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Is Ukraine in Eurovision 2022? Odds to win, who are Kalush Orchestra and meaning of their entry song Stefania

Ukraine’s entry song Stefania has taken on new meaning since the Russian invasion

The Eurovision Song Contest is back, with over 40 countries battling it out to be crowned the winner.

Set in Turin, Italy after Måneskin’s victory in Rotterdam, the contest kicked off on 10 May, with the finale taking place on 14 May.

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The country already tipped to reach the top spot is Ukraine, with their song Stefani being performed by Kalush Orchestra.

Here’s everything you need to know about rapper Oleh Psiuk and if Ukraine could win Eurovision.

Who are Kalush Orchestra?

Kalush Orchestra arrive for the opening ceremony of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 (Pic: Getty Images)

The Ukrainian rap group formed in 2019 and are made up of rapper Oleh Psiuk, multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk, dancer Vlad Kurochka, sopilka player Vitalii Duzhyk and vocalists Tymofii Muzychuk and Oleksandr Slobodianyk.

They mix rap with traditional Ukrainian folk music, for a unique sound that showcases Ukrainian culture and heritage with a modern twist.

Kalush Orchestra were not the first choice for Ukraine at Eurovision, they came in second in the nation’s selection process, losing out to Alina Pash.

However, they were subsequently offered first prize in February after news broke that Pash had travelled to the annexed region of Crimea.

Talking to Eurovision about their music, they said: “We’re showing off our roots, and we’re showing how to take something from the past and make it work for the present.

“That’s why we’ve found success at home, and we hope that we can find that sort of reception internationally, as well. We take something old, and we make it sound modern.”

Who is Oleh Psiuk?

Oleg Psiuk is a songwriter and rapper from Ukraine who is a member of the rap group Kalush Orchestra.

Psiuk wrote their Eurovision song Stefania in honour of his mother and to raise awareness of Ukrainian culture and language on a national platform.

In the wake of the war in Ukraine the lyrics have come to symbolise something else, specifically the lyric, “I‘ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed”.

When is the Eurovision Song Contest 2022?

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra perform in the first Eurovision semi-final (Pic: Getty Images)

The Eurovision Song Contest kicked off with the first semi-final on 10 May, in Turin, Italy.

The first round saw Switzerland, Armenia, Iceland, Lithuania, Portugal, Norway, Greece, Ukraine, Moldova and The Netherlands qualify for the final.

The second semi-final will take place on 12 May.

Six countries automatically qualify for the contest: The host country and the “Big Five” which includes France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

What is Ukraine’s Eurovision song?

Ukraine’s Eurovision song Stefania was written by Psiuk to honour his mother. However in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the words have new meaning.

Speaking to Eurovision they said: “We feel a big responsibility, since we received permits to leave Ukraine to be here. We have a duty to be useful to our country at this moment.

“We didn’t have any opportunity to rehearse together for a long time, but now, we’ve gone into ‘extra mode’. We’re all very hard working, and we’re all doing what we can to make this happen.

“We’ve enjoyed seeing people singing our song, even if they didn’t know all the words. We really appreciate seeing people supporting Ukraine, and supporting us.”

In Ukraine men aged 18-60 are unable to leave the country without a valid reason.

Some members of the band could not make the contest, instead staying behind to serve with the Ukrainian territorial forces.

What are the odds for Ukraine to win Eurovision?

At the time of writing, William Hill has tipped Ukraine to win this year’s contest, giving their song Stefania by Kalush Orchestra the highest odds.

Here are there latest odds for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022:

  • Ukraine: Kalush Orchestra, “Stefania” – 1/3
  • Sweden: Cornelia Jakobs, “Hold Me Closer” – 6/1
  • United Kingdom: Sam Ryder, “Space Man” – 6/1
  • Italy: Mahmood and Blanco, “Brividi” – 12/1
  • Spain: Chanel, “SloMo” – 12/1
  • Greece: Amanda Tenfjord, “Die Together” – 40/1
  • Poland: Ochman, “River” – 40/1
  • Netherlands: S10, “De Diepte” – 50/1
  • Norway: Subwoolfer, “Give That Wolf a Banana” – 50/1
  • Finland: The Rasmus, “Jezebel “ - 80/1