Ukraine are usually a force to be reckoned with, part of the elite group that have qualified in every semi-final since 2004 (with Bosnia & Herzegovina pulling out, this only leaves Greece, Russia and Romania in that set). I don’t think this year will be any different.
Since their debut in 2003, Ukraine’s ten entries have amassed six top 10 finishes, along with victory in Istanbul when Ruslana won a closely-fought 2004 contest with “Wild Dances”. Their 19th place finish in Kiev the following year was their worst to date, but it wasn’t the start of a trend, Ukraine continues to flourish at Eurovision.
A national final selected Zlata Ognevich to represent Ukraine in Malmö next month (see my review of Evrobachennya). Zlata had attempted to win the Ukranian ticket in 2010 and 2011 and not quite managed it, but blew everyone away with her entry this year. Coming from Arctic Russia, she has an amazing voice, and I think “Gravity” raises the possibility of a second Ukrainian victory in May.
It’s a slightly re-tooled version from the one performed in the national final, and it’s all the better for it. The Lion King-esque chanting has been toned down a bit, and it retains that thrillingly uplifting vocal.
It starts off so gently, and her voice is so pure. When the beat kicks in, it’s got an incredible fresh energy to it. I know I’m gushing a bit, but I forget how good this is until I hear it again. Not sure what a strike of thunder is, aside from rhyming better with wonder than lightning would…
That mindbogglingly expensive video really shows how seriously Ukraine are taking their bid to win, and I’m certainly up for that. I’ll be amazed if it doesn’t at least come in the top 10, and quite likely it’ll be top 5 … but how far can she go?
Read my other 2013 entry reviews and see other Malmö 2013 news on my Malmö hub!