In honour of Ukraine’s (eventual) selection of the host city for Eurovision 2017 (congratulations Kyiv!), I have selected my top 5 favourite Ukranian Eurovision entries over the years.
Only as I researched did I realise that amazingly, Ukraine has only been entering songs for The Eurovision Song Contest since 2003. More surprising is the quality of the songs and performances that have been entered! Looking back at the videos on YouTube I was genuinely impressed! (And disappointed in myself for forgetting some of the most unforgettable songs, staging and performances in Eurovision history!!!). There are some…erm…interesting entries but here are my five favourites! Let me know whether you agree. I have notoriously bad taste in music so don’t be offended if your favourite isn’t amongst them.
Despite its top finish and obvious popularity I have chosen not to select Ukraine’s winning 2016 song, 1944 by Jamala. Mostly because I just really don’t like it!
5. Tina Karol – Show Me Your Love (2006)
Show Me Your Love was the Ukrainian entry for The Eurovision Song Contest, Athens in 2006. It was composed by Mikhail Nekrasov and Karol herself, with lyrics by Pavlo Shyklo. It placed a disappointing 7th in the final but seriously; with that dress, those boots and that beat how it didn’t do better, I’ll never know!
4. Mariya Yaremchuk – Tick Tock (2014)
If you’re a fan of Love, Love, Peace, Peace performed by Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw at the interval of Eurovision 2016 in Stockholm, you’ll have noticed the small nod to this song and its unique staging! ‘..And a man in a hamster wheel!’
The song itself had mixed reviews initially but after some work the final version was dark, brooding with interesting staging. It only finished 6th in the final of Eurovision 2014 in Denmark. In defence of the song, it was up against some strong competition that year with the likes of Conchita Wurst’s Rise Like A Phoenix and The Common Linnet’s Calm After The Storm.
3. Ruslana – Wild Dances (2004)
Despite coming an almost credible 14th with their first entry to The Eurovision Song Contest in 2003, Hasta La Vista it seemed that Ukraine quickly learned what worked well for the European audience. Namely leather and a tune inspired by ethnic traditions. The Xena Warrior Princess inspired costumes helped too. Their 2004 song, ‘Wild Dances’, composed and written by Ruslana Lyzchicko and Oleksandr Ksenofontov, caught the imagination of Europe. It was only Ukraine’s second entry to Eurovision but it was their 1st win!
2. Zlata Ognevich – Gravity (2013)
Gravity, written by Mikhail Nekrasov and Karen Kavaleryan, was performed at Eurovision 2013 in Malmö, Sweden by Zlata Ognevich. The initial fairy-tale staging and soft pop beats come together to provide an engaging and beautiful Eurovision song. Its third place finish, behind Denmark’s winning song Only Teardrops performed by Emmelie de Forest and the second place Hold Me by Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov, was a commendable position.
1. Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai (2007)
Speak to any self-respecting Eurovision fan and they will remember the performance of Verka Serduchka at The Eurovision Song Contest 2007 in Helsinki. The unique performance and catchy song struck a chord with the Eurovision audience. I remember this tune being played in a club in the UK the following weekend (which almost never happens with Eurovision songs in the UK…our own entries don’t even get that sort of attention!) and it still remains one of my favourite Eurovision songs of all time. Sadly, Serduchka finished in second place behind Serbia’s undeserving Molitva performed by Marija Šerifović.
Ukraine has entered The Eurovision Song Contest thirteen times, they have finished in the top 5 six times and have had two first place finishes. Political troubles have meant their entries often border on ‘political’ but one thing is definitely true, their songs are competitive. Some countries, like my very own UK, could learn some very important lessons from this relatively new country to The Eurovision Song Contest. Here’s hoping that Ukraine can continue their Eurovision successes. Fingers crossed for 2017!!!
Featured Image Citation
Ukraine’s Jamala wins 2016 Eurovision. Digital Image. NST Online, 15 May 2016. Web. 18 Sept 2016. AP Photo. http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/05/145648/ukraines-jamala-wins-2016-eurovision