Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra open Eurovision with emotive rendition of 2022 winning song

It also featured a surprise appearance from the Princess of Wales on piano

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra opened this year’s Eurovision song contest with an emotive rendition of their 2022 winning song, ‘Stefania‘.

This year’s instalment of the contest took place in Liverpool. While Ukraine won last year and would normally host the next one under the rules of the competition, the ongoing political conflict meant it was held in the UK, who were runners up last year with Sam Ryder.

However, the opening segment of the final was dedicated to Ukraine, with their 2022 entry Kalush Orchestra opening the contest with an emotive rendition of their 2022 winning song.


The opening also saw the band joined by musicians and famous figures from afar. During one segment of the song, it cut to a clip of Ryder playing guitar on the song from on top of Liverpool’s Liver Building.

Other contributions via video included ones from Joss Stone, Miss Banks, Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Princess of Wales, who played piano on the song.

Check out footage of the moment below:


President Zelensky of Ukraine wanted to make a speech to address viewers at the final, however this wasn’t allowed because the organising committee of the annual song contest wanted to retain the programme’s non-political basis. It has “strict rules” to prohibit such statements from being made using Eurovision as the platform.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is an international entertainment show and governed by strict rules and principles which have been established since its creation,” read a statement from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organisers behind Eurovision (via the Independent).

It continued: “As part of these, one of the cornerstones of the contest is the non-political nature of the event. This principle prohibits the possibility of making political or similar statements as part of the contest.”

Following the ongoing conflict between the two countries, Russia has been banned from the song contest since 2022.

EurovisionLoreen at the opening of Eurovision – CREDIT: Getty

Bookies favourite Sweden went on to win the competition overall, after earning 583 points from the combined judge and audience voting system. The winning entry ‘Tattoo’ was performed by musician Loreen who also won the competition in 2012. She made history with the win, becoming the first woman to win Eurovision twice.

After the jury votes, Sweden stood in first place at 340 points; once combined with the public vote, this increased at 583. Finland and Israel came in second and third place respectively.

Speaking to NME about her history at Eurovision ahead of the contest, Loreen said: “It started with the song [‘Euphoria’]… It was just an embryo at the time, but I could sense that there was something with this song and me that was going to happen,” she said.

“My initial reaction [to re-entering the competition] was ‘No’ because I’m purpose driven. I have to understand why I do things: ‘Why stand on that stage?’, ‘Do I have anything to say?’ But whenever I said, ‘Maybe I’ll do it’, there was this feeling of positivity in me. The process felt very easy and effortless.”

Explaining the meaning behind ‘Tattoo’, she told NME that the track is one of acceptance, and learning that we have to endure the hardships of reality to fully appreciate the world around us.

“It’s a love song and I let everybody interpret whatever they want,” she explained, “but what I’m trying to say is that there is no day without night, and there is no love without the opposite either. It’s all necessary.

“We tend to think that the grass is greener on the other side but if you want to experience this deep, authentic love, you have to be aware that the struggle needs to be there too. We can’t run off the moment we feel a little bit of pain.”

The UK’s entry, Mae Martin, closed the performances with her entry, ‘I Wrote A Song‘, but the song failed to win many votes from either the judges or the audience and subsequently finished in second to last place with 24 points.

Elsewhere, the show featured a segment where previous Eurovision winners paid tribute to Liverpool’s music history during a song medley as well as a special video message from ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus who paid tribute to Eurovision and its importance in ABBA’s career. Last year’s runner up Ryder also performed his new song with Queen’s Roger Taylor on drums.

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