The first two acts are through to the national final in Ukraine. The other finalists will be selected from the two remaining heats which will take place later this month.
Eight acts have competed in the first heat of the Ukrainian semi-finals this evening. There has been a diverse set of songs all competing for a place in the final. Could the two winners of this first heat be good enough to represent Ukraine on home ground at the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest?
SKAI – All My Love For You
Five piece rock band SKAI were the first act to perform in the heat. The song started with a smoke filled stage, lead singer and front man Oleh Sobchuk took to the front of the stage with the rest of the band behind. All My Love For You is a soft rock ballad. Unlike their earlier released version of the song which was sung in Ukrainian, the version sang tonight was sung in English.
Roman Veremeychik & Lumiere – Make It Real
Make It Real is an electro inspired dance song. Roman and the group Lumiere gave an energetic performance in brightly coloured outfits. The song started off slow and then the beat kicked in which brought the song to life. Roman took to the stage in a fuschia pink suit with a black and white polka dot shirt. The electro theme was carried by the use of effects and strobe lights throughout the performance.
Monochromea – Blue Bird
Blue Bird is an indie rock song which has a slight jazz sound to it. The presentation of the song started in black and white, which slowly changed to colour in the bridge. The lead singer of Monochromea stood at the front of the stage with the band behind her. She wore a jean/shirt combo with a beany hat which seemed an odd choice given the style of the song. The vocals were very strong in the performance and the use of lighting along with the mixture of black and white and colour staging was interesting.
Laliko – Sugar Whisper
Sugar Whisper is an electro-swing inspired song. Laliko brought some old fashioned glamour to the show. Laliko took to the stage on her own at the start of the song. The song has a good beat in the chorus where two female dancers/ backing vocalists joined her on the stage. There was good use of strobe lighting and effects throughout the performance which kept it interesting.
Salto Nazad – O Mamo!
O Mamo! was the only song that was not made public prior to the heat. Salto Nazad was the fifth artist to perform. Salto Nazad were accompanied by four female backing singers. O Mamo! was the first song of the evening to be sung in Ukrainian. The stage was brightly lit as lead singer Vanek Klimenko took to the front of the stage. O Mamo! was a mid tempo reggae style song. Vanek was joined on the stage by one of the backing singers at the end of the song, together they displayed some interesting dance moves which matched the style of the song.
MamaRika – We Are One
We Are One is a soft pop song about unity. This could fit in nicely with the Celebrating Diversity theme that Ukraine have chosen for their slogan this year. MamaRika started the song with her back to the audience, singing into the camera. Her style was colourful, almost a punk style with coloured ribbons and dreadlocks in her hair. She was joined on the stage with 4 backing singers. MamaRika filled the stage with her dancing and energy. The coloured theme was continued in the backlighting and the strobe lights.
Tayanna – I Love You
I Love You is a passionate power ballad about love and loss. The song starts off slow and light and quickly builds power in the chorus. Matching the video, Tayanna was dressed completely in red, even down to the nail varnish. The stage lighting matched the red colour theme. Tayanna gave a passionate performance, belting out the chorus and demonstrating some good vocal ability. The song is an evolved version of her song Autumn which was originally sang in Ukrainian. The new version of the song was sung in English and the lyrics have been re-written.
Arsen Mirzoyan – Geraldine
Arsen Mirzoyan was the last performer of the night. Arsen took to the stage with his guitar, his vocals were hoarse which is his signature style. The song had a French theme, during the performance and was sung in French. The song was about Charlie Chaplin and his relationship with his daughter Geraldine.
The first heat of the Ukrainian semi final was broadcast from the Palace of Sports in Kyiv. Serhiy Pritula hosted the event, and will host all of the events in this years selection. There was a change to the expert jury panel this year, 2004 winner Ruslana was replaced by the current winner Jamala.The rest of the expert jury consisted of 2007 runner up Andriy Danylko (Verka Serduchka) and producer Konstantin Meladze. The acts selected to progress to the final were chosen by a 50/50 voting system. Half of the votes were given by the general public and the other half from the expert jury.
Ukraine have followed on from last year by having other Eurovision competitors as the interval acts for their heats. NaviBand from Belarus performed tonight. NaviBand will be representing their respective country at Eurovision this year. NaviBand performed Jamala’s winning Eurovision song 1944 in Belarusian, along with their Eurovision entry for this year. Tako Chachechiladze from Georgia was the next interval act to perform. She performed Keep The Faith which is the song that she will be competing in Eurovision with this year.
The acts selected to progress to the final were chosen by a 50/50 voting system. Half of the votes were given by the general public and the other half from the expert jury.
The jury vote was the first to be announced. The two acts with the highest jury vote were Salto Nazad (1st) and Tayanna (2nd)..
The viewers vote was then announced, the two acts with the highest jury vote were Tayanna (1st) and Arsen Mirzoyan.This means that Tayanna and Salto Nazad were tonight’s winners overall
Tayanna and Salto Nazad are the first artists through to the final which will take place on 25th February 2017.
Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest
Since making their debut in 2003, Ukraine has had an excellent reputation at Eurovision. They have never failed to qualify for the Grand Final and have had a total of 9 top 10 placements. 6 of these also being in the top 5.
Ukraine has won the contest twice. Ruslana was the first artist to bring the Eurovision crown to Ukraine in 2004 with her song Wild Dances. Jamala won the contest last year with her song 1944 when the competition came to Stockholm. Jamala came 2nd in both the jury and the public vote, but came in first place overall.
You can see Jamala, the current winner of the Eurovision Song Contest and her song 1944 below.