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Zelenskyy would have only wanted to thank UK, say Kalush Orchestra ahead of Eurovision final

Kalush Orchestra says that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would only have wanted to say thank you to the British people if he was allowed to speak at the Eurovision Song Contest grand final.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), a group of national public television broadcasters who produce Eurovision, rejected the Ukrainian leader’s message for fear that it would “politicize” the contest.

Tymofii Muzychuk who played the distinctive pipe for the winning 2022 anthem Stephania told PA News Agency: “We think President Zelenskyy wanted to thank the British people and as we can clearly see, Britain has taken this very seriously, the UK.

“I think that it would have been nice to hear him talk.”


The EBU stated that the Ukrainian President had “laudable” intentions, but “regrettably”, his request was in violation of the rules.

It said: “The Eurovision Song Contest, an international entertainment event, is governed by strict principles and rules that have been in place since its founding.”

The contest’s non-political character is one of its cornerstones.

This principle prohibits any political or similar statements to be made as part of a contest.

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister , criticised the EBU’s decision. He said he was disappointed by it, but that there were no plans to request the EBU change its mind.

Labour leader Sir Keir starmer and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke out to support Mr Zelenskyy, who wanted to make a video appearance unannounced and was expected to urge the millions of viewers around the world to continue to back his country’s fight against Russian invaders.

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Meet Ukraine Eurovision hopefuls

Steve Rotheram, the Mayor of Liverpool City Region, has stated that he will meet with both the Ukrainian Ambassador and the Mayor of Lviv who are both present in the city to watch the final to “discuss what we can provide to Mr Zelenskyy to give him a platform”.

Liverpool will host the event this year on behalf of Ukraine. The war-torn country is unable do so.

Kalush Orchestra, who will open this year’s competition with a new version of their hit song Voices Of A New Generation, has been given the task. The Kalush Orchestra hopes that their performance will encourage viewers to “keep supporting their homeland”.

Sky News was able to see a closed-door rehearsal of the powerful and haunting opening they are planning.

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Jedward on Eurovision Lipstick

The song, which mixes rap and Ukrainian folk music, is a powerful reminder of the lives lost during the war as well as the Ukrainian traditions that are under threat.

Oleh Psiuk, frontman of the band, told Sky News, through a translator: “Eurovision gives you a chance to see Ukraine in different ways.

Ukraine is rich with different types of music.

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What to expect at the grand final following a spectacular dress rehearsal

Mae Muller talks about nerves, Liverpool’s warm welcome and her European competition

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Mae Muller’s Eurovision support

Eleven Ukrainian performers will perform at the ceremony, and Ukrainian motifs as well as the Ukrainian identity will be a major theme throughout the evening.

Psiuk admitted that he was “upset”, that Ukraine could not host the match, but he is grateful that Liverpool took over.

“We are very grateful to the UK for accepting the responsibility of hosting the Eurovision in Ukraine… We’re really excited.”

Heart Of Steel by Tvorchi is the hope of Ukraine for this year.

Psiuk is hoping that the electronic duo can make it to “at least the top” of the leaderboard or two consecutive wins.

He says, “We believe that they have an excellent chance of winning.”

“Unfortunately, unfortunately, we haven’t had the opportunity to meet them yet. But we do hope… that we will be able [to] meet with them to advise them from our experience last year.”

The rapper’s message to viewers is simple: Don’t forget Ukraine, keep supporting us.

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Eurovision lovers are also facing disruptions to their travel as a result of a rail strike in an ongoing dispute over wages.

ASLEF members from more than a dozen operators of trains went on strike Friday, affecting those with tickets to the second dress rehearsal. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union will go on strike Saturday, the day of grand final.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged passengers to double-check their route before leaving.

Sky News will cover all of the major news as they happen in Liverpool.


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