Following a years’ absence from Eurovision, Ukrainian broadcaster NTU broadcast the first of its semi final selection shows last night. Nine songs competed in front of a panel of experts which included Eurovision winning act and political activist Ruslana and ‘Lasha Tumbai’ singer Verka Serducka out of drag.
The two hosts Dmytro Tankovich and Oleksandr Pedan took it in turn to introduce the acts, and despite a no expense spared approach when it came to the set design, strobe lighting and all star judging panel, the show fell flat. This was mainly due to the extended advert breaks which ran for 12 minutes at a time and the very prolonged amount of time given over to the judging panel to deliver their critique. Ruslana in particular, who often seemed caught off guard when asking for her opinion, took what seemed like an eon to deliver what she thought of the acts.
In addition to this, while there is undeniable talent among the competitors in the contest, the songs were all too serious. The Hardkiss, known for their colourful performances, wacky sense of dress and indie pop infectious songs went for a sub par ballad. Similarly Jamala who is known for her up tempo, quirky pop songs decided to sing a ballad about the plight of the Crimean Tartars who were forced to resettle.
Having said this, Jamala was easily the highlight of the night giving an understated but powerful performance with a genuine stirring of emotions with ‘1944’. Following her performance Ruslana could be seen shedding a tear and even gave the Kyrgyz singer a standing ovation. It would appear that the audience agreed with this sentiment as Jamala topped the audience vote and has qualified for the final alongside The Hardkiss and indie boyband Brunettes Shoot Blondes.
The full results are below:
Semi Final 1- 6th February
Brunettes Shoot Blondes “Every Monday”
The Hardkiss “Helpless”
Tonya Matvienko “Tin Whistle”
Anastasia Prikhodko “I Am Free Now”
Vladislav Kurasov “I’m Insane”
Lavika “Hold Me”
Aida Nikolaychuk “Inner Power”
Svetlana Tarabarova “Never Again”
The Ukrainian selection will continue next weekend when the second semi final takes place on the 13th February. See the list of remaining competitors below and vote for the acts you would like to see advance to the final in our poll.
Semi Final 2- 13th February
SunSay- Love Manifest
Viktoria Petrik- Overload
Peaks of Kings- Last Hope
Arkadiy Voityuk- TBC
Pringlez- Easy To Love
Pur:Pur- We Do Change