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Ukraine favorite to win Eurovision Song Contest amid war

TURIN, Italy — Against the backdrop of a war in Europe, the hugely popular Eurovision Song Contest reaches its flamboyant climax Saturday night as 25 bands perform in front of a live audience in the northern Italian city of Turin, while millions more watch on television around the world.

The Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra is heavily tipped to win by bookmakers, which are giving the group that mixes traditional Ukrainian rhythms, costumes and dance moves with contemporary hip hop a 60% chance of winning.

Their song, “Stefania,’’ was written as a tribute to the frontman’s mother, but has transformed since Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24 into an anthem to the war-ravaged nation, as lyrics take on new meaning. “I’ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed,” Kalush Orchestra frontman Oleh Psiuk wrote.

The six-member, all-male band received special permission to leave the country to

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