Jerry Heil among qualifiers to reach final as Vidbir 2020 kicks off in Ukraine

After last year’s controversial withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest, Ukraine are back in the fold having kicked off Vidbir tonight, to see who will go where Maruv couldn’t and represent the Eastern European nation.

Eight acts performed this evening with a further eight due to do the same next week. From the two weeks semi finals. three will progress each week,  and the final will be held in Kyiv on February 22nd.

The Host and Judges

The show was hosted by Serhiy Prytula. Serhiy was born in Zbarazh in 1981. Like several presenters this year, Serhiy was a comedian before becoming a TV presenter. Prior to Vidbir he was the host of the talent show ‘Ukraine Does Not Believe In Tears’.

Making another appearance as a judge was Andriy Danylko, the comedian and singer who represented Ukraine in 2007 as the drag artist Verka Serduchka finishing in second place.

Tina Karol, who has experience in judging The Voice Ukraine has become a very successful singer in her home land. Tina represented Ukrina in 2006 with Show Me Your Love.

The final judge was Vitaliy Drozdov who is the general producer of TAVR Media Radio Holding.

Their votes and those of the public were combined to find tonight’s winning entries.

The Songs

] – Tam, kudy ya ydu

Starting proceedings tonight was an ethnic dance song with lead vocals from Olha Chernyshova. Despite the over complicated band name and song title, this was an energetic and song with brass instrumental breaks, and a performance to suit. Olha is joined by her two bandmates in yellow who interact well with her and dance as they play a trumpet and melodica. A great start to the competitive part of the show tonight and a promise of things to come.

Jerry Heil – Vegan

Well this is not subtle at all, the song title is said more than a few times throughout the song, Jerry emerges from a massive fridge and demands the stage with her eccentric performance and whacky dress sense. Joined by equally interesting backing dancers. This really wouldn’t be out of place in a 90s alternative MTV TV show, and while I appreciate it I feel it is just far too niche to go far in the competition.

Katya Chilly – Pich

Katya is a folk singer who has been working in Ukraine and across Europe for over 20 years, and you can tell she is a seasoned performer because of that experience. Starting the performance, the entire studio is in silence, we can hear what I can only determine is white noise , Katya stands in the dark and starts to talk, then her face is lit as she screams for what seems like forever. The song then starts acapella, and then we are treated to the introduction of traditional instruments and then South American influences, its a aural as well as visual treat with psychedelic graphics on the LEDs.

Krutь – 99

A very ethereal performance, it is very folk influenced with the introduction of a Ukrainian harp instrument called a Bandura. After a quiet start, there is a subtle yet monotonous beat that kicks doing very little to make the song more interesting. It is a very static performance, and while her voice is beautifully fragile, I don’t see this winning.

Go-A – Solovey

Well you cant deny this is anything but a Balkan song, traditional flutes, chanting and an ethnic beat. The lead vocalist is strong and it is an interesting mix of modern and traditional. It does have a similar feeling to Poland’s Tulia from last year, yet not as blatantly shouting, although it does get a little frantic near the end. I wouldn’t count this out just yet, but this would be a risk for Ukraine.

Cloudless – Drown Me Down

As what I would described as an eccentric night so far, this entry comes as a bit of familiarity to the ears.  The song is very indie-pop, something we would have heard in the late 2000’s.   It is a solid performance from the boyband, we are treated to a lot of monochrome LED’s and strobe lights. This should qualify with ease.

Gio – Feeling So Lost

A very contemporary ballad, not dissimilar to Lewis Capaldi or Ed Sheeran offerings.Gio is alone on stage while the audience help by using the lights on their phones to light up the studio.  It is simple but effective, this would be something completely different for Ukraine and if they were to send this, even with Duncan Laurance having won last year, this could still do well as comparisons will inevitably be made.

Assol – Save It

The first song of the night that I could actually see at the contest as it currently is.  It is a good pop song with a thumping if not overly loud beat.  Assol is joined on stage with 5 backing singers placed diagonally away from her.  The whole performance is professional and she seems to be at complete ease on stage.

The Results

Jury Public Total Position
[O] 3 2 5 7
Jerry Heil 7 6 13 2=
Katya Chilly 4 3 7 5
Krutь 8 8 16 1
Go-A 6 7 13 2=
Cloudless 5 5 10 4
Gio 2 4 6 6
Assol 1 1 2 8

At the end of tonight’s show, Krutь, Jerry Heil and Go-A have qualified for the final of this year’s Vidbir.

Read more in the news archive

Liked what you've read? Subscribe to our Eurovision news!