We’re not out of the 30s yet and we come upon the third of the six automatic qualifiers for the final – it’s this year’s hosts, Ukraine. After their first absence in 2015 (due to the civil war in the east of Ukraine), they came storming back last year, with Jamala securing a clear but nail-biting victory over Australia and Russia. Two wins in just 13 appearances, plus two runners-up positions and a third place in that time mean Ukraine are always a Eurovision force to be reckoned with. Can they go for a double win?
The winner of Ukraine’s national final is a well-established rock band, and their host nation status means that the only rock song in the contest will be there in the final. While they are a rock band the lyrics of their song are much more in keeping with Eurovision e.g. “It’s time to shine” etc. It hasn’t set the Eurofandom alight which given that it is a rock song isn’t surprising (Georgia and Montenegro last year came low in this countdown, but Georgia in particular did much better in the actual contest) but I don’t think we’ll be staying in Ukraine next year.
That said, I can’t envisage this coming last either. Staging will I am sure be impressive for this song – Ukraine always do great staging and the national final suggests they have some ideas of where they might go for the Eurovision performance. Their live performance also comes through strongly – their long experience of playing live helps them get a crowd going and with home advantage that will play to their strengths. They should still achieve a respectable result with this I would think, even if it doesn’t get me excited!
Mum’s reaction: “A bit weird, wasn’t it?”
National final performance:
Live at London Eurovision Preview Party:
Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest:
First entered: 2003
Appearances (excluding this year): 13
Best result: Winner 2004 and 2016
Last year’s result: Winner