As Eurovisions go, it appeared that Australia (yes, we know it’s not in Europe) had it sown up this year. Way out in front with votes from the juries of the participating countries, we were looking at a comprehensive Aussie win.
Though Ukraine was picking up a few 12 points, Australia was more consistent with more 10 points. And red hot favourites Russia – up until this week – were lagging behind.
Then the tele-voting results were announced. Who did WE vote for? The slick, Russian song without a soul or the haunting Ukraine song about a painful moment in history?
That Jamala beat Russia probably says more about Eurovision and Europeans than we care to admit. Her victory, and her speech calling for love and peace for all, is ultimately what we are really about, universal themes which resonate.
I watched the final in a Stockholm square on big screens with hundreds of fans. At the end, I watched as a small group of tearful Ukrainians celebrate, holding their flag high. This meant the world to them.
Just a song contest? Tell that to the Russians.
Main photo: Jamala after winning the finals of
Eurovision 2016, Youtube/Eurovision