Taking time to find: Ukraine broadcaster STB reveals details of 2018 national final

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They were the hosts of Eurovision 2017, but can now kick back and relax as they plan their entry for 2018. Ukraine broadcaster STB has today confirmed the details of the national final that will select Ukraine’s act for Lisbon.

The show will largely follow the same format as the 2017 national final. There will be two semi-finals and one final from which the winner will be selected. The semi-finals will be held on 10 and 17 February, while the grand final will be held on 24 February.

Applications for the contest have opened today. Interested acts will have a long time to work on their submissions — entries won’t close until 15 January 2018, in more than three months time.

And just like last year, the contest will be held in partnership with national broadcaster UA:First and commercial broadcaster STB. The collaboration with the commercial broadcaster ensures that the national final gets the largest possible audience and a slick production.

This year the show’s musical producer will be the composer Ruslan Kvinta. He replaces Konstantin Meladze who has left to work on new musical projects. He will be joined by further members of the expert jury, but at this stage the broadcasters says those names are “secret”.

Kvinta is enthusiastic about his involvement in the contest. He told STB, “Ukrainian melody is the most beautiful in the world. I really like it when artists combine folk instruments and modern arrangements in their music, when interesting collaborations are created when the repertoire is saturated with our culture.”

This give hints that Ukraine may be another country who is taking inspiration from Salvador Sobral’s win and backing away from “fast food music”.

There’s no indication that the broadcaster will again use an online wildcard. The controversial wildcard system in 2017 was troubled by allegations of vote rigging.

Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest

Ukraine regularly uses a national final to select its acts for Eurovision, but in recent years the shows have both ended in a thrilling tiebreak.

In 2016, Jamala’s emotional “1944” won the competition on a tiebreak, after originally coming first equal with rockers The Hardkiss. Jamala went on to win Eurovision 2016 and give Ukraine their second ESC victory.

Earlier this year rock band O.Torvald were tied with Tayanna’s “I Love You”. Just like Jamala, O.Torvald were the televote favourite, which gave them the edge and ensured they’d be on the bus to Kyiv in May.

O.Torvald’s home country popularity did not translate to Europe. Their song “Time” placed only 24th in the grand final.

What do you think? Who would you like to see in the Ukraine national final? Who can get a third victory? Share your thoughts below!

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