Hello Europe, hello Australia — it’s Kyiv calling! On Saturday Ukraine kicked off the first semi-final of Vidbir 2019, the country’s national final for Eurovision.

Ukraine is always in for a bit of drama. So naturally tonight had a sprinkling of it before the show even started. Tonight’s semi-final was meant to include two-time Vidbir runner-up Tayanna. But she withdrew her bid in the weeks leading up to the show. The Ukrainian broadcasters behind the show subsequently announced rising star MARUV as the replacement act. And, as a newly confirmed finalist, it’s clear she made the most of it.

With the same format as last year, the top three acts advanced to the final of the preselection. They were determined by a combination of televoting and the opinion of an expert panel, once again consisting of Eurovision 2016 winner Jamala, composer and producer Yevhen Fylatov and the real man behind one of our favourite drag queens Verka Serduchka — Andriy Danylko.

Oh what a night. We saw everything: from The Hypnotunez’ walking Illuminati sign to Letay flying off with a bunch of coloured balloons to Brunettes Shoot Blondes’ magical machine.

Ultimately, only three acts could advance to the final of 23 February. Perhaps for the first time in Vidbir history, the jury and the televoting public actually agreed! Together they sent MARUV, Brunettes Shoot Blondes and YUKO to the final.

Vidbir 2019: Who made the final?

MARUV – “Siren Song”

MARUV gave us some butt slapping and perhaps the most over-the-top pair of glasses of the season. The performance was the most provocative of the night, if not in Vidbir history. Jamala recognised this and was worried that it was perhaps too explicit to be allowed on the Eurovision stage. Andriy disagreed and eventually gave MARUV his top points in the jury voting. Though he also added that if MARUV wanted to play the “provocative” card, she should have played it more distinctively, while also commenting that she lacked energy in tonight’s performance.

Brunettes Shoot Blondes – “Houston”

Some music lovers might call it vandalism, but the guys Brunettes Shoot Blondes once bought a 17th century piano and completely deconstructed it. Not to break it, but to re-construct something special out of the remains. They added nearly every single instrument thinkable into the empty piano and turned it into a proper machine. Though an interesting show element, the jury commented that they could not rely on this “machine” alone to impress the viewers.

YUKO – “Galyna guliala”

Another performance, another experiment. YUKO announced that they would bring Ukrainian folktronica on stage. However, their song is not original….but uses motifs and lyrics from traditional Ukrainian music. Jamala reminded them that that is not allowed according to Eurovision rules. While she used motifs and lyrics from Crimean Tatar music in “1944”, she added that she made sure that her song was a new one.

Eliminated acts

The Hypnotunez – “Hey”

Overall, the judges enjoyed the performance of The Hypnotunez, which was noted as both happy and crazy. It was a bombastic start of the competition, but Jamala said that one cannot play instruments live at Eurovision, as The Hypnotunez also enjoy improvising.

Letay – “Myla moya”

The almost unrecognisable returnee brought us perhaps the most crazy performance we have seen this NF season so far! Andriy Danylko revealed that he was scared when Letay was flying around in the air, holding his microphone in one hand and balloons in the other, but this also led to Letay receiving some praise about his singing in combination with his difficult (and slightly creepy) mini-circus on stage.

Vera Kekelia – “Wow!”

Former girlband member Vera Kekelia was set to “Wow!” us tonight with her debut solo single, but she didn’t convince the judges. Though dressing the part of a diva in a thin golden-glitter dress, all jury members agreed that she could have shown more attitude and could have surprised more.

TseSho – “Hate”

TseSho revealed that they received hate on their track from Eurovision fans before even stepping on the stage, with many people commenting that their song was definitely not final-worthy. The song showed the first big divide on the jury panel of the year. Jamala did not hate TseSho at all and said she liked that the group had prepared a concept and message. Andriy was more critical and stated that Eurovision is a song contest after all and “Hate” is not a song, rather a performance.

Bahroma – “Navzazhdy-Navsegda”

“Navzazhdy-Navsegda” tells us a story about love without borders according to Bahroma. The group subsequently received love from both Jamala and Yevhen, but Andriy thought “Navzazhdy-Navsegda” wasn’t suitable for Eurovision.

Vidbir 2019: Semi-Final 1 jury results

8 points – YUKO – “Galina guliala”
7 points – Brunettes Shoot Blondes – “Houston”
6 points – MARUV – “Siren Song”
5 points – TseSho – “Hate”
4 points – Vera Kekelia – “Wow!”
3 points – Bahroma – “Navzazhdy-Navsegda”
2 points – Letay – “Myla moya”
1 point – The Hypnotunez – “Hey”

First semi-final televoting results

8 points – MARUV – “Siren Song”
7 points – Brunettes Shoot Blondes – “Houston”
6 points – TseSho – “Hate”
5 points – YUKO – “Galina guliala”
4 points – Bahroma – “Navzazhdy-Navsegda”
3 points – Letay – “Myla moya”
2 points – Vera Kekelia – “Wow!”
1 point – The Hypnotunez – “Hey”

Combined first-semi-final of Vidbir 2019 results

14 points – MARUV – “Siren Song”
14 points – Brunettes Shoot Blondes – “Houston”
13 points – YUKO – “Galina guliala”

11 points – TseSho – “Hate”
7 points – Bahroma “Navzazhdy-Navsegda”
6 points – Vera Kekelia – “Wow!”
5 points – Letay – “Myla moya”
2 points – The Hypnotunez – “Hey”

Do you agree with the results of the first semi-final of Vidbir 2019? Did your favourites go through? Let us know in the comments below!

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Hippolyte
Hippolyte
2 years ago

Please Ukraine make eurovision fun and sexy again and choose MARUV .

evol
evol
2 years ago
Reply to  Hippolyte

you welcome

Zebb
Zebb
2 years ago

genuinely upset with televote’s 1st place, ugh

yet TseSho were robbed

Zebb
Zebb
2 years ago

so, this is where EL vibes have gone to.

Alex M
Alex M
2 years ago

What I liked the most about this Vidbir is the audio quality. Especially after Destination Eurovision…

Roma
Roma
2 years ago

Online magazine about MARUV and Vidbir 2019 in Ukraine – Semi-final 1: http://royaldesign.ua/ru/evrovidenie-2019-pevitsa-maruv-glavnyiy-kandidat-na-pobedu.bXvHr/

Christian
Christian
2 years ago

Wow, what a refreshing mix of songs. I’m definitely gonna watch the final. I only hope that the brunettes shoot blondes keep in mind, that they won’t be able to play their instrument live in Tel Aviv if they win Vidbir.

Jack
Jack
2 years ago

Every single song of vidbir is more well produced and polished than “you decide”. Period.

James
James
2 years ago
Reply to  Jack

Part of that is that the artists are heavily involved with the creation of their songs.

cai
cai
2 years ago

I love Maruv – yeah the vocals were off but she has less time to prepare than the rest… and that first drop chorus matched with the dance moves INSANE – she does need to improve the verses but that’s nothing a revamp can’t change best of the night by far

Victorielle
Victorielle
2 years ago

So, Kazka will go. 🙂

Escfan
Escfan
2 years ago
Reply to  Victorielle

They were awful live

Meliris
Meliris
2 years ago

Maruv is being overrated, bad vocals… I liked Letay a lot more.

Airell
Airell
2 years ago
Reply to  Meliris

Agree… LETAY or TseSho deserved the place IMO ._.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
2 years ago

Wow, that show looks like a lot of fun. Sorry I missed it.

James
James
2 years ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

The entire semi is available on Youtube for us to watch, all 4 hours of it. lol

Maxim
Maxim
2 years ago

My only fear is the jury’s vote. They can totally destroy Maruv’s chances of going to Tel Aviv if they give her a third place again in the final.

Alex M
Alex M
2 years ago
Reply to  Maxim

I really hope they WILL. And not the third place, but something like fifth-sixth

Airell
Airell
2 years ago
Reply to  Maxim

It’s possible, Maruv’s song is a little too much to me (and let’s not start on the singing). I’m hoping Kazka will save Ukraine 🙂

Escfan
Escfan
2 years ago
Reply to  Airell

Kazka messes up live

NickC
NickC
2 years ago

Maruv is….something. it is surely memorable. Vidbir is right up there with Destination , Hello and San Remo for me.

Dalth
Dalth
2 years ago

Need I say anything more than Bang,

Tibor
Tibor
2 years ago

Okay, I’m totally on board with Maruv’s “Siren Song”. The verses could use a bit of polishing, but what a chorus! The lyrics seem to be rather saucy, but it’s nothing we can’t handle, is it?

Joseph
Joseph
2 years ago

TseSho over YUKO any day of the week.

Dalia
Dalia
2 years ago

Please Ukraine choose MARUV with her BANG!

Lolek
Lolek
2 years ago

Wow, Maruv that was quite a… HOT performance!

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 years ago

TseSho is a big loss but it wasn’t my favourite. What a great semi final. Liked 5 out of the 7 songs so really looking forward to the second semi final.

MarkoH
MarkoH
2 years ago

I like Maruv and all… but… isn’t it… a bit too sexual?? I mean, kids also watch eurovision…

James C
James C
2 years ago
Reply to  MarkoH

We had the slavic girls? hahaha

Loin dici
2 years ago
Reply to  MarkoH

It’ll be fine, parents can tell them to go to their rooms.

Gurl
Gurl
2 years ago
Reply to  Loin dici

Haha, “go to your room”, sentence from last century, kids will watch it on internet anyway :p

Tibor
Tibor
2 years ago
Reply to  Gurl

What?! *clutching my pearls*

Weißbrot
Weißbrot
2 years ago
Reply to  MarkoH

Lmao, we’ll probably have Hatari for Iceland. If they can compete, anyone can.

Skimur
Skimur
2 years ago
Reply to  MarkoH

There is nothing that modern children do not see on the Internet every day ).

Lolek
Lolek
2 years ago
Reply to  MarkoH

If Hatari reps Iceland this year, this wouldn’t be too much more sexual than them.

Rose
Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  MarkoH

IVAN would like to speak with you.

Henry
Henry
2 years ago

The beginning if Hate is such a funny plot twist. It’s like Montenegro 2012 but funnier. It’s legendary

bastian
bastian
2 years ago

Maruv and BSB were amazing. Both would be great choices. I want them both in esc

gigou
gigou
2 years ago

Just a little question : In october, Natalia Gordienko was announced as the first Vidbir contestant with Hrim (Thunder). So why isn’t she competing ???????? Thank u for answer 😉

Gudrun
Gudrun
2 years ago
Reply to  gigou

She wasn’t selected by the committee. So her song probably wasn’t good enough,

John
2 years ago

Yay for (very random) use of German… even if it was spelled wrong.

Bruno
Bruno
2 years ago
Reply to  John

Danylko probably was smitten by that LMAO!

Bruno
Bruno
2 years ago

TseSho was robbed , don’t get Yuko song, sounds annoying for me….
others qualifiers are nice, but i have high hopes for semi 2, i love almost every one in there:
Magical – Kazka,
guy with velvet voice – Laud
powerful twin sisters – Anna Maria
Wanna be Timberlake – Ivan Navi
and the most incredible male voice i’ve ever heard on Vidbir – Khayat!

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
2 years ago

I swear brunettes shoot blondes is absolutely amazing!

Harut
2 years ago

Marun has to win it’s sassy and cool , amazing song and stagings

Héctor
Héctor
2 years ago

Maruv was rejected and she has one of the best in this NF, okey. Maruv and BSB were my favs, so I agree with this result.

brennan
brennan
2 years ago

these rankings are pretty much spot on, maruv definitely has the best song for eurovision out of the bunch
yuko in the final of vidbir… my heart

Skimur
Skimur
2 years ago

The most weird, alternative and interesting set of songs in NF ever. My personal top 3: 1.Maruv, 2.Yuko and 3.TseSho.

Albert
Albert
2 years ago

Bahroma deserve more than Yuko, sorry not sorry

MikolasFan
MikolasFan
2 years ago

All my favs in the second semi , in this one i only like a bit of Letya and BSB,
Maruv is not my thing at all, besides she is stunningly beautiful i don’t get all the hype …meh

Sabrina
Sabrina
2 years ago

Another great year on Vidbir. Every entry was smartly staged and brought a different thing to the competition. I haven’t heard the songs before today, so if some of you’re saying the second semifinal can be even better than this one, I’m officialy hyped.

Roelof Meesters
Roelof Meesters
2 years ago

Siren Song is so genuinly interesting and I quite love it. The performance was badass but idk if it’s too vulgar for ESC or not. But KAZKA is still my favorite.

Mika
Mika
2 years ago

MARUV needs to win for Ukraine or KAZKA (if she improved her vocals…)

Wilhelm
Wilhelm
2 years ago
Reply to  Mika

MARUV has no vocal at all…

Hermès
Hermès
2 years ago
Reply to  Wilhelm

You’re jocking right?
https://youtu.be/QQ9Scrcwp0w

Jo.
Jo.
2 years ago

I’m not into these songs. Kazka has to win in Ukraine.

Andrii
Andrii
2 years ago
Reply to  Jo.

Kazka can`t sing live

Alex M
Alex M
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrii

Who told you that?

MikolasFan
MikolasFan
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrii

i heard her live singing ‘Apart’ and it was pure gold…

Jo.
Jo.
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrii

Then they got a problem.

Mika
Mika
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrii

That was last year. Hopefully she improved her vocals!

AdamZee
AdamZee
2 years ago
Reply to  Jo.

Yes!
I’ll be shattered if Kazka don’t win!

Name
Name
2 years ago

MARUV was so good, I hope she wins. If not her then KAZKA

M_K
M_K
2 years ago
Reply to  Name

Her performance was 100% on point.

Susane
Susane
2 years ago

Sorry but Yuko is not my thing…. TseSho was robbed…
unpopular opinion- i dont like Maruv at all…
BSB is my fav in this semi 🙂

Alex M
Alex M
2 years ago
Reply to  Susane

I also don’t like Maruv at all. But she has this dumb hype train, which doesn’t seem to stop even after THAT performance…

Airell
Airell
2 years ago
Reply to  Susane

You’re not alone 🙂
My favourites were BSB, TseSho and LETAY

M_K
M_K
2 years ago

BTW, the fact that the Montenegrin NF is taking place at this very moment is rightfully ignored and/or forgotten. The current front-runner is what I considered the obvious last place in the NF. It’s this kind of Eurovision song that is simply beyond words.

uzhas
uzhas
2 years ago
Reply to  M_K

chill, they will only make a post after the results will be known.

Loin dici
2 years ago

Aside of that, this is a good line-up of finalists, they deserved their qualification. However, YUKO might be in danger after Jamala’s critic and gets replaced by another semifinalist.

Escfan
Escfan
2 years ago
Reply to  Loin dici

What happened?

Marcelo
Marcelo
2 years ago
Reply to  Escfan

YUKO’s song is not original.

uzhas
uzhas
2 years ago

TseSho should have been in the final instead of Yuko. Bahroma was also better than Yuko

Loin dici
2 years ago

*opens BSB video* “Brunnete Shoot Blondes-Siren Song”
You had one job, Vidbir.

M_K
M_K
2 years ago

As always, Ukraine showcased a great variety of songs. I widely agree with the results, I’d only change YUKO for Bahroma. But, overall, well done.

Apple
Apple
2 years ago

Wait so…Yuko’s song wouldn’t be allowed at Eurovision, but the judges placed it in first? I’m honestly confused #TseShoRobbed

Skimur
Skimur
2 years ago
Reply to  Apple

They said that they completely reworked the folk song, changed the words and melody, and now this song is suitable for participation.

Apple
Apple
2 years ago
Reply to  Skimur

Oh that’s good! Galyna Guliala was my favorite before Vidbir actually, but I never realized it took so much from folk songs. I’m glad it’s allowed

Nick
Nick
2 years ago

Letay was awesome! i wanted him to qualify and Yuko is too much for me…sorry
Maruv and BSB were predictable qualifiers , Semi 2 participants looks much more fascinating for me,
Kazka, Laud, Anna Maria and Khayat are my favs

M_K
M_K
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick

The performance was amazing, but the song was probably a bit too “common”.

Loin dici
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick

Semi 2 looked stronger, and I expected KAZKA and Kira Mazur to pass through.