Ukraine: Tayanna is the Wiwi Jury’s favourite to win Vidbir 2018


18 songs came, six of them reached the final and only one of them will win Vidbir, Ukraine’s national selection for Eurovision 2018. According to our Wiwi Jury rankings, Tayanna should be the winner with “Lelya”. 

Tayanna, who came second during Vidbir 2017 after a draw, will face five other contestants during the final. Mélovin, who finished second in our jury, will be her biggest rival of those five. The final of Vidbir 2018 will start at 19:00 EET (that’s 17:00 GMT and 18:00 CET) and can be followed on both UA:Pershiy and STB. We recommend you to use this live stream on YouTube.

The show will be opened by Kadnay, followed by Tayanna, The Erised, LAUD, Vilna and Mélovin will close the show. After the last performance, there will a break for about an hour in which the Ukrainian public, that makes up 50% of the vote, will be able to cast a vote on their favourites. At 22:25 EET (that’s 20:25 GMT and 21:25 CET), the results show will start.


Tayanna – “Lelya” (8.13)

The best: The studio version of “Lelya” is a bop, and the only song in Vidbir 2018 that I’ve had on repeat since first listen. It’s clever of Tayanna to bring something that can still show off her vocals, but isn’t too reliant on it that there’s a risk of another botched note like last year. The staging in the semi-final however was rather frenetic and for non-Ukrainian speakers a bit confusing. But we know that Ukraine can stage a great Eurovision entry. So, combine this song with Ukraine’s staging team and Tayanna is clearly the country’s best option for the second year in a row. (Jonathan, 9/10)

The worst: “Leyla” is folk-pop on energiser. It is packed with vigour and rapturous energy. The staging is well thought out, and it complements the snazzy choreography. Tayanna is confident, without being cocky and I love her for this. (Deban, 8/10)

Melovin – “Under the Ladder” (7.68)

The best: Melovin wants to go to Eurovision and I am very happy for him to be on that plane to Lisbon. “Under the Ladder” is packed full of energy and young Mel’ puts his substantial experience as a performer to good use. He’s a teen idol in Ukraine and he has the swagger to sell it to an international audience. The only thing — his trademark novelty contact lens makes him look like a 14-year-old boy dressed for Halloween and distracts from the performance. (Robyn, 8.5/10)

The worst: “Under the Ladder” has great potential to be a radio hit, and Melovin has the stage presence and energy to keep the song alive until well past Eurovision. Apart from his disposable contact lens, all this song and performance could improve at this point is the song’s rise and fall. With a pounding chorus that hits early and a somewhat awkward piano slowdown halfway through, the track doesn’t build and peak as naturally as it could. But I admit, I’m being picky! (Raphael, 7/10)

Vilna – “Forest Song” (6.72)

The best: That outlandish ethnic hook is driving me wild! The rest of the song is above average but it’s a bit of a shame because this has the potential to be outstanding and it doesn’t reach those heights. With a revamp, this could be a brilliant song for Ukraine that could get them back to the top ten, if not even higher. But this is definitely not ready for Eurovision in its current state. (Antranig, 7.5/10)

The worst: I was not hugging a tree while reviewing this. Am I doing it right? “Forest Song” is the mandatory ethno entry in Eesti Laul but with bombastic Ukrainian production. Vilna’s voice is powerful and she performs with ease. The song, however, is nothing new and it feels ‘not distinctive enough’ for Ukraine. Sending her would be a bit like their 2011 entry: not a bad song, but it would need something else to uplift it. (Luis, 6/10)

Kadnay – “Beat for the Universe” (6.68)

The best: This is a particularly enjoyable hot mess. “Beat of the Universe” rides on its own within the Ukrainian selection. It’s powerful, striking and deliciously weird. Kadnay fill their entry with tones of energy and strength and it all works so well. It’s totally niche, many people will be put off by this entry, but as a fan of this kind of alternative music, I’m so happy this song has made the final in Ukraine. (Luis, 8/10)

The worst: This song is hard to listen to. It’s got lots of elements and is really modern and cool, but it’s so jarring and messy that on occasions it actually hurts. I want to like it, but I just wish it was simpler and less all-over-the-place. I’m sure the actual beat of the universe is much more soft and calm. (Natalie, 4/10)

Laud – “Waiting” (6.09)

The best: Laud is a confident performer and really sells his song to the camera. He hits all his cues and is Lisbon-ready. The problem is with the song. “Waiting” has an edgy, minimalist sound, but Laud’s diction makes the lyrics harder to understand. We know he’s waiting for something — but what? (Robyn, 7/10)

The worst: Fundamentally, I find Laud’s voice annoying. “Waiting” is a three-minute nasal plateau. It plods on like a bad song on loop to nowhere, and ultimately lacks enough variety to capture my attention. (Deban, 2.5/10)

The Erised – “Heroes” (5.88)

The best: Are we sure this song is called “Heroes”? Because I didn’t hear vocalist Sonya mention it once – not that I understood many of the lyrics due to diction issues. That aside, it’s clear that the group’s time under a UK record label has given them an international sound that would appeal to much of Europe. The song is current and would be a respectful Eurovision entry for Ukraine. Although there may be a slight clash with Switzerland’s Zibbz in terms of style if both managed to pass through their respective semi-finals. (Jonathan, 7.5/10)

The worst:  “Heroes” is a bit too experimental and transcendental for Eurovision. It’s got a languid base that fails to grab you and it just loops over those war drums for three minutes. It’s got a bit too much of drama, and it’s totally lost because of the poor enunciation. Ukraine has better options than this. (Luis, 5/10)

Do you agree with the results of the Wiwi Jury or do you have a different favourite? Let us know in the comments below!

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