Bohlman, Philip V. “Eurovision 2022 in tempore belli: voices of the people, protest, and peace.” OUP blog, June 9 2022.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

This blog entry by Philip V. Bohlman discusses the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. Bohlman begins by discussing how ‘Stefania’, the song entered for the competition by Kalush Orchestra, interacted with greater context of Russia’s impending invasion of Ukraine. He moves on to trace Ukraine’s participation in Eurovision through time, and suggests the ways in which Ukraine has historically resisted Eurovision’s rules against political messaging in songs by entering songs in Ukranian. Non-conventional elements of Eurovision’s 2022 Contest also took the form of Russia’s prohibition of participating in the competition, and coordinating a protest consisting of audiences singing together in the streets of Turin. Bohlman argues that Eurovision’s future is shaping up to be marked by more gravity and ‘seriousness’, marking a rupture with its previous emphasis on show and entertainment. He cites several newer Eurovision song entries (namely Greek, Lithuanian, and Spanish) that merge this ‘new’ Eurovision with its previous tradition, both thematically and musically. To conclude, Bohlman expresses his belief in the continuity of European support for the Ukranian people, and the development of Eurovision’s new, more political and serious, direction.

One striking thing about this blog entry is how it reframes Eurovision as a medium for political expression, and its potential to unite people to advocate for peace. While the blog could discuss the visualisation of peace in Eurovision more explicitly, it does illustrate how Eurovision’s policies themselves changed to allow audiences to protest for peace, as well as artists to enter songs that visualise peaceful futures for their countries by singing about social justice. In discussing the changes seen in Eurovision’s 2022 edition, the blog presents peace as a cause that promotes unity and instigates reform.


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