Ukraine once again decided to hold a National Selection to determine their artist for the Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Lisbon in May 2018. The National Television Company of Ukraine (NTU) in collaboration with STB sent out invites for those who wanted to participate in Vidbir 2018. From this, 18 songs were selected to compete in two Semi Finals and one National Final.
Returning to host Vidbir this year was Serhiy Prytula, with returning judges Jamala and Andriy Danylko also known as Verka Serduchka, along with Yevhen Filatov from last years Eurovision Grand Final interval act Onuka. It’s always a joy for me watching the show to understand the Ukrainian between the Russian with is a bit more of an effort.
Semi Final 1 was held on the 10th of Feburary featuring:
- Constantine – “Misto”
- Serhiy Babkin – “Kriz tvoyi ochi”
- Laud – “Waiting” (1) 16 Points
- Kazka – “Dyva”
- The VYO – “Ng-a, Ng-a”
- Kozak System – “Mamai”
- Vilna – “Forest Song” (3) 12 Points
- Pur:Pur – “Fire”
- The Erised – “Heroes” (2) 13 Points
Featured in the interval act was 2018 Czech Eurovision entrant Mikolas Josef performing the Czech entry “Lie to Me”.
Semi Final 2 was held on the 17th of Feburary featuring:
- Ingret – “Save My Planet”
- Melovin – “Under the Ladder” (1) 17 Points
- Julinoza – “Hto ya”
- Tayanna – “Lelya” (2) 16 Points
- Kadnay – “Beat of the Universe” (3) 15 Points
- Yurcash – “Stop Killing Love”
- Mountain Breeze – “I see You”
- Illaria – “Syla”
- Dilemma – “Na Party”
Featured in the interval act was 2018 French Eurovision entrant Madame Monsieur will perform the 2018 French entry “Mercy”
The National Final was held on the 24th of February featuring:
- Kadnay – “Beat of the Universe” (3) 8 Points
A rock ballad that come in third in the 2nd Semi Final that has a little something more than last years winner O.Torvald. A very catchy melody at times, with room for improvement.
- Tayanna – “Lelya” (2) 10 Points
A very energetic performance and an outstanding voice with a song based on the theme of an ancient Ukrainian Goddess of Love, hence the interesting costumes. Originally Tayanna wore a similar outfit in the Semi Final, but after feedback decided to wear something a bit more formal. After the performance, Judge Andriy thought that Tayanna was lip syncing her performance because of the dance moves. Tayanna stated that she has been singing since she was 15 and has always been about to control her voice to the song. This resulted in an uncomfortable confrontation with Tayanna’s manager approaching the stage. This may have cost her votes because of this. Tayanna did win the jury vote with her performance.
- The Erised – “Heroes” (6) 3 Points
I just love the way how people sing through their noses and just have to accentuate their breath just to make a song sound dramatic. She does have a good voice and provides a decent performance, but this song just would not have the chance to be strong contender.
- Laud – “Waiting” (4) 6 Points
Slow ballad with a Guy Sebastian type voice complete with back-up singers. It can be a little difficult to be able to understand the words at times, but as I said it is a slow ballad. Not exactly my favourite.
- Vilna – “Forest Song” (5) 4 Points
I did love the creativity of this song, even though it was very hard to understand was she was singing at times. Taking on the theme of ancient Ukrainian mythology which is very much ingrained in aspects of Ukrainian culture, hence the drumming goats.
- Melovin – “Under the Ladder” (1) 11 Points
This was the televote favourite in the Semi Final and for the National Final. A great performance in which we know that he should hopefully be able to improve vocally with his pronunciation of the words. A fantastic stage performance with the piano on a ladder, how on earth they got it up there is a great question, but if this replicated in Lisbon, it will make for a great performance and hopefully change Ukraine’s chances with male performers which hasn’t exactly been great ever since they first competed in 2003. Melovin won the televote with enough votes to put him through as the winner of Vidbir 2018.
Featured in the interval act was Jamala with her song “ Wings” (“Крила”).
I wish Ukraine well in Lisbon and hope that they are able to maintain a great record of qualifying to the Grand Final.
This is an article I wrote for the National Selection Reviews 2018 for OGAE Rest of World.