicked off our sequined shoes why not take a look at the list of 7 things we learned from Eurovision 2016:
- 1. A country does not need to be in Europe – in fact not even anywhere near it – to take part in Eurovision. Australia is thousands of miles away yet it did not stop the country from participating or, even more impressively, coming second. It became possible for two reasons: Australians really love Eurovision and the TV channel which has been broadcasting the contest live for the past 30 years is a member of the European Broadcasting Union which organises the event.
- 2. It is possible to take part in a Eurovision song contest more than once. This year’s Maltese singer Ira Losco was seen on the Eurovision stage in 2002.
- 3. Ireland holds a record number of victories – seven, yet over the past three years the country failed to make it to the semi-finals.
- 4. Eurovision hosts can break into song themselves: Saturday night’s show in Stockholm was presented by last year’s winner Mans Zelmerlow and a TV presenter Petra Mede. They performed “Love Love Peace Peace”, a humourous number paying homage to Eurovision performers of yesteryear.
- 5. Eurovision may be the butt of jokes for some people yet a global star of Justin Timberlake‘s calibre picked it to debut his new song “Can’t Stop the Feeling”. After all, the contest is watched by around 200 million viewers worldwide: naturally, Justin was keen to show off his dance moves to an audience this vast.
- 6. Ukraine’s victory was a genuine surprise: bookies, critics and viewers had expected Jamala to be in the top five but not win: the country’s social media networks exploded with pride and disbelief.
- 7. #Eurovision was tweeted about over 7 million times on Saturday night substantially exceeding last year’s record.
Over 7 million Tweets were sent for tonight's #Eurovision smashing last year's record. Congratulations
Jamala</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UKR?src=hash">#UKR</a> <a href="https://t.co/ttvw7rXQou">pic.twitter.com/ttvw7rXQou</a></p>— Eurovision (Eurovision) May 14, 2016