Emotionally chilling is one way to describe the first rehearsal of “1944” by Jamala from Ukraine. We were all well aware of her phenomenal vocals when she won the Ukrainian national final several months ago, but in combination with the tasteful and beautiful staging, there’s no stopping Ukraine winning the entire contest this year.

The beginning sees a camera zoom into Jamala, who is accompanied by a triangular geometric shape which appears to be filled with flowing water. As the shape vanishes into thin air, she makes her way downstage where a beautiful graphic grows from under her feet – filling the stage with different hues of yellow and orange.

When Jamala’s voice deepens and strengthens leading into the second verse, lights which appear like prison bars emerge and red geometric shapes grow on the LED floor and walls.

The dramatic bridge into the final chorus is a Eurovision staging stand-out. The entire stage darkens, and on Jamala’s big note, yellow lines draw in towards her before exploding upstage into a big tree, symbolising growth and a new beginning. As far as Eurovision trees go, it’s better than any of the many trees offered in 2015.

A magnificent combination of simple yet complex staging really makes the Ukrainian entry stand out this year. This entry will be incredibly tough to beat in this semi final. We can unanimously agree that Ukraine will absolutely make the final and score incredibly well.

Ukraine: First rehearsal at Eurovision 2016

Jamala’s “1944”: Reviews and Reactions

Read all of our Eurovision rehearsal reviews

Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@Josh: Regarding the last paragraph of your report, I could have told you that before her rehearsal, because I always suspected that she and her stage director would try to bring something to the stage that is tasteful but still keeps the lyrics and the story within the lyrics in mind. She is my #2 for this contest, behind Amir from France and ahead of Francesca from Italy. I’m looking for a top-3 finish from any of these 3.

JustAnOpinion
Guest
JustAnOpinion

Musically speaking, this song stands out and I may not know about music much, but she just mixes a lot of styles successfully. As an artist it’s flawless. But I just find it disturbing that many people just approach this purely based on its theme and message. I may sound a bit harsh but… You don’t see Israel singing about the holocaust, right ? Or the Russians singing about the times when they actually killed each other in the civil war… or the Germans about what they had to endure during WWII… Or the Poles singing about how for quite… Read more »

Charles
Guest
Charles

Jamala oozes the simplicity, the authenticity, the raw emotion that a desperate Russia is unable to even understand that those words mean …

@Dan: Thinking that ESC is supposed to be ONLY a saturday night party to get drunk or on a high with songs screaming joy … is one of the reasons why Eurovision struggled for years to have music credibility. But I suppose you are so into your own Saturday evening that other dimensions in music must irrelevant irrelevant.

OR
Guest
OR

@Oxsana
i understand u totally .. but u shouldn’t make the effort’s to explain the situation in your country … only who live in your country know what really hopped.. its just like almost no one Europe know whats really happen in Israel and blame Israel of every thing+ the media always telling one side of the story. so darling i really dont think you should waste your time to explain. any way he will continue to think the things that he think….. 🙂

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

@OR hardly. it won’t be pleasant experience. we have 3-5 millions of displaced people due to war and annexation of Crimea, they lost their home, job and income and have to survive. how would I answer to dumb question “why Ukrainians now started to work in Poland, if they haven’t at time of Yanukovich?” I can’t stand narrow minded people who fails to see outside of their fence yet feels like they can tell others what they can do and what they can’t. or this one “why your roads is so bad?” “oh dear, because we’re running heavy tanks, btrs… Read more »

Ivan Browdy
Guest
Ivan Browdy

Love her

OR
Guest
OR

@ Oxana @ Brand
i think the two of should meet for a coffee, i’m sure it will be interesting for both of u 🙂

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

@Brand, I can tell you this. our hryvnya is cheap but our food is cheap and our education (for all kids, or smart teens who can pass exams and even get a stipend), medical treatment is free for everyone who needs it. country subsidize low income households to cover utility bills. We still remain a social oriented country where those in need won’t starve to death or die from poor health care. I’m not sure who is working in Poland and why they do it, your salaries are cheap. isn’t you work for Germany and UK while Ukrainians work for… Read more »

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

Interesting that Padraig and Deban didn’t like it at first. Nor did I. I might like it a but more when I see it, but most people will be voting on their own first impression. So I don’t think it’s a winner, but I’m sure it is going to helped by a Björkmann-aided draw if it gets to the final.

Hanner McSinny/Calvin
Guest
Hanner McSinny/Calvin

Seeing the Eurovision world unite today behind my 2nd favorite (after the amazing but doomed San Marino) has been so beautiful and such a joy. I find this musically innovative and the lyrical message that all actions are going to have real, human consequences extremely nuanced and handled perfectly – not to mention, Jamala sings the heck out of it. Now another check has been ticked next to “beautiful visuals,” with every image flooring me, and it seems a lot of people, one after the other.

Brand
Guest
Brand

@oxana First of all, thank you for avoiding offending me personally this time. You are good at improving the things you were warned to avoid. To begin with, Christian Laggard latest statements were saying about reform absence in Ukraine. Plus, your parliament in tense but reelected prime minister, again. Economic indicators of ukrainian incomes is terrifying. We could get 2 or a bit more hryvnas for one zloty, now we can get 6.5. Do you still think your country is able to host eurovision? Why do you need this? Have you travelled to Lviv from Warsaw by a car? Do… Read more »

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

@Brand, then I’ll ask you for the last time. what is relation between “Ukraine can host ESC” and “Yanukovich – god, corrupted government, Ukraine stole your money (why don’t you fill a complain with your police then?), Ukraine have no money to host and no data given to back this statement”? huh? what was that? it’s me who’s crossing the line?

Brand
Guest
Brand

@oxana You cross the line. I haven’t given any negative points on you personally. You are angry, it is even felt with your statements. Stop being evil. It seems that only you are one who is right spreading a blessing truth. You haven’t given any points or data proving your empty but sound comments. Again, do not cross the line. Try to show some respect to others. Didn’t really get your soviet abstract but it is evident you live with it instead. I have nothing to do with any soviet aspect. Plus, any reading european citizen knows who Yanukovych is.… Read more »

power b.
Guest
power b.

Oxana
Sorry love but you’re a c.u.n.t.

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

yes, Russian slave, Ukraine is not ruled by president. Ukraine elect President to serve and to move him off the throne if his dedication to Ukrainian nation is not that good. This is something that you will never experience 🙂 that’s why I call you narrow minded. you don’t know why country have president and what is his duties. he is manager, not God. manager who ‘s getting lots of negative reviews and ultimatums from people, manager who understand that his term can be terminated any time if he’ll try to play God. every nation knows this simple fact about… Read more »

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

I love this entry and wouldn’t mind Ukraine winning. But to be honest I don’t think she will.

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

@Brand
“what made you think I belong to russia” – your Russian mentality. and you just proved it in the following rant. only sick Russian will recall Yanukovich, tell something about corruption when no one mentioned it. only Russian will tell ugly things about Ukraine w/o giving facts to back up their slander. you’re Russian, or simply sovok – homo soveticus. rude, narrow minded, hateful, “show-me-your-underwear” person. there’s no other nation that will closely resemble to all these features, only Russians. nah?

power b.
Guest
power b.

Props to Brand

Brand
Guest
Brand

@oxana First, what made you think I belong to russia? Second, how dare you call an entire nation narrow minded? Third, are you not ruled by the government? Do not answer, take a break. I know all your answers. Here, in Poland, we do not think you as a nation is better than any other. You as well are agressive sometimes thinking that the whole Europe must help you when you get then steal and spent european loans for unknown reasons. Your country is corrupted in minds, you are not free unless your people change themselves, their attitude to life… Read more »

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

Brand,
yes, Shakhtar team had to move from their newly build Donbass Arena (that now is under Russian occupation) and they use Lviv as their home stadium instead. And sometimes they play in Kyiv.
Yanukovich? so what? did he had any magic wand to produce money from air? he ruled the same country with same people and with same economic potential. you’re too politically biased. Ukraine is bot Russia. president is not a God to have deep impact on country potential (unless citizens worship him as a God – it’s not about Ukrainians). you Russian so narrow minded. gosh

David
Guest

Anyway I don’t like the taste Eurovision is becoming more political than I thought. .Remember Armenia in 2015,Georgia 2009..They didn’t work.This will qualify for sure but its in my Top 20-25..

Brand
Guest
Brand

@oxana You are too general in comments. As far as I know Euro 2012 was succesfull in times of Yanukovych presidency. Moreover, even now beautiful new soccer arena in Lviv is standing empty being not explored anymore. However, there were some lines that Donetsk Shachtar uses it as home arena. I do hope it’s true. Frankly spesking, both of us are offtopic for now. We are supposed to talk about music. Neither me nor you must in repetetive manner talk of economy, wars, corruption and so forth. I like Jamala as a person, she is a great singer but her… Read more »

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

@Dan, good point.

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

power b, yes, she’s good 🙂 but there’s also at least 20 acts of different styles, every good for own fan. I’m not her fan, so I just praise her song and accept her victory as deserved if it will happen. Just as for other 20 acts. actually, to speak in numbers. From various sources it appears that countries have spent something like $30-40 millions as an average to host it. Ukraine spends every day at war with Russia $3-8 millions (per day!). If there no active phase of conflict or no urgent need for extra spending, it looks like… Read more »

Dan
Guest
Dan

This performance has everything that a winner demands but misses in one very important thing: the song has this “depressive mood” that does not fit with the “saturday superparty” that Eurovision is. It lacks the “explossive joy burst”. It seems like you don’t get out of this sad mood during all the song, just listening to the melody from the start till the end. Eurovision is still a contest for everyone, but it has become very juvenile oriented. Those who vote the most are those kids/young people from every part of Europe that have their smartphone in their hands 24hrs… Read more »

power b.
Guest
power b.

Oxana
Not that bad? U must be kidding! She’s a power house! Back in Australia when I had a chance to see her live as supporting act for John Legend’s show – that was amazing! So yes I consider myself as a fan, just a little 🙂

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

@Brand, it’s nothing new that Ukraine is in poverty, it’s been in poverty since Soviet occupation. but still we managed to host ESC, Futball Euro cup (even built brand new airport in Donetsk, thanks to Russia it’s ruined now). You’re not bringing facts but keep saying ugly things instead of it. I can conclude you have nothing to say on subject? alright.

@power b
no probs 🙂 all of us have favs to vote for. Australia is not that bad, I won’t cry if it will win.

Jackie
Guest
Jackie

There’s no question Ukraine will qualify. But my only doubt will it work for the bigger audience at the final? Haven’t seen France yet, but what Russia and Australia did with staging like OMG and WOW respectively, it’s not even debatable, and as for the songs: they appeal to the audience because they sound catchy & radio friendly. As for Ukraines song lets just say it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and it might lost between such monsters like Australia and Russia. And I’ve got a slightly feeling that Sweden wiill back in the game.
Cheers

Slightly Biased ESC Fan
Guest
Slightly Biased ESC Fan

Currently 3rd in the betting odds!!! It’s about damn time people are putting some respect on her name 😉

Brand
Guest
Brand

@oxana
There wasn’t any hate I expressed. Further, I am glad you got diploma however this dissapoints as well. I will not go forward to argue since you seem to reject any neutral true facts concerning Ukraine. It is very beautiful but poor country I’ve been many times there. So, please, do not put any shadows more on it. You should respect all the others.

sonic0201
Guest
sonic0201

Bookmakers either know something that we don’t, or the big jump in the odds is just a big overreaction. From this video, we aren’t really getting anything new about this song that we didn’t know before.
Still an unpleasent song for my ears and mind. It might do really well in the jury scores if Jamala nails the performance, but I’m not sure how it will do in the televoting……

power b.
Guest
power b.

Oxana
To be honest I don’t see Jamala winning the whole thing, maybe semi final, if she scores enough from televote. Anyways all my money on Australia 🙂

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

@Brand, any fact to back up your hate? I have diploma with honors in economics with specialization as industrial accountant, so don’t hold it back, bring it on 🙂 GDP growth and spending/income. show me Russian miracle at cost of Ukrainian decay 🙂

Brand
Guest
Brand

@oxana Your are soooo far from statistics darling that you’d better talk about music only. Despite your everyday-growing hate on every thing that envolves Russia you are strongly recomended to read the sources you pick more carefully since those are absolutely opposite to your statements. Before you open your mouth expressing anger to reply just analyse statistics on both Ukraine and Russia and you’ll sure will see an enourmous gap comparing these two economies. Try to learn what average salary, taxes, GDP, external and internal debts are. Moreover, there is a fact that Ukraine by large increases payouts concerning living… Read more »

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

power b,
almost all countries will suffer financial issues to host ESC as it is costly (please check the article link that explains it in depth). Ukraine already hosted ESC and have buit infrastructure, hotels, etc. it will require less money then it had to spend back in 2005. I believe it is affordable for Ukraine (even if it will need to get a small additional loan). our Jamala is wonderful singer, and we’re serious about her act. we’re ready to accept her victory, and maybe she’s our best act till the day.

hasa
Guest
hasa

The 40s snippet doesn’t give away anything but the performance must have been amazing on screen for it to get such great positive response.

Daniel E.
Guest
Daniel E.

Well. I can’t help (you could say I’m…helpless) but wonder how the HARDKISS would have looked up there… Not to take anything away from Jamala, she is very good indeed, but ‘Helpless’ would have been my favourite song in the competition… I still listen to it on repeat (as well as ‘Organ’ and ‘Tony Talk!’, fabulous songs by this band)

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

Anton,
I’m not listening to your grand-pa Goebbels. I’m checking with statistics available worldwide instead. you Russians know what is statistical data? or you can’t hold it in your small head?

power b.
Guest
power b.

Oxana
My passport is European and I don’t really give a sugar about economics and politics, especially when it comes to Ukrainian-Russian conflict or whatever it’s called. The reason I asked you about money for possible hosting ESC in Russia because I saw your reply to Mitchell and maybe you should debate with him if he’s willing to of course. My only statement was that Russia hosted olympics recently and going to organize Fifa in 2018, so that’s why my question is Y NOT?

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

actually, if we started to speak about affordability of the contest, please read this article that takes close examination of countries and show’s who is really can host it w/o getting into debts. only 4 countries 🙂
http://www.cityam.com/216343/eurovision-song-contest-2015-secretly-these-countries-are-probably-hoping-they-lose

Anton
Guest
Anton

Oxana is brainwashed by the Goebbels propaganda. Don’t listen to her. The woman is nuts.

Sven
Guest
Sven

Verses are okay, but chorus is terrible. I really do not understand all the hype around her rehearsal, do you make decisions based on 40 seconds snippet?

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

@power b, check financial starts and economic growth perspective from world bank for Russia. it burns money from reserves and if things will go like planned, in 2 years Russia will have only dead mouse on a rope in their national reserves. Ukraine increases slowly its gold reserve. I wonder what makes others think that it have no money at all. Our president can ask for money in 150 languages, but it does not mean we need money that badly. In fact IMF have not gave any money to Ukraine for almost a year. Nothing happened. better think about Greece,… Read more »

Džordž
Guest
Džordž

I don’t like her or her song. It sounds like she mumbles and it is political song. She will end up in top 5 but won’t win..

power b.
Guest
power b.

Oxana
a s chego ty reshila chto v Rossii net deneg dlya esc? Olympics proveli I Fifa 2018 vrode kak planiruetsya.

Oxana
Guest
Oxana

@Mitchell, if you say you’re so educated you can understand Ukrainian or Crimean Tatar we’ll ask her to speak one of these languages so you’ll enjoy her flawless spelling. no money? haven’t we seen you with an empty bag near our gold reserve yesterday on Bankova street in Kyiv? there’s no money you say? 🙂 if we paid to participate (and it’s just broadcasting channel paid, not country itself), we surely can find money to host. Our economic rebound this year and shows growth while Russian economic is still failing. why don’t you voice your concern about mama Russia instead?… Read more »

Mitchell
Guest
Mitchell

I don’t get it. She struggles to talk in English. Ukraine doesn’t have money to host ESC. What’s the buzz y’all?

Sam
Guest
Sam

Too political for me. And the song is not catchy. However, bookies give preference as she will get the Furkish diaspora’s votes and post-Siviet countries backing. Even Armenia will vote for a song in a Turkish language as I read her mother is Armenian. Top 3 for sure, there you go! But again it’s too political.

Bis
Guest
Bis

This sounds like a winner to me 🙂 Excellent performance of a genuine and emotionally loaded song which really stands out in the crowd of Swedish factory pop.

Juan
Guest
Juan

Outstanding!!!

Sorry to say to the “LED 3D OR 4D performers” but emotions always prevail. We still breath and feel like humans.

Transhumanity still has a long way to go to catch us…