Weather warning only after the victory: what a feeling it was to monitor the ESC in Kiev

Air warning only after victory
How was watching the ESC in Kiev

von Denis Trubetsky, Kyiv

Watching the European Song Contest during the war seemed surreal. The Ukrainian ESC commentator had to moderate from the basement. However, the result of the telephone vote probably really affected all Ukrainians.

The Eurovision Song Contest is usually a Ukrainian institution. As in Germany, the quality of the competition is considered to be good. Nevertheless, the ESC finals are watched with great excitement, often at bars or private parties. After all, Ukraine usually turns out quite well – much more so than, for example, Germany. Even the national preliminary tour has been a cult event for many years. The best players in Ukraine often do not have the absolute goal of getting into the ESC, although it is, of course, important rather to promote themselves in the first stage.

The preliminary decision, made in February just before the start of the war on Russian aggression, hit the musical and political headlines this year. In fact, it was not the Kalush Orchestra, the ethnic branch of the successful rap group Kalush, that had to go to Turin, nor the young popular rapper Alina Pash. However, it turned out that she went there after the annexation of Crimea by Russia through Russia, which is prohibited by Ukrainian law. Pasha was disqualified and the Kalush Orchestra rose. As a result, Ukrainians discussed online whether the song of Pasha or the song of the Kalush Orchestra was better. Opinions differed. Then came the war.

For Ukraine, Turin was not just a victory

While it has long been clear that Ukraine is this year’s ESC favorite, the song contest has been overshadowed to some extent not only by the suffering of the Ukrainian people, which is of course the most important, but also by other events ahead of the first semifinals. the time has come Angelina Jolie to Lvivtimes have given U2’s Bono and The Edge perform impromptu on the Kiev metro. The trips of foreign politicians are well registered by the population, but there are so many that it is not difficult to lose track. At the latest since the solid performance of the Kalush Orchestra in the semifinals, tensions have risen – and the expectations of the rap group, which was founded only in 2019, have been very successful and have made a significant contribution before the ESC. To oust the Russian rap from the Ukrainian charts.

For Ukraine, Turin was far from a victory. There have been many calls online for the group to use its voice to, for example, resolve the tragic situation surrounding the Ukrainian troops at the Mariupol steel plant, which the group did at the end of its performance. Of course, they wanted the Kalush Orchestra to disregard ESC rules, which are known to prohibit political statements. But if in doubt, the Ukrainians were ready to accept disqualification. Because the situation is too serious to take the song contest too seriously.

There was even some beer

Due to curfew, which starts in Kiev on Saturday at 10 pm, the opportunity to watch the ESC with others was limited to private visits and then overnight stays. I met two friends – like, of course, many other people of Kiev, what the next day could be seen on the subway from a large number of passengers with luggage.

10 p.m. at local time, at the start of the show, as required by the curfew rules, we turned off the lights in the apartment. There was also some beer that can be sold again in Kiev from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A Ukrainian commentator had to accompany the ESC from the basement to ensure he could stay at the microphone in the event of an alarm raid. However, this happened only after the victory of Ukraine.

I like pop music, but I was surreal to watch ESC and enjoy songs like Swedish in such circumstances. I remembered again and again in 2017 when the competition took place in Kiev. It was an unforgettable holiday for Ukraine, I was at the International Congress Center on the left bank of the capital and I felt similar feelings during the big European Football Championship …

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