It’s time for a change in Ukraine. National broadcaster Suspilne and commercial broadcaster STB have announced the end of their Eurovision partnership. Since 2016, STB ran the popular national final Vidbir, while Suspilne managed Ukraine’s entry at Eurovision. Now Suspilne is going at it alone and will be responsible for the artist selection as well.
STB confirmed the news today with a statement that also recounted the successful years of Vidbir.
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STB’s managing director Lyudmila Semchuk commented on the end of the broadcasters’ partnership, saying:
“The national selection for Eurovision was a very important project for STB and StarLightMedia. To make the national selection the main musical event — this is the goal we set ourselves six years ago, starting a partnership with the public broadcaster, and we clearly adhered to it.
“This was our contribution to raising the country’s image in the international arena, supporting national talents and the development of the Ukrainian music industry, so it was very important for us to take part in every stage of the country’s preparation and performance at Eurovision.
“We have achieved many great successes and set a high bar for the national selection. Today we end our participation in the selection of the representative of Ukraine for the song contest. We thank the team, all viewers, the media, artists and partners for making the national selection for Eurovision the main star of Ukrainian television together.”
It’s believed that a large motivation behind this decision is that recently Suspilne’s budget has substantially increased. Ukraine’s participation in Eurovision 2021 was the first time that Suspilne was able to fund the performance entirely and not be co-sponsored by STB.
Suspilne has not yet confirmed how they will select Ukraine’s act for 2022, however the broadcaster is reportedly in talks with other production companies regarding a new national final show.
Ukraine and the Vidbir national final
The Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine — also known as Suspilne or UA:PBC — was launched in 2015, following the restructuring of Ukraine’s public broadcasting system. After Ukraine’s break from Eurovision in 2015, the nation returned in 2016, with Suspilne as the participating broadcaster.
In 2015, Suspilne initially signed a three-year agreement with commercial channel STB. From 2016, STB ran the country’s national selection, while Suspilne looked after Ukraine’s entry at Eurovision.
STB introduced Vidbir in 2016, a large-scale Eurovision national final, inspired by iconic national finals from Western Europe. The radical new format was a hit and the broadcasters extended their agreement for another three years.
STB notes that each year, the contest attracted more than 1000 entries. In the five seasons of the show, 92 acts competed to represent Ukraine at Eurovision. The contest also featured newcomers that were exposed to new audiences. STB were also able to attract big-name acts that would not previously have considered participating in a show run by Suspilne.
The Vidbir years proved successful for Ukraine at Eurovision. Jamala won the contest in 2016 with her powerful electro-pop song “1944”. The entries all qualified for the Eurovision grand final, ensuring Ukraine 100% qualification streak remains unbroken.
Most recently, folktronica group Go_A placed fifth in Rotterdam with their anthem “SHUM”. The song was a hit with viewers, coming second in the televote and later going viral on TikTok.
Whatever format Suspilne uses for its 2022 selection, it has a rich legacy to live up to.
What do you think? Are you sad to see the end of Vidbir? What song selection format should Suspilne user for Eurovision 2022? Tell us your thoughts below!
Thank you, Ukraine, for an amazing selection! Regardless of how Ukraine will select their entry from now on, I’m sure Ukraine will continue to receive great results. I’m looking forward to see more great entries from Ukraine!
Greetings from Russia.
That was sad. Vidbir was one of my favourite selections, and every edition had several songs that I liked. I really hope they’ll replace it with another good national selection.
Vidbir was ok but too safe. you need to switch things up
You must be from Russia
His name is Sebastián but ok. Also “annexion” is an interesting, yet non-existent, word
You can write any name here)
Besides Suspilne’s budget (apparently) seeing a massive increase, I think ratings might also have something to do with it. According to Wikipedia, the ratings for 2021 were as follows: Suspilne: 1,830,000 viewers STB: 4,700,000 viewers This could very well be Suspilne trying to get their Eurovision viewer base back. As Teddy said, before the STB partnership, the NFs were rife with bribery and vote scandals, so I also hope that they won’t go back to that. But at the same time, the entries Ukraine sent were always quality (and even if the song was weaker, the staging definitely made up… Read more »
Vidbir has been one of my favorite national finals (I mean, musically, since as a TV show is not a great watch for someone that doesn’t understand anything in Ukrainian), so I’m worried about these news. But as Joe pointed below, if Suspilne handled 2021’s staging by themselves, they have quality people on their team, so I hope they’ll make good use of the recent legacy.
Really hope they keep the national final format. Ukraine has been one of the most consistent countries in finding and supporting talent that appeals to everyone through maintaining their unique identity. I would really hate to see them lose that.
BTW the broadcaster is called Suspilne, not Suspline.
I’m scared now because they practically ditched the formula that granted them the 100% Q record. This sucks
Ukraine had a 100% qualification record before Vidbir though.
I know but Vidbir was successful enough to keep it that way even with the jury-tele rule, before that the slavosoviet voting bloc could be easily observed
Arcade just crossed 500 million streams, a milestone for Eurovision, the first song to do so and the 2nd ESC artist to have a song above 500 million streams alongside ABBA
Well done, Duncan! Plus Måneskin should be the third ESC artist to do so tomorrow. Might we have entered a new golden age for Eurovision?
Yes waiting for Maneskin tomorrow too, hope Wiwibloggs makes an article about them soon
whatever they do, may they never lose their 100% qualification record
At some point they will though.. And who knows, that might be a good thing! The pressure would be off then!
It happened to Sweden, Azerbaijan, Romania, Russia and this year to Australia. One day Ukraine will fail to qualify, But for now it can enjoyed its status as the only country with 100% rate.
Don’t know why that gave you downvotes. It’s true..
they technically lost it in 2012. the public really didnt want that song to qualify
This show has been one of the greats. It’s given us a winner on debut, two televote runners up, two Eurovision standard semi finals every year, Maruv and a wealth of different genres. Not to mention amazing staging for all the acts!
I hope that UA:PBC’s Vidbir 2.0 doesn’t descend into the pre-2015 state of bribery, vote-buying and cheating because they have enough talent in that country to become true powerhouses and challenge for the win every year.
well, technically Ruslana won in 2004, just AFTER their debut with Oleksander or something like that, or maybe you mean Jamala
Anyways, i hate being that guy and generally all you said was true
The Ukrainian authorities really want to join the European Union or NATO, but there are problems with that, so despite the general problems they want to get closer to the West thanks to music, they do it phenomenally and I must admit that Vidbir is perfect. as a road to Eurovision in terms of the quality of songs and performers, because for Ukrainian artists Eurovision is the culmination of their musical career
Well, Ukraine is so far the only country which has 100% qualification rate. I assume they would qualify even with weaker songs, like Russia (another powerhouse) which (with exception of 2018) is always qualifying. We can claim about political voting or diaspora affecting the final results, but in the end both countries treat the contest seriously and send very decent songs. What I also like is that they send really established artists for whom singing at the Eurovision stage is still an honour and a big step in further carrier. Such artists like Ruslana, Tina Karol, Ani Lorak, Loboda, Alyosha,… Read more »
true, and Go_A became big stars after the contest too.
most of those people faded after eurovision. wheres alyosha? mika newton? o torvald?
I have no idea how’s that gonna affect Ukraine in the contest.
I always loved Vidbir and think that it was much better than their previous national final formats
Radical format? How?
not rly sure what to believe here since a different website says “STB states that UA:PBC has agreed to take over Vidbir and continue to use it as the Ukrainian national selection process.” either way i trust ukraine
STB’s website said the public broadcaster agreed to take over Vidbir.
It could be a mistranslation. Vidbir means “selection” in the local language and is a shortened name of “ESC National Selection” used by overseas fans for easy recall. It might as well mean that UA:PBC will simply take over in the selection of an act for Eurovision.
If it means we won’t have to see the smarmy and unfunny Serhiy Prytula ever again this is a massively positive thing.
If Shum’s staging was done entirely by the UA:PBC folks, I have hope. Let’s see what they can do.
STB helped them get back on their feet after the 2015 withdrawal. Their work here is done.