Vidbir‘s producer Ruslan Kvinta had already described tonight’s final as a hot competition. He was right, as MARUV won tonight’s show with “Siren Song” amid explosive drama and red-hot words. She’ll represent Ukraine at Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv.
Vidbir 2019 drowns in its own political drama
Much of the show’s fire came from a political war of words. Controversially, multiple acts were interrogated about their relationship with Russia and their view towards Crimea. The lead singer of YUKO stated as a result that she would give up her Russian nationality as soon as she would received a Ukrainian passport. But that was only the first in a series of mind-blowing moments.
— Ron K. (wiwibloggs) (@Ronkesc) February 23, 2019
After an unclear answer on the matter of Russia from MARUV, Jamala decided to give the singer an example of a question she might face at a Eurovision press conference from a hard-nosed journalist.
She asked: “Crimea, is that Ukraine or…?” to which MARUV immediately replied: “Ukraine, of course.”.
The most emotional moment of the night came from the duet Anna-Maria who had endured repeated and harsh criticism in recent weeks about their connection to Russia. The twins hailing from Crimea teared up when the host asked about their mother, who holds an administrative position in a Russian-controlled civil office. He asked if they agreed with their mother’s position.
Tonight was the culmination of multiple scandals and controversies that have cast a cloud over the Ukrainian preselection. First, fan favourite and two-time runner-up Tayanna announced her withdrawal. Between the shows, the judges were attacked online about their personal opinions.
More recently fans were not happy after Vidbir host Serhiy Prytula joked about Khayat, who was attacked on the subway, reportedly for his outré appearance.
And yes, as at Eurovision 2017, the drama even reached the upper echelons of the government. Vice prime minister Vyacheslav Kyrylenko caused a storm by writing a series of tweets indicating that he would prefer the country to withdraw from Eurovision rather than sending a Vidbir act that continued to tour Russia.
Right before the voting lines opened, host Serhiy Prytula read out a note given to him by broadcaster UA:PBC. The message stated that the broadcaster might still reject the winner of Vidbir, as the selection show is mostly organised by commercial broadcaster STB, who cover most of the costs involved. This raised a few eyebrows as in four seasons of the show, such a note had never been read out. Hold your Pepsi, the drama might not be over just yet…
Eventually the results of Vidbir 2019 proved to be a real nail-biter too. The jury were not fully satisfied with any of the acts. As usual, they had starkly different opinions, with Yevhen Filatov and Jamala favouring Freedom Jazz, while Andriy Danylko wanted either MARUV or KAZKA.
The public thought otherwise. They cast over 167,000 unique votes…and MARUV earned the most. That put her past Freedom Jazz.
MARUV will represent Ukraine with “Siren Song”
Vidbir 2019 full results
11 points – MARUV
10 points – Freedom Jazz
8 points – KAZKA
5 points – Brunettes Shoot Blondes
4 points – YUKO
3 points – Anna-Maria
Vidbir 2019 jury results
6 points – Freedom Jazz
5 points – MARUV
4 points – YUKO
3 points – KAZKA
2 points – Brunettes Shoot Blondes
1 point – Anna-Maria
Vidbir 2019 televoting results
6 points – MARUV
5 points – KAZKA
4 points – Freedom Jazz
3 points – Brunettes Shoot Blondes
2 points – Anna-Maria
1 point – YUKO
Do you agree that MARUV is the best act to represent Ukraine at Eurovision 2019 with “Siren Song”? What was your favourite performance tonight? Let us know in the comments below!