Jamala wins Eurovision 2016 song contest

Ukraine's victory in Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest has caused wails of complaint from the Kremlin and on Russian media, with mutterings that Russia may boycott next year's contest if, as expected, it is held in Ukraine. Spain, represented by Barei performing “Say Yay!,” finished at 22nd out of 26 finalists, one rank lower than past year when Edurna represented the country in Vienna. The performance (which aired during the US broadcast between a Justin Timberlake interview and a spoof rendition of a flawless Eurovision act) shows the dancers apparently going through traumatic events before they are eventually presented with water to wash their ash-covered faces.

"We saw an incredible number of true admirers of Jamala's talent, supporters of independent Ukraine, allies of the Crimean Tatar people", he said in a Facebook post.

Crimean Tatars also celebrated Jamala's win at Eurovision with a song that sheds light on their horrific deportations to Central Asia under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin but also hints at their recent treatment under Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Telegraph reports that Russian fans have accused Jamala's win of being a political statement in reference to Russia's invasion into Crimea two years ago.

"I think it's a big opportunity for us and at the same time it is a huge responsibility because Europe trusted us", she said. Despite protestations that this broke Eurovision's "no politics" rules, the song was allowed to proceed to the competition.

Ukraine's song, '1944', written and performed by Jamala, is ostensibly about the forcible deportation of Crimean Tatars, which led to thousands of deaths from starvation and disease.

Jamala, born Susana Jamaladinova, is a 32-year-old Osh-born jazz singer who writes music with elements of world music, rhythm and blues, and gospel.

Graham Norton, who provided the commentary for United Kingdom viewers, paid tribute to his predecessor Sir Terry Wogan during the contest, and asked viewers to raise a glass to the late TV host, who died in January (16).

The UK's hopes of a Eurovision Song Contest triumph were dashed as Ukraine was crowned victor of the competition.

Russian officials have complained about the song, The Telegraph reports, but "the Geneva-based organisers decided the song was not in breach of the competition's rules against political speech". Parliamentary culture committee member Maria Kozhevnikova, said Russia's entry had received more public votes than other acts.

Jamala pleaded for "peace and love to everyone", when collecting the trophy ahead of Australia in second place and Russian Federation in third spot. Only those who oppose Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, formerly Ukrainian territory, would be welcome, he added.

This year, Eurovision took on a controversial new voting method that weighed the juries' votes equally with the televoters in a 50/50 split.


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