Five Reasons Why Ukraine Should Not Win Eurovision 2022
Before I go any further with this blog, I would like to make clear my view that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is wrong. All war is evil. This blog concerns a song contest, not a battlefield; I relate my words to an event I have watched and loved since I was a child. As an Irishman, I understand its power to unify as music connects with people and creates emotions that resonate for lifetimes. Where words fail, music speaks, and the decision to ban the Russian entry from Eurovision 2022 while including the Ukrainian entry was in my opinion,a step backward for the future of a beloved song contest that aimed to “celebrate diversity, universality and inclusivity”. Its mission statement says it’s an event “designed to bring audiences and countries together”, but on this occasion, it has failed and allowed a highly politicised environment to change its mind.
The organisers of the event, the European Broadcasting Union, EBU, adhering to the non-political and peaceful ethos of the contest, declared from the start that they would allow Russia to compete. Still, Ukraine objected, and the EBU, after consultation with its members, overturned its original decision and, on Feb 25, banned Russia from the competition. In football, under UEFA rules, when two players strike each other even in self-defence, both are shown a red card and sent off.
Here are five reasons why I feel Ukraine should not win Eurovision 2022
#1 It’s not the best song.
Let’s face it, Ukraine could have entered My Lovely Horse from the Father Ted series and still won the competition as Eurovision 2022 is not about a song; it’s about a war. The Ukraine entry in normal circumstances would not have made it out of the semi-finals; it is, at best, average, both in performance and quality. In fact, this song was not the winner of the Ukrainian Song Competition. It only got to Turin after the national contest winner Alina Pash was forced to withdraw under duress from the state TV company with Kalus Orchestra demonstrating to have the result voided. Pash stated the scandal was a “dirty affair” as the Ukraine Government has zero tolerance for any connection its citizens have with Russia. Ukraine has a dictatorial history in Eurovision, banning all acts it perceives as sympathetic towards Russia. In 2017, they denied the Russian entry from competing, a move the EBU described as “disappointing”.
#2 Its places all other contestants at an unfair disadvantage.
If this were the final of the 100m in the European Championships, Ukraine would be given a head start of 60m over the other athletes. The composers, artists and countries competing in this year’s Eurovision will be denied a fair run at winning the competition. Ukraine will garner sympathy and political voting rather than votes on its quality as a song. The true winner of the Song Contest will be the country that finishes second, but they will not get to lift the trophy or enjoy the trapping of success. They will sit uncomfortably and watch as Ukraine walk away with the coveted title and use it as a propaganda tool. Maybe its time an artist’s representative body was established to highlight artistic issues and keep politics out of Eurovision.
#3 Its supports corruption and intimidation.
Six significant scandals have been associated with the Ukrainian Eurovision Competition, the first in 2005 when the pro-revolution group Green Joly received a late Wild Card entry to Eurovision with their “Battle Song” Razom nas Bahato, which trailed in 19th in the final. In 2019 the first three acts in the national competition refused to sign a political contract with the state television company declaring their political allegiances. Ukraine could not send a representative to the final as a result. So it begs the question, why did the EBU reverse their original decision to allow Russia to compete in the first place? Its perceived kindness to Ukraine was highlighted in 2016 when its entry 1944 attracted criticism when the lyrics to the song described the Soviet Union deporting Crimean Tatars in World War II. The EBU allowed the song to compete stating that it was not a political song. It went on to win the competition.
War is poison and not an overly strong, extremely unpleasant medicine.
#4 It promotes division over unity.
If the world thinks economic sanctions will affect the resolve of the Russians, they will be waiting a long time for this war to end. Only dialogue and negotiation will settle this argument. In a dispute, all sides need to be represented at the table for progress to be made, and siding with one faction over the other only creates division, not unity. If Ukraine wins, where will Eurovision 2023 be held? Will contestants and fans be asked to travel to a war zone to compete in the final? Im sure Ukraine will be calling for it to be held in Kyiv to highlight their plight, but what country will host the 2023 final if the war is still ongoing. Have the EBU considered this contingency? It will be revealing to see which country the Ukraine state jury hands 12 points to in the voting process.
#5 It’s Politising Eurovision.
Whatever way you look at this issue, even Forrest Gump would agree that political influence has come to bear down on Eurovision no matter how they spin it. Finland was one of the big supporters of the Ukrainian objection to Russia competing in the competition, going so far as to threaten to boycott the competition if Russia were allowed to compete. On the day that Finland announced that they would join NATO, they raised eyebrows by qualifying from the semi-finals beating what appeared to be better performances from Ireland and Malta. On Thursday night, social media was awash with the hashtag #robbed as Ireland and Malta, both non aligned to NATO, were deemed by many as acts more deserving to qualify for the final. As a betting man, I would guess that the majority of the NATO countries will award Ukraine high scores and that includes Ireland who are reconsidering its neutrality status.
In the decades that I have been watching Eurovision, this is the first time I will not enjoy it, simply because the best song will not win. I feel That accolade rests with the Swedish entry, who are 2/1 to win or finish second to Ukraine. This year, Spain has a smoking hot entry, and I can see them doing well. My two long-shot fancies are Switzerland and Poland; I hope to see both score well. I also respect the Czech Republic’s entry which displayed a No To War slogan in the artist’s area during the semifinals. Will it be allowed to be seen in the Final?
I really do hope that the Eurovision loving public will vote for the best song on Saturday night. I completely understand that many see it as a vote of support for the Ukrainian people under siege and defending their country from invasion, but freedom of expression is another right that people have died for.
I will leave the final words to Winnie The Pooh author and pacifist A. A Mille who was the subject of the touching anti-war movie Goodbye Christopher Robbin.
“War is poison and not an overly strong, extremely unpleasant medicine. The last war involved women and children and the accumulated wealth of civilisation in slaughter and ruin. The next war will involve them in a much greater slaughter and ruin. This seems to be a good reason for making the next war impossible. If the nations can come together to end slavery, why can’t they do the same to end war”
It was a Pirate ship that sunk, laden with treasure, coins and jewels in the port of Ibiza that lent the now-lost beach its name. Platja des Duros
The show’s production also didn’t disappoint, with the lights, lasers, fire and smoke cannons being some of the best we have seen at Ushuaia.
“Due to medical advice from his doctor, David Guetta has been told to rest for at least the next two weeks after he caught a virus last week”