Eurovision: Ukraine’s half-Armenian contestant wins “politicized” song contest

Jamala , 2016 Eurovision Song Contest Winner / Photo: Andres Putting (EBU)

Armenia’s Germany-based representative Iveta Mukuchyan finished seventh among 26 participants in last night’s Eurovision song contest final that was won by Ukraine’s half-Armenian singer Jamala who performed a rather politicized song.

In contrast to Mukuchyan’s upbeat LoveWave tune about romantic feelings, Jamala (Susana Jamaladinova), whose father is a Crimean Tatar and mother is an Armenian, sang about Stalin’s 1944 deportation of Tatars from the peninsula that is now a bone of contention between Russia and Ukraine.

Iveta Mukuchyan / Photo: Andres Putting (EBU)
Iveta Mukuchyan / Photo: Andres Putting (EBU)

Organizers of the competition held in Stockholm, Sweden, this year did not, however, find that the 32-year-old Ukrainian contestant’s song contained any political message reflecting Russia’s controversial annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Earlier, the European Broadcasting Union, the alliance of public broadcasters that produces the annual contest, reprimanded Armenia for Mukuchyan’s waving a Karabakh flag during an intermission at the first semifinal on May 10. It said Armenia’s public broadcaster would face “yet-to-be-determined” sanctions and warned that “any further breach of the rules of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest could lead to [Armenia’s] disqualification from this year’s event or any successive editions.”

Mukuchyan, who was named Eurovision’s best-looking female participant in 2016, admittedly staged a fairly memorable performance. The 29-year-old leotard-clad stunner did not repeat the flag-raising during the final. But a plane with the sign “Karabach♥Iveta” was noticed flying over Stockholm’s Globen Arena before the start of Eurovision’s grand finale on Saturday.