For a newcomer with only 9 entries to its name, Ukraine have quickly established themselves as Eurovision heavyweights. They won with their second entry, as the wonderful Ruslana took a slim victory in Istanbul. Since then they have racked up two second-place finishes and a total ot 6 top 10 finishes. Not too shabby! If anything they usually have something interesting up their sleeve, whether it’s gyroscopic bondage kit (2009), sand art (2011 – it was better than it sounds) or dazzling light-boxes (a marvellous 2008).
This year, the former Soviet state have opted for something a little more straight-forward, a slice of uplifting 90s dance. It sounds pretty much like a throwback summer hit from the mid-90s, in all the right ways. A vaguely new-agey tribal ‘na na na’ chant, some ethnic-sounding horns, and a stylish frontwoman.
If you are a purist who lives in the past, insisting that this is “a songwriting contest”, then I’m sure you’ll be left wanting. Lyrically there’s not much of a song at all, aside from a very accommodating theme to be her guest. A lot.
OK there’s not much else to it, it’s a fun dance song, and I’m sure Ukraine will make the staging look as flamboyant as it feels like it should be, but it’s just a little lacking for me. The countries previous entries may have been a little lost in translation at times, but they’ve been apart from their rivals, something I’m not sure this is. Perhaps its time as queen of the ex-Soviet bloc is drawing to an end, but we’ll see. I can see this qualifying as usual, after all Ukraine have yet to miss a final. But I hope they earn it with a great performance
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