This morning the Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC confirmed that Kalush Orchestra was offered the first refusal to represent them in Turin this May, and despite the contentious days following Vidbir they have accepted. That mean’s that the band and their song “Stefania” will compete in the first half of the first semi-final on May 10th.
Kalush won the candidacy after fellow Vidbir artist and winner Alina Pash withdrew her candidacy following a line of inquiry and investigation surrounding her 2015 trip to Crimea. According to an anonymous source to the broadcaster, it was revealed that Alina may have entered Crimea from Moscow, which is a violation of Ukrainian national law and the Vidbir rules.
As per the Vidbir rules, UA:PBC retains the “right to decide on the appointment of the representative from Ukraine among the other finalists in the competition.” This rule was used in 2019 when Maruv refused to sign the contract following her Vidbir win, and the other artists refusing to accept the offer. Because of this, Ukraine withdrew from the 2019 contest altogether.
Kalush Orchestra took second place in Vidbir, having received 14 out of 16 possible points – the 8 point max from the public, and then 6 points from the jury. Alina Pash won the contest by receiving the maximum 8 points from the jury and 7 points from the public. Therefore, the difference between first and second place was decided by a single point.
One thing is clear though, the Ukranian public preferred Kalush Orchestra and their song “Stefania”. Speaking on the decision the broadcaster stated: “It is important for the broadcaster to maintain the trust of the audience in the song contest, so the Public Broadcaster offers the band that took second place in the final and received the most support from the audience the opportunity to represent Ukraine at Eurovision 2022.”