Earlier this week, Ukraine released the names of its Eurovision 2016 hopefuls. The list included some names familiar to Eurovision fans, including Russia’s Eurovision 2009 representative Anastasia Prikhodko, who is returning to try to represent her country of birth.
News of Anastasia’s bid first surfaced in October, with the singer herself declaring her intentions on Facebook, stating that “my dream is to try my hand at Eurovision again, but under the flag of my native country”. Following the reveal of the semi-finalists, Anastasia has released her song “I Am Free Now”.
“I Am Free Now” – Anatasia Prikhodko
Both the title and the lyrics of “I Am Free Now” suggest the song has a lot to do with Anastasia’s personal struggles throughout the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The singer, who represented Russia in Russia in 2009 with her bilingual song “Mamo”, was the target of a smear campaign on Russian television. After being portrayed as an anti-Russian rebel on a program called “17 Friends of the Junta”, she vowed never to sing in Russia again.
Nevertheless, Anastasia is free now and is serving a powerful, emotional ballad with the potential to extend Ukraine’s excellent record at Eurovision. The song incorporates traditional folk sounds and explodes with a heartfelt chorus. Let there be no doubt: Miss Prikhodko possesses the vocals to deliver an amazing live performance.
“I Am Free Now” pulls on your heartstrings and there are few who can convey emotion through a song quite like her. The song feels personal and significant and Anastasia appears to be ready to join the long line of fierce female divas who have done Ukraine proud.
Anastasia won’t be the only former Eurovision star present at the Ukrainian national final, with Ukraine’s 2004 winner Ruslana and 2007 runner-up Verka Serduchka confirmed as members of the jury panel.
Does “I Am Free Now” have the potential to take Ukraine back to the Top Ten? Or do you want to be free of Anastasia at Eurovision 2016?