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Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm, winner Jamala from Ukraine, Copyright: Getty Images/M. Campanella
Image: Getty Images/M. Campanella

Ukraine wins the Eurovision Song Contest

Rick Fulker
May 15, 2016

After a suspenseful round of voting in Stockholm, Jamala's "1944" was the clear favorite. The song had provoked controversy at the supposedly apolitical event. Australia came second, followed by Russia.

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534 points were awarded to singer Jamala, giving a clear victory to her song decrying war, persecution and ethnic cleansing.

Second place went to Australia. It had been the national juries' favorite but was knocked off the top position when the audience votes came in. Nonetheless, a respectable 511 points went to that country and to Dami Im's "Sound of Silence."

Third place, with 491 points, went to Russia and to the country's elaborately produced entry "You Are the Only One," sung by Sergey Lazarov.

Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm Sergey Lazarev Russland
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/B. Pedersen

Bulgaria and Sweden followed in fourth and fifth places, respectively.

The last place went to Germany, whose song "Ghost," rendered by Jamie-Lee Kriewitz, earned only 11 points. The other four countries in the bottom five were the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Croatia and Spain.

In the voting system introduced at the Eurovision Song Contest this year, the jury votes were first announced country-by-country. That was followed by the announcement of the television audience vote, revealed in order of succession from the lowest number of points to the highest.

Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm Dami Im Australien
Image: picture-alliance/IBL/K. Törnblom

During the jury voting round, Australia had emerged as the favorite with a seemingly unbeatable margin. In the subsequent popular vote, the table favorites gyrated wildly, keeping the result suspenseful until the very end.

After winning the contest and before singing her song again, a visibly elated Jamala said, "I really love peace and love to everyone!"

Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm Jamie-Lee Finale
A clearly elated winner: JamalaImage: picture-alliance/dpa/B. Pedersen

After the songs and before the announcement of the winners, show hosts Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede had asked the rhetorical question: "Is there a formula for winning the Eurovision Song Contest?" That was followed by a hilarious recapitulation of the tried-and-true tactics: a dramatic beginning, a chorus, sexy male drummers, ethnic folk instruments and the like.

The show's winning country, Ukraine, demonstrated that another quality tipped the balance this time: lyrics, coupled with a strong vocal quality and an authentic story.

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