Eurovision: Fitting that Sweden will host next year's event, but Ukraine was the real winner in many ways – Angus Robertson

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Home town of Ukrainian act Tvorchi was bombed by the Russians during Eurovision

Hard to believe, but next year will be the 50th anniversary of Abba winning the Eurovision song contest with ‘Waterloo’. How fitting that the 2024 Eurovisions will take place in their native Sweden after this year’s Swedish victory by Loreen. Not only did the runaway favourite win the contest for a second time, but Sweden has now equalled Ireland’s record seven victories.

Hopefully sometime soon the Eurovision contest will be able to take place in Ukraine, which should have hosted this year’s contest after last year’s win by the Kalush Orchestra. Owing to the full-scale Russian invasion, the contest was relocated for safety reasons to Liverpool, but Ukraine wasn’t far from the thoughts of the Eurovision audience or the performers.

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This was particularly true for the Ukrainian act Tvorchi whose home town was bombed by the Russians during the competition. After finishing their performance, the duo from Ternopil confirmed that the town had just been shelled “while we sang… about our steel hearts, indomitability and will” and added: “Europe, united against evil for the sake of peace!”

Liverpool made a perfect stand-in host, giving strong support to Ukraine throughout. While this year’s Ukrainian act made for strong contenders, it was Finland’s Käärijä who were the major challengers to Sweden’s Loreen. Their chorus line, Cha Cha Cha, was sung with gusto by the Liverpool crowd.

The nail-biting finish saw Finland leapfrog Sweden with a massive 376 points in the people’s vote, only to be pipped for the prize when the Swedes garnered 243 points. In so many ways, however, Ukraine was the real Eurovision winner.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary

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