The two-week Eurovision extravaganza is over. Some 20,000 foreigners came to Kyiv during the contest; 64,000 people attended the nine shows at the International Exhibition Center. Many more fans joined the frenzy.The city was buzzing with music and light shows, festivals and May moods.
While some doubted the country’s ability to host the $32 million event, Ukraine did a great job. Just like the Euro 2012 football championships, Ukraine can host an international event and show tourists a great time.
Nobody even missed Russia, which disqualified itself by choosing singer Yulia Samoylova, who deliberately broke Ukrainian law by performing in the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula, seized in 2014.
It helped that so many of the 26 finalists were very talented and gave splendid performances. The Eurovision stage did not see international superstars like Justin Timberlake, who performed at Eurovision 2016, but Ukraine offered its own great homegrown music. Pop singer Monatik, electronic pop band Onuka and Eurovision winners of 2004 and 2016, Ruslana and Jamala, respectively, filled the gap splendidly. The video of Monatik’s first semi-final performance gained more than 1 million YouTube views, while Onuka surged on European music charts.
Kyiv’s Eurovision also saw a marriage proposal received by Macedonian contestant Jana Burceska and Portugal’s first victory in its 52-year history of Eurovision participation. Some will remember the show for the mooning Ukrainian prankster Vitaliy Sediuk, who jumped on stage during Jamala’s performance. But, in truth, nothing spoiled this great show. Not only did Salvador Sobral win for Portugal, all of Ukraine won. Molodets!