Ukrainian singer Jamala's melancholic tune about Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's 1944 deportation of the Crimean Tatars was crowned the winner of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest early Sunday, an unusual choice for the kitschy pop fest.
Susana Jamaladinova, a 32-year-old trained opera singer who uses the stage name Jamala, received the highest score of 534 points for her song "1944," after votes from juries and TV viewers across Europe were tallied following performances Saturday night by the 26 finalists at Stockholm's Globe Arena.
Australia's Dami Im was second with 511 points, followed by Russia's Sergey Lazarev in third with 491.
The show was broadcast live in Europe, China, Kazakhstan, Australia, New Zealand and, for the first time, the United States. Last year's contest reached nearly 200 million viewers globally.
Amid entries about love and desire, Jamala's song stood out. With somber lyrics it recalls how Crimean Tatars, including her great-grandmother, were deported in 1944 by Soviet authorities during World War II. Many died during the deportations or starved to death on the barren steppes of central Asia. Decades later some of the survivors were allowed to return to the Crimean Peninsula.