With a political performance pointed squarely at Russia, Ukraine has won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

It was a nail biter to the end, with a country outside of Europe in the lead for much of the vote counting. While the juries overwhelmingly backed Australia, it was the audience vote that brought gold home for Ukraine Saturday.

Ukraine’s Jamala sang her ballad “1944,” which was partly about Russia’s forceful annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian territory. Jamala, whose real name is Susana Jamaladynova, is a Crimean Tatar, a population that experienced deportation and great devastation under Joseph Stalin during World War II. “1944” references that dark part of history as well and calls for peace.

While Ukraine came in first with 534 points, Russia wasn’t far behind in third place with 491 points. It is believed Ukraine’s performance will deepen the divide between the warring countries.

“I really want peace and love to everyone,” Jamala said after being handed her trophy.

There was a point in the vote counting where the contest looked like it could easily go to Australia’s Dami Im. But Australia, a controversial participant in the European contest, was bumped off the top spot when it came to audience votes. Australia took home 511 points.

This is Australia’s second year competing in the contest and a win would have likely guaranteed a third. Last year Australia’s Guy Sebastian came in fifth with “Tonight Again.”

Watch the incredible performance below:

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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