This year is going to be out of the ordinary. Ukraine is being attacked by Russia since 22nd February, there are millions of refugees, cities and villages are being destroyed and people killed. It’s like a miracle that the Ukrainians are still willing to participate in this year’s ESC. On the one hand it would be an argument to stay away from a music contest, while the country suffers from war, but on the other hand it shows the strong will to survive. It’s another sign to show everybody – we won’t let ourselves down.
When looking at the bets, Ukraine is leading the board by far. This will also show the respect and acknowledgement by the other nations taking part. It will even get more attention and media awareness if a country, which is in war, has won the Eurovision Song Contest. The international juries and televoters will show their solidarity for sure.
The national final Vidbir took place in early February. The declared winner was Alina Pash with “Tini Zabutykh Predkiv” which means ‘Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors”. Due to the fact there were unsettled questions regarding Alina’s travel to Crimea, she announced her withdrawal later on. Instead the band Kalush Orchestra, which was on second place had to chance to take the opportunity.
The band Kalush Orchestra is an offshoot of the original band, which is just named Kalush, like the Ukrainian city Kalush (Western Ukraine). Kalush is more focussed on Rap, while Kalush Orchestra also includes traditional Ukrainian instruments. The band has been founded in 2017 and consists of Oleh Psiuk (lead singer), Ihor Didenchuk, Danyil Chernov, Vitalii Duzhyk and Tymofii Muzychuk. The first music video “Не маринуй” has been released in 2019. Ihor has already gained ESC experiences, he was part of the group Go_A last year in Rotterdam.
The song “Stefania” is a rap song with folkloristic music elements, which are famous in the Carpathian Mountains and it is a tribute of Oleh’s mother:
Lully-lully-lullaby Mother Stephania Stephania mother The field is blooming, but her hair is getting grey Mother, sing me the lullaby I want to hear your dear word I‘m not a kid anymore, but she will always treat me like one
With the mentioned advance laurels, Kalush Orchestra will be able to acclaim the third Ukrainian winner in ESC history. There are still some hurdles, will the band members be able to leave the country? In the moment they are all serving their state in this terrible war situation. Let’s cross fingers that they will all stay healthy. And furthermore, it’s unimaginable if the war goes on, that the Ukrainians will have the courage and joy to follow the ESC in May, hence televoting might be not possible. This 66th ESC is different from all previous ones, it will probably be a tribute to Ukraine.
Top 10: 10
Like no other country Ukraine belongs to the most successful countries in recent ESC history. In 2003 Ukraine celebrated its debut and could win two times already. Like no other country, they have always qualified for the Grand Final and there were ten Top10 rankings including two fabulous victories. For Ukraine it’s the 17th participation this year in Turin. Last year the group Go_A was able to reach a great fifth place in the Grand Final.
The debut year was 2003 when “Hasta la vista” by Olexandr reached a 14th rank. Only one year later, the powerful and charismatic singer Ruslana impressed Europe with her “Wild Dances”, she won the ESC immediately with her sweeping energy and great and unique choreography. After that Kyiv hosted the 50th anniversary contest – a wonderful show indeed. In 2016 Jamala was able to repeat another victory for Ukraine. With the very touching and impressive song “1944”, a great Eurovision moment has been created – goose bumps all over Europe.
But there has been a lot criticism those years that the Eastern European countries outdo the established countries as other Western European countries suffering from low rankings and unfair voting. But the new and bigger contests at that time have brought a great enrichment and wonderful songs with a lot of new inspiration which brought a lot more viewers to the contest. So it’s a truly benefit to open the contest to more and more countries. This has paid off a lot. In the short ESC history Ukraine missed out for two times, 2015 due to financial and political reasons and in 2019 Maruk has been withdrawn, she would have brought another great placing for sure.