Ukraine have selected Crimean Tatar singer Jamala as their representative for 2016. Her song ‘1944’ tells the story of the Crimean people (including her Great-grandmother) who were displaced from their homes by Soviet military forces during the Second World War.
The song has courted controversy as parallels in the lyrics can be drawn between the actions of Stalin at the time and recent actions of current Russian President Vladimir Putin who has annexed parts of Crimea in 2014. Politically motivated references in songs in something that is forbidden in the Eurovision rules. A decision as to whether the song breaches these Eurovision rules will be made by EBU (European Broadcasting Union) in March.
Jamala competed in the Ukrainian national final on Sunday night against five other songs that qualified from the preceding semi finals held on Saturday evening for the past two weeks. The votes came from a 50/50 split between the public and a panel of expert jurors made up of ex-Ukrainian Eurovision representatives including Verka Serduchka and Ruslana.
Following the results Jamala was tied with band the Hardkiss who each had 11 points. Jamala however triumphed as she had a larger percentage of the public vote (38%).
Performances on the night also came from Ireland’s 2016 Eurovision entry Nicky Byrne who performed his Eurovision song ‘Sunlight’.
Have Ukraine made the right decision? Can Jamala’s song be interpreted as political? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!