UKRAINE have been crowned Eurovision Song Contest champions 2022 after receiving a huge amount of support from the European public.
The UK’s Sam Ryder topped the jury vote and led for most of the evening but Ukraine took the lead with a huge 431 points in the public vote.
Kalush Orchestra was the favourite to win after Vladimir Putin’s invasion – which prompted organisers to ban Russia and Belarus from competing.
Britain’s Sam Ryder had looked on course for a shock victory before the public vote saw him knocked down to second.
This is still the UK’s best result for 20 years.
Sam Ryder ended decades of humiliation for the UK as Eurovision fans sang his praises for “achieving the impossible” by finishing as a runner-up.
Sam’s song Space Man was a huge hit with viewers across Europe as the UK was awarded 12 points from countries including Ukraine, France, and Germany.
Host Graham Norton said the “unbelievable had happened” after the UK finished top of the table with 283 points from the jury vote.
But Sam’s performance wasn’t enough to win the hearts of Europe, who overwhelming voted for Ukraine.
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Kalush Orchestra thanked everyone for supporting Ukraine.
The band’s song, ‘Stefania,’ was written as a tribute to the frontman’s mother, but has transformed since Russia’s invasion on February 24 into a war anthem.
The lyrics ‘I’ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed,’ written by frontman Oleh Psiuk, are believed to have taken a special meaning because of the war.
The band received special permission to leave the country to represent Ukraine.
One of the original members stayed to fight against Russia and the others plan to return as soon as the contest is over.
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Graham Norton said: “We weren’t sure they were going to make it but they have made it.
“Their commentator did not make it, he is commentating from a bomb shelter.”
During Eurovision, fellow folk band Iceland’s Systur ended their performance saying: “This is for Ukraine, we love you.”