Despite tough times and an ongoing conflict with Mother Russia, Ukraine has shown us that they can still make some kickass music. These past few years, they have kept us on our toes after we snubbed the original versions of their songs, only to worship them after producers totally reworked them. They regularly transform ugly caterpillars into beautiful butterflies. In honor of all this, let’s take a look back on Ukraine’s recent history at Eurovision.

Ukraine is a relative newcomer to the contest, having débuted in 2003. However, they have quickly become one of the contest’s most respected and successful countries, having picked up a gold, two silvers, and a bronze.

Recent History

2014: Mariya Yaremchuk with “Tick Tock“, 6th place with 113 points

2013: Zlata Ognevich with “Gravity“, 3rd place with 214 points

2012: Gaitana with “Be My Guest“, 15th place with 65 points

2011: Mika Newton with “Angel“, 4th place with 159 points

2010: Alyosha with “Sweet People“, 10th place with 108 points

2009: Svetlana Loboda with “Be My Valentine! (Anti-Crisis Girl)“, 12th place with 76 points

2008: Ani Lorak with “Shady Lady“, 2nd place with 230 points

 

Recent Stats

1. How many sets of “douze points” has Ukraine actually received since 2008?

Nine sets in the Grand Final (Portugal in 2008; Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Slovakia in 2011; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Croatia, and Moldova in 2013), and seventeen in the semi-finals (Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, Portugal, and Turkey in 2008; Belarus in 2011; Belarus in 2012; Belarus, Cyprus, Italy, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, and Slovenia in 2013; Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2014).

2. Who has Ukraine awarded their recent “douze points” to?

In the finals – Russia (2008), Norway (2009), Azerbaijan (2010), Georgia (2011), Azerbaijan (2012), Belarus (2013), and Sweden (2014)

In the semis – Georgia (2008), Azerbaijan (2009), Azerbaijan (2010), Slovakia (2011), Belarus (2012), Belarus (2013), and Armenia (2014)

3. How many Ukrainian acts have received writing credits for their entry (either music, lyrics, or both)?

3 – Mariya Yaremchuk, Gaitana, and Svetlana Loboda

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA-HL-EfUbI

 

Best Scoring Entry:

2008: Ani Lorak with “Shady Lady”, 2nd place with 230 points

After being narrowly and controversially defeated by GreenJolly in 2005, Ani came back with an even better song a few years later. “Shady Lady” oozes sex and mystery, the epitome of Eurovision. In 2007 Ukraine carried out the most successful trolling in Eurovision history with Verka Serduchka. A year later Ani proved that they still make serious music worthy of the victory. Quite a shame that she lost to Dima, to be honest. But hey, second ain’t nothin’ to laugh at!

Most Memorable Lyrics: “No one knows who I am, but I don’t give a damn, gonna set’cha on fire”

So, if I piss you off, you’ll burn me alive? Alright, that’s cool.

Worst Scoring Entry:

2012: Gaitana with “Be My Guest”, 15th place with 65 points

Although Whitney Houston tragically passed away a few months before the contest, she lived on through Congolese-Ukrainian soul singer Gaitana. While fifteenth isn’t anything to be ashamed of (Latvia would kill for a ranking like that), there are a few obvious reasons why she didn’t place as well as her fellow countrywomen. First, the dress. Fashion crime in the purest form. Secondly, the dancers. If your dancer only appears on stage for the last thirty seconds and it looks awkward, you better make sure you have a lot of neighbors and a good song to qualify (or, in Loreen’s case, win). And thirdly, she shouted the entire damn time in unintelligible yet simple English. Gurl, we know you speak five languages fluently (I’m jealous here), but you couldn’t have worked on the pronunciation a bit more? It’s more fun to watch your interviews, because at least we know what you are saying!

Most Memorable Lyrics: “Welcome, girl and boy, take my hand, let’s enjoy” 

This sounds like something Julie Andrews would say. A diva really shouldn’t shout this at a million Azeris.

Honorable Mentions:

There are two other songs from Ukraine that I absolutely adore.

Firstly, “Show Me Your Love”, which Tina Karol performed in Athens. Combining spinning, jump roping, and super cute dancing, Tina rocked her way to seventh place in one of the most fun-loving numbers to date.

Secondly, I must honor who I call the most successful troll in Eurovision history, Verka Serduchka. No joke entry has ever done this well in the contest, but with the awesome mix of nonsense lyrics, monkey dancing, butt-slapping, and a teeny little Mama alongside her during press conferences, Verka took home the silver along with the hearts of Eurovision fans all over the world (except for a few upset people in Andorra).

Here is what Team Wiwi has to say on Ukraine’s recent performances:

Sopon: Ukraine never sets out to win anymore, but they love to entertain! Except for in 2010, where they tried to put us to sleep instead. I still can’t make it through “Sweet People”, it’s just too cheesy and tacky. Speaking of cheesy and tacky, Svetlana Loboda is probably my favorite Ukrainian act from recent years (I’ll forgive her for the cheesiness, as that was actually intended). Just like Tina Karol, Svetlana is a multitasker. She plays drums, pole dances, and does acrobatics all at once! Oh, and she sings too. Shoutout to Mariya as well. Anyone who turns trash into treasure deserves an award. She truly made that number shine.

Robyn: Ukraine always delivers. Every year we can expect a diva with a solid tune and amazing staging. Sometimes I wish they’d mix things up a bit – sending a male singer, maybe a group – but despite the template, it never gets boring. They always bring the wow, whether it’s sand drawing, a man-giant, or a hamster wheel. With Ukraine usually finishing in the top 10, it seems Eurovision is something the country takes seriously and ought to be well proud of.

This isn't Wiwi. But trust me: he's hot.

Zach: Ukraine is my all-time favorite Eurovision country. Out of their 12 entries, I only dislike two of them. And the rest I adore pretty much equally, so picking a favorite proved to be an extremely tough endeavor. However, for me Alyosha really stands out. Her rock influenced song has its own unique place in the Ukrainian Eurovision catalogue, she sang beautifully, and the song had a very important message. That long note at the end was exemplary! For my least favorite, even though it came before 2008, I have to say their debut entry, Hasta La Vista. It’s funny really, the two male singers (VERKA doesn’t count haha) are my two least favorite. But Hasta La Vista takes it die to being cheesy and too “by the numbers” cliche. I LOVE UKRAINE!!

Wiwi: No one does over-the-top better than the Ukrainians. From the muscle-bound, Roman back-up dancers in 2009 to the sand artist in 2011, they look at subtlety and just laugh. From collagen lips (hey Svetlanta Loboda!) to spilling cleavage (hey Gaitain), bigger is definitely better in Kyiv. Even Alyosha, whose song on nuclear fallout left me feeling a bit queasy, managed to win me over with her extra-strength wind machine. Ukraine can do no wrong at Eurovision. All hail!

Angus: Ukraine have in their relatively short history at the concert managed to nail pretty much every genre that ever succeeded at the Contest short of rock. Kiev has sent big ballads, towering disco numbers, dazzling dance and in their best entry ever threw elements of all three into a melting pot that produced ‘Shady Lady’. There’s something six years on that’s still mesmerising about Ani Lorak’s performance on stage in Belgrade. The woman literally didn’t put a foot wrong. It’s also a huge injustice that she lost out to lame Dima Bilan and his lamer ice skater. She was the literal bomb. I also have to give a shoutout to Gaitana. ‘Be My Guest’ was amazing and let-down by whichever moron decided sending it without backing vocalists was a good idea. The only song that never really lit my fire was Mika Newton’s ‘Angel’. Wordy songs tend to flare up poor diction and I felt Ukraine was only saved in 2011 by a fortunate late draw in the running order and the sand artist. Without it Kiev would have nose-dived.

Francheska: Ukraine knows how to pull out all of the stops. Ukraine’s flawless qualification record and 7 top-10 placings since 2004 are trophies to that achievement. The most underrated song of this period, I firmly believe is GreenJolly’s “Razom Nas Bagato”, the political anthem of the Orange Revolution turned mildly less political song for Eurovision. It doesn’t necessarily fit into the standard “Eurovision formula” of pop songs, but it is a wonderful misfit in its context. It’s a clear message for change and political activism while being one of the first rap/hip-hop songs introduced into the Eurovision Song Contest. Yet, few things can anger me more than the atrocity which was Mika Newton’s “Angel”. The original Russian ballad version was beautiful, smart, and a truly special ballad. The Ukrainian national selection process worked well here (and quite frankly Ukraine should use this system again, in my opinion), but when it was “re-mastered” into the less powerful song that it was, I grimaced. Mika Newton has a lovely voice, but the song was ruined like a new haircut during a humid summer day.

Who was your favorite? Your least favorite? Govori nam v kommentarijakh! (Tell us in the comments!)

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JayEm
Guest

1. Shady Lady- Ani lorak (2008)
2. Wild Dances- Ruslana (2004)
3. Sweet People- Alyosha (2010)- I don’t care that people say this is cheesy, I like it and it has a good messaige- not so sure about her costume…

Least favourite: 2005

LEAPerce
Guest
LEAPerce

Oh man, I loved Be My Guest! Ukraine usually do my head in, because it all seems too gimmicky and desperate (ahem 2011), but Gaitana was so fun and exciting. Mariya was brilliant this year as well, I think the wheel was good (again a bit gimmicky), at least she actually interacted with the wheel, unlike Mika/sand artist.

Day one (Marcus)
Guest
Day one (Marcus)

I still don’t get why people didn’t like Be My Guest. It is my favourite Eurovision entry by a long shot with Georgia’s 2007 entry second. My least favourite has to be green jolly 1 – 2012 Be My Guest 2 – 2008 Shady Lady 3 – 2007 Lasha Tumbai 4 – 2004 Wild Dances 5 – 2009 Be My Valentine 6 – 2013 Gravity 7 – Show Me Your Love 8 – 2010 Sweet People 9 – 2014 Tick Tock 10 – 2011 Angel 11 – 2003 Hasta La Vista 12 – 2005 Razon Nas Bahato Most of the… Read more »

Dan RO
Guest
Dan RO

1. Zlata – Gravity
2. Tina Karol – Show me your love
3. Ani Lorak – Shady Lady

P
Guest
P

For me best songs from Ukraine
1. 2008
2. 2013
3. 2014
4. 2011
5. 2006

I hope to see for Ukraine at Eurovision in future years Tetiana Shyrko, Viktoria Petryk,Dasha Medova

Charles
Guest
Charles

As far as I’m concerned over-the-top remains a word that I associate with too much and too desperate, thus too bad … and that means something is probably is wrong with the music, yet audiences are too distracted by the circus or whatever goes on stage that the ears just top working properly. Except for Gravity, the first time ever Ukraine was not afraid to be classy and let the music speak. Everything else was and shall always remain both too desperate and too much … and I’m sorry if both my brain and ears are still functioning while listening… Read more »

Vlatko Horvat
Guest
Vlatko Horvat

1: 2013
2: 2004
3: 2014
4: 2011
5: 2007
6: 2006
7: 2008:
8: 2010
9: 2012
10: 2009
11: 2005
12: 2003

Oostenrijk
Guest
Oostenrijk

I like most of Ukrainian entries, but they also delivered some of the biggest nightmares on Eurovision stage. I mean their 2009 entry was horrific, causing eye and ear cancer at the same time. And their 2011 entry was utterly boring and meaningless.

Katie Wilson
Editor

I LOVE GAITANA! She’s my idol; her music, humanitarian work and nature are fabulous <3

Paige
Guest
Paige

Ukraine is my all time favorite Eurovision country. I only disliked their songs in 2003 & 2005. They also produced my favorite Eurovision song ever… Gravity! They never disappoint in Eurovision and I’m expecting another win from them shortly!

My rankings –

1. Gravity – Zlata Ognevich
2. Ruslana – Wild Dances
3. Mariya Yaremchuk – Tick Tock
4. Ani Lorak – Shady Lady
5. Tina Karol – Show Me Your Love
6. Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai
7. Mika Newton – Angel
8. Alyosha – Sweet People
9. Gaitana – Be My Guest
10. Oleksandr Ponomaryov – Hasta La Vista
11. GreenJolly – Razom nas bahato

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

My faves are:
2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Thiefo
Guest
Thiefo

I love Ukraine! Their entries never fail to disappoint me! Even this year when I thought I wouldn’t like Tick Tock that much, it ended up being one of my top favourites once again. I think my favourite so far is Svetlana, her performance had everything, and it was definitely OTT but that’s exactly the appeal of it, I loved it. But I also love Mariya, Ani and Mika. I also loved Gaitana, she was one of my favourites in 2012, BUT! up to this day I still wanted Max Barskih to represent Ukraine that year, I so regret he… Read more »

Darren
Guest
Darren

Sweden is my favorite Eurovision country though, I like their songs every year, without fail.

Henrik
Guest

Ruslana, Ani, Alyosha, Tina and Zlata. Not in that order maybe. And Verka was great too but not a favorite. The rest and in particular this year… meh… Ukraine is not my favorite country, but I’m apperently alone in this.

Darren
Guest
Darren

I liked the Ukrainian entries in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2013
But with Ukraine, I either really love their entries or I really hate them (I hated the Ukrainian songs of 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014)

Leon
Guest
Leon

Ukraine > Russia in Eurovision. I think almost always, except for 2012 and 2013, Ukrainian entries have been in my top 10.

ESCaddict
Guest
ESCaddict

Ukraine have entered many of my favourite ESC songs. It is hard to rank them but I put Gaitana’s Be My Guest on top. Zlata’s Gravity comes a close second. In third place comes Mika’s Angel. Brilliant songs I still get excited hearing today. (In fact I played Gaitana a few hours ago)

Hmayak
Guest

Mika Newton’s Angel is my favourate but Ukrainian entries are always so good , so sweet that I can’t decide among them . Maria was also outstanding with her Tick-Tock . Ukraine is pride for ESC Fans all over the world . So , let’s wait for another good song from this country . Greeings and hugs from ARMENIA .

SpirK
Guest
SpirK

Well Ukraine is a big success in Eurovision. This year I seriously believed that with the first version of Tick-Tock they would experience their first disqualification. But they totally revamped this song and I was sure for it’s top ten placing. As for Ukraine in the past years, I believe my favorite entry is Mika Newton’s Angel. I really love this ballad and the way it was presented. Second place for the breathtaking Alyosha and her Sweet People. Third place for the gorgeous Zlata Ognevich and her Gravity. Top 12: 1. Mika Newton-Angel 2. Alyosha- Sweet People 3. Zlata Ognevich-… Read more »

Milorad
Guest
Milorad

I think I’m the only one who doesn’t like “Dancing Lasha Tumbai”.I mean, it is funny, but very overrated IMO 😀 And it def is my least fav Ukrainian entry 🙂
Other than that, I love every Ukrainian entry since Ruslana.I really can’t pick my favourite 🙂

EurovisionAus
Guest

Gaitana I thought was underestimated with performance but the english was a bit poor but generally good for somebody who normally speaks Ukrainian natively. thumbs up to Ukarine and singing in English ( I come from a native English speaking nation)
top 8

1.Ruslana
2. Zlata Ognevich
3. Mika Newton
4. Ani Lorak
5.Alyosha
6.Tina Karol
7. Svetlana Loboda
8. Marija Yaremchuk

Celioski
Guest
Celioski

Wow. It’s a tough choice, I pretty much love all the ukranian entries 🙂

But the ones I enjoy the most are definitely Shady Lady and Be My Guest. I reeeeeally like Loboda but Be my Valentine is not my favorite song from her. But, yet again, I really love Ukraine and all their entries 😀

Lolly
Guest
Lolly

Zlata and Verka are my favourites ofc and my less fave I think is 2012

Calvin
Guest
Calvin

I did love their entry this year, but Ruslana will forever be my favorite, especially given the work that she’s done after winning.