Ukraine’s Jamala wins Eurovision 2016 crown with song about war
Ukraine’s Jamala was crowned the winner of popular Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with a political, heartfelt song about war. She dedicated to her great-grandmother.
“I was sure that, if you sing about truth, it can really touch people. And I was right” the 32-year-old singer declare after accepting the Eurovision trophy.
Jamala won the 61st edition of the music competition, held in Stockholm, Sweden, in which singers from across the continent perform in front of a television audience of about 200 million.
Jamala is the first ever Crimean Tatar to perform at the contest and caused controversy ahead of the show over her political song which is reportedly about Stalin, Crimea and claims of ethnic cleansing.
In second place was the favourite of the juries Australia with 511 points, Dami Im’s Sound Of Silence, and Russia came third with 491 points, You Are The Only One sung by Sergey Lazarev.
She sang “1944,” a song about the deportation of Crimean Tatars by the Soviet Union on orders of Josef Stalin. Her performance also was considered a strong rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2014 military push into Ukraine, according to European media reports.
Referring to her song’s lyrics, she said: ‘Of course it’s about 2014 as well. These two years have added so much sadness to my life. Imagine – you’re a creative person, a singer, but you can’t go home for two years. You see your grandfather on Skype, who is 90 years old and ill, but you can’t visit him. What am I supposed to do: just sing nice songs and forget about it? Of course I can’t do that.’
John Kennedy O’Connor, author of The Eurovision Song Contest said, ‘The Eurovision song contest is a wonderful, live, family event.’ ‘I really feel very uncomfortable that any country is allowed to sing a song about genocide, in particular such a miserable genocide, also a song that is a political message to their neighbours [Russia] with whom we know they are currently in quite a conflict,’ he added.
Justin Timberlake provided the half-time entertainment, opening his performance with his hit Dance With Me before moving on to his new single, Can’t Stop the Feeling
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) May 14, 2016
Eurovision is the longest-running international TV song contest. It was held this year in Stockholm, Sweden, after Mans Zelmerlow, a 29-year-old from the Swedish capital, won the 2015 competition. It’s one of the longest-running TV shows in the world — and with estimated annual audiences of 180 million.
This year’s competition used a new voting system, under which points were awarded partly by juries from member countries and partly by a public telephone vote. Australia had been in the lead at the end of the jury stage, but the phone voters ultimately swung things Ukraine’s way.
The show was broadcast live in Europe, China, Kazakhstan, Australia, New Zealand and, for the first time, the United States. Next year’s contest will be held in Ukraine.