Over the past week the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — has been reviewing each of the six finalists in Ukraine’s national selection for Eurovision 2016. Our 16 jurors hail from Australia, Czech Republic, Iceland, Morocco, New Zealand, Russia, Turkey, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States, so we’re totally international.
Tayanna has emerged as our clear favourite with her song “I Love You”, with Melovin finishing quite far behind with “Wonder”.
Below you can see how each act fared with our jury and their average score out of 10. Each juror assessed all the songs independently, and awarded them a score from 0 to 10. Before calculating the Wiwi Jury verdict, we dropped the highest and lowest scores to reduce potential bias and outliers. Click on the song title to read our reviews in full!
1. TAYANNA – “I LOVE YOU” (8.39)
The best: There has been a lot of hype behind Tayanna but I felt the studio version to be quite overrated. However, this came to life in the live performance — goosebumps for three minutes. Vocally and musically, Tayanna annihilates the competition. While there are many songs yet to be revealed, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Tayanna keeping the contest in Kyiv for another year. (Antranig,, 10/10)
The worst: Ukraine wouldn’t be so obvious as to send a song in the style of last year’s Eurovision winner, but they seem to have been greatly inspired by the 2016 runner-up. If you like divas belting out big dramatic songs, you’ll love this. But where “Sound of Silence” had stillness and emotion amid the drama, “I Love You” just goes for the standard Eurovision drama playbook. Tayanna is a talented singer, but “I Love You” feels cynical. (Robyn, 6/10)
2. MELOVIN — “WONDER” (6.54)
The best: I guess this song has everything to stuck in heads after its hypothetical win. Although there is not enough to have a song, you need charisma and staging. I have no doubt that they can make extraordinary staging with different effects. Additionally, Melovin has his own highlights – eye and hair colour(s) — something would make him stand out at Eurovisions. I would like to hear more electronic music and fewer ballad moments. And I’m lacking some power in the chorus. It’s a nice song for representing Ukraine, along with Tayanna’s one. (Stanislav, 8/10)
The worst: Coat from The Matrix, hair dye from the teenage emo kit, pronunciation straight out a Belarusian national final — there’s a lot to think about here. And the more I think about it, the more this feels manufactured and inauthentic. Musically underwhelming and lacking soul, this is a mediocre song dressed up by the LED. Not a fan. (William, 5/10)
3. O.TORVALD – “Time” (6.07)
The best: Well, here’s the good rock. O.Torvald is an established Ukraine rock band and that shows in their slick and confident performance. “Time” is a decent rock song, and takes a number of Eurovision lyrical cliches (time to shine, y’all!) and flips the script. Of all the songs in the Ukraine national final, I’d most like to see this rocking the home crowd in May.(Robyn, 8/10)
The worst: “Time” is a mediocre attempt at Eurovision rock. The lyrics are quite cringeworthy at times and it is difficult to take the song seriously. Musically, it is a sound song, albeit a little safe — the instrumental has to be the best part of the song. We have to consider all aspects of the song and with lyrics like those coupled with the very sombre staging, “Time” is a bit of a mess. (Antranig, 3.5/10)
4. ILLARIA – “THANK YOU FOR MY WAY” (5.46)
The best: It’s simply beautiful. The melody is charming, you can feel the Ukrainian soul in it. All the folky elements are incorporated fantastically. I think it’s flawless. Some might say that it needs some climax, but I don’t think so. This song takes you into the ocean, into the beauty of nature and wants you to feel relaxed. That is why I love it.(Mikhail, 8.5/10)
The worst: You are most welcome for “your way” Illaria. You can also keep your way, because your way is a little bit bland and boring. Did I say “your way” a little bit too often? Whatever. I don´t care. I´m doing this my way. Thank you but no thank you. Next please! (Kristin, 2/10)
5. ROZHDEN – “SATURN” (5.36)
The best: Once upon a time, back in 2001, Piasek represented Poland with his fun-filled “Too Long” — a very misunderstood entry. “Saturn” and Rozhden is like a clone of that in every way. From the beat to Rozhden’s moves, it’s all very Piasek 2.0. Is that bad, you ask? Not really. “Saturn” is fun. It’s carefree and sunny. It’s perfect for dancing and enjoying. I find it impossible to dislike this because I loved “Too Long” far too much. Dance, Rozhden! Dance like it’s 2001! (Kristin, 7.5/10)
The worst: The stage is nice. Now that the compliment is out of the way: seriously: what? It took me far too long to realise this song was actually in English. I listened with and without headphones and it just sounds like drunk slurring. With a better performer — one who could enunciate, for a start — this might be more appealing. It sounds modern enough for a throwback, but in this state, it’s wasted. (Chris, 4/10)
6. SALTO NAZAD — “O, MAMO!” (3.75)
The best: I strangely enjoyed this. Salto doesn’t have a chance actually, but his performance was quite entertaining. Let’s be honest, we’ve heard “O, Mamo!” millions of times before, yet the whole package still comes across as fresh. I praise his balls to do that dance routine on a national selection. He does his thing, and he does it right, and I’m fine with it. (Luis, 6/10)
The worst: The national final staging was instantly reminiscent of “Caroban” and the song was somehow even worse. Vocally, I can’t fault this entry but good vocals are irrelevant when the song is this terrible. While this will undoubtedly have its fans, it doesn’t have widespread appeal and is ultimately extremely boring. It’s a no from me. (Antranig, 0/10)
But what do y’all think? Should Tayanna win tonight’s contest and represent Ukraine at Eurovision 2017? Let us know in the comments section below!