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
Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)