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 11 jurors hail from the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, New Zealand, Morocco, Austria, Russia, Malta and the United States, so we’re totally international.

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.

Jamala has emerged as our favourite with her song “1944”, with the Hardkiss finishing close behind with “Helpless”. But what do y’all think? Should Jamala win tonight’s contest and represent Ukraine at Eurovision 2016? Let us know in the comments section below!

1. JAMALA – “1944” (8.33)

The best: This song is astonishing. I absolutely adore ethnic folk elements in the music and Jamala delivers it amazingly well. When you think that the song is becoming a bit repetitive, Jamala stirs things up with her voice doing incredible vocalization and it is so close to my Siberian soul. Some may argue that the message is too political, but as a Russian, I can say that it is not. The song is about history…we all suffered and still bear the consequences. (Mikhail)

The worst: Anna Trincher touched on social issues, and SLAYED on stage. This doesn’t. “1944” is borderline boring when you’re oblivious to the backstory. Yes, I get it — there’s a powerful narrative at the core of this, however her music isn’t steering it. (Deban)

2. THE HARDKISS — “HELPLESS” (8.17)

The best: Just wow! This song simply blows you away. It is powerful, it has those original notes, it has its own style. I don’t understand the people who judge based on their expectations. Yes, it is different from the other Hardkiss songs, but does it mean it’s bad? Hell NO! This song captures your breath right from the beginning. If you listen to it with good headphones, it takes you into space and beyond. (Mikhail)

The worst: I love the gothic pageantry of the band. Julia is a brilliant singer, with a rich expressive voice, confident in the two languages she’s using here. But the song does nothing for me — it just doesn’t hook me in. But The Hardkiss are a popular band with loads of experience. Regardless of the song, if they did go to Stockholm, I’m sure they’d deliver an unforgettable performance. (Robyn)

3. NUANGELS – “HIGHER” (7.5)

The best: I wasn’t blown away by the studio version but their live performance was incredible. The other five songs are either boring or very serious and as such, “Higher” really stands out. These ladies have an excellent stage presence and I am sure they would own the stage in Stockholm if Ukraine voted for them. (Antranig)

The worst: Oh, the drama! I was starting to worry about the lack of swishy haired lady singers in the final, but here are NuAngels to tick that box. But here’s the thing – I find this song to be unenjoyably full-on, cranked up to 11 the whole way through. But at the same time I respect that this style has a place in Ukraine pop music culture and it’s not without its fans. It’s not my thing, and I think Ukraine can do much better for Stockholm, but it’s not terrible. (Robyn)

4. SUNSAY – “LOVE MANIFEST”

The best: I love this song. I think it’s a combination of funk with modern electronic sounds that really works for me. Every time the song threatens to turn into a tired funk song (pretty much the national genre of my country), the electronica hauls it back into 2016. I love the anthemic feel to the song, like a giant musical hug. I’d be happy to see this in Stockholm. (Robyn)

The worst:  As I turn down the volume dial, “Love Manifest” still manages to sound loud. The production elements here are good, but overall, lacking in cohesion. The “love love love is the only way” refrain grates after a while. Three minutes in, I felt like I was chanting a march song for psychotics. (Deban)

5. PUR:PUR – “WE DO CHANGE” (4.83)

The best: Her voice is like the one of Sirens from Greek mythology. It’s luring you into the claws of a monster with a weirdly shaped basket on its head. Of course, she is not a monster. However, the song doesn’t do the same what the voice does. It is a bit monotonous and not so attractive, but it is nice to listen to. (Mikhail)

The worst: The purpose of using minimalistic productions of this kind is focusing all the attention on the song itself. What happens when the composition isn’t really interesting? That the result is a yawn fest. And that’s partly what happens with Pur:Pur. The song itself is quite pleasant, but I find it hard to differentiate it from the tune of an air freshener advertisement. (Luis)

6. BRUNETTES SHOOT BLONDES — “EVERY MONDAY” (4.11)

The best: Is there any better band name? I’m loving it. Unfortunately I’m not loving the song so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love their style and this kind of music, but it’s a tad monotonous for Eurovision. Plus, they have Jamala and The Hardkiss on the national final, so any competition will be between those two. Ukraine’s national final begins to look like Spain’s National Football League: there are no contenders. And yes, I never expected to make such a comparison in this blog. (Luis)

The worst: After a high quality semi-final, the judges decided to rank the worst song second and gave it a place in the final over the amazing Aida Nikolaychuk and Anastasia Prikhodko. This is likely to appeal to some people but I couldn’t get through the three minutes without falling asleep. They can have one point for an awesome band name. (Antranig)

Ukraine Final Running Order:

  1. Brunettes Shoot Blondes – “Every Monday”
  2. NuAngels – “Higher”
  3. The Hardkiss – “Helpless”
  4. Jamala – “1944”
  5. SunSay – “Love Manifest”
  6. Pur:Pur – “We Do Change”

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Ross
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Ross

1944 is a really bad song… it’s just tuneless wailing to me.

Foxreyna
Guest
Foxreyna

If Anna Trincher participates next year.. WOOOOOO

MGR
Guest
MGR

Disgusting political crap and nothing more.

Norm
Guest
Norm

I don’t get the appeal of 1944, and if it wins it’ll instantly be my least favourite song so far. Helpless and Love Manifest are alright, and the only decent songs in the selection. Ideally, The Hardkiss would win.

Hollandique
Guest
Hollandique

I am still supporting NuAngely 🙂

Leaf
Guest
Leaf

@Thomas
The fact that u think Suus and 1944 are similar is very strange cos even musically “Suus’ sounds like an evil fairy vilain in a Disney production featuring. Bjork and “1944” sounds like a Ukrainian version of a Massive Attack song with some kick ass vocals and raw emotion. So I don’t get it.

Ben Rafter
Guest
Ben Rafter

1944 is an excellent song. But the whole performance is a mess and so is her voice. Shame for a song as good as this.

Peyton
Guest
Peyton

If Jamala doesn’t win I’ll be genuinely shocked. Last time I checked Ukraine loves making an impact at the top of the leaderboard and Jamala is the only act that could do that this year for them

Cassio
Guest
Cassio

“This year’s ESC needs Jamala in it.”

No it doesn’t.

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

“Love Manifest” would be totally okay every other year, but not when there’s Jamala and The Hardkiss.
Half of the chosen songs so far are worse than these three, which indicates the high level of the Ukrainian selection.
Anyway, although I like all three songs, Jamala is still way above the others. Win it, girl!

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I agree with Eugene in wanting Jamala to get the nod but SunSay would be fine, too.
The Hardkiss are a distant third for me but still, that is more of an indication of how strong the Ukranian selection process is this year than anything else.

Criticca
Guest
Criticca

Such a big fan of her 2011 NF entry Smile. Looks like the stars have finally aligned for her to go to ESC and represent Ukraine.

Sparrow
Guest
Sparrow

“This year’s ESC needs Jamala in it.” 1000% yes!

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

Well the long awaited draw is out!!

The producers are giving preference to SUNSAY!!!!!

The Hardkiss sing 3rd, Jamala sings 4th and SunSay sing 5th. There are 6 songs in the final.

If rent-a-crowd is in again for SunSay and the jury are all over SunSay again we could be in for a rehearsed upset, (fix.)

This year’s ESC needs Jamala in it.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

1944 just reminds me of Suus and I can’t see past that, because it feels like it has been done before.