Last week, Ukraine’s public broadcaster Suspilne announced the longlist of participants for their December edition of Vidbir — the show to select the country’s act for Eurovision 2023. But this time it’s not just the competing artists who have to make it through a selection process. On Monday, the broadcaster revealed a list of nine potential jury members for the national final, from which the public are now able to vote for who they want to appear on the Vidbir 2023 judge’s panel.
Similarly to Ukraine’s Junior Eurovision 2022 selection, the public is allowed to pick the Vidbir 2023 jury members from a list of names by voting through the Diia app. This app designed by the country’s government allows citizens to access state services. But now, it will also serve to determine the three jury members for the show.
The voting will run until the morning of 7 November.
The list of candidates is a mix between former Eurovision contestants, popular musicians and stage directors. Those who will have watched Vidbir for a long time will see that the biggest absence on the list is Andriy Danylko — the man behind Ukraine’s most loved drag act Verka Serduchka, who served five consecutive years on the Vidbir jury between 2016 and 2020.
List of potential jurors for Vidbir 2023
The Eurovision 2016 winner and four-time Vidbir jury member needs barely any introduction. Jamala‘s critique is always honest and is never partial to her colleagues. On top of that, she enjoys everything from rap to ballads. But with so many new names, the public might want something else after all these years.
DZIDZIO (Mykhailo Khoma)
DZIDZIO is one of Ukraine’s most popular groups, specialising in mostly comedy and party music. Lead singer Mykhailo Khoma has all the skills a Eurovision judge needs: he’s a singer-songwriter, a producer and a director. He’s been a judge on The Voice Kids and Ukraine’s Got Talent before.
Starting in 2020 as a judge alongside Andriy Danylko and Vitaly Drozdov, Ukrainian diva Tina Karol has been a valuable addition to Vidbir history. Sometimes more soft, other times more strict, Tina always tries to support the next generation of Ukraine’s music industry. However, some fans have pointed out that the Eurovision 2006 star’s long history as a judge on The Voice of Ukraine sometimes clashes with the neutrality needed by a Vidbir jury member.
The Eurovision 2013 bronze medallist has never sat at the Vidbir jury table before. For a while after Eurovision, Zlata Ognevich was involved in politics and had a seat in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament). She’s since returned to music, and more recently was involved in Ukraine’s version of The Bachelorette.
Although a completely unknown singer before winning Vidbir 2020, Go_A’s lead singer Kateryna Pavlenko has grown to be one of Ukraine’s biggest musical exports. Ever since Eurovision 2021, she’s travelled around Europe and toured at numerous festivals and concert venues. If she were chosen to be a judge, it would be her first experience in that role.
In 2016, The Hardkiss finished second in Vidbir after loosing a tiebreak with Jamala. However, it still gave the already popular band and its lead singer Julia Sanina another hit with “Helpless”. As a solo singer, Julia has topped the Ukrainian charts and won a YUNA Music Award for a duet with Tina Karol. She has previous judging experience, having served on the jury panel of X Factor Ukraine in 2016.
The name probably won’t ring a direct bell for many, but Kostyantyn Tomilchenko has been a stage and creative director behind so many Eurovision performances. This includes Jamala’s “1944”, MÉLOVIN’s “Under The Ladder” and Go_A’s “SHUM”. In 2005, he also stood on the Eurovision stage as a backing dancer for Greenjolly.
Antytila’s lead singer Taras Topolya is the husband of Eurovision 2010 singer Alyosha. But besides that, his involvement with the contest is quite limited. To Ukrainian Eurovision fans, he is known to have harshly critiqued Go_A’s “Solovey”, so it’s likely that folktronica music won’t be his thing if he were to be chosen as a judge.
From all the names on the list, Druha Rika frontman Valeriy Kharchyshyn is perhaps the one who’s most distant from Eurovision. Nevertheless, a fresh face might give the national final some new insights that we all need.
Who do you want to be part of the judge’s panel? Who do you think is best suited to be a member of the jury at Vidbir 2023? Let us know in the comments down below!