The below editorial features the opinions and views of the quoted reviewer and do not necessarily represent the views of #escYOUnited as a whole, Eurovision or the EBU.

Ukraine’s Eurovision season begins today and we are determined to continue reviewing songs for this Vibir selection. The selection is expected to take place this year in Kyiv on December 17th and we will finally find out the name of the winner who will raise the flag of Ukraine in Liverpool.

While in the first part there were clear favorites, let’s see if everything can change in the second half of the selection 

KRUTЬ – «Колискова»

Laoi – This song is completely captivating. With a name like Kolyskova (meaning ‘lullaby’) you could possibly go into this worrying that you will be lulled to sleep; on the contrary, KRUTЬ is here to dazzle you. Kolyskova has a beautiful build and gorgeous instrumentation, alongside a very moving message about children affected by war. This is my personal favourite from this selection, and I believe that it has the potential to become more effective when staged. My only significant criticism is that the song may encounter some difficulty with sticking around in the listener’s head. (7.5/10).

James – Traditional Ukrainian instrumentation over a trap beat to give an almost baroque feel. With lyrics that touch on both folk imagery and modernity (brothers in pixels who protect the children from invading monsters), it’s a modern lullaby that offers more than doom and gloom. The sentiment of a child growing up in a world without war should not be controversial, and anyone who shouts “Politics!” over that should be called out for being the disingenuous shill that they are. This song is hopeful, and though the present may be violent and bleak, this entry offers bliss. (9/10).

David – The best way I personally can put it… a Ukrainian lullaby. Very slow, it does have a build-up, but not the most intriguing one. I’m just not interested honestly, so let’s just stop it there. Credit for vocals, but more than that… nah. (2/10).

Tyler- Krutь seems like the fandom favorite, and it’s easy to see why–returning NF participant, almost won last time in 2020, and a nice, ethereal song! Big Celtic vibes from this. I don’t see this as a winner though, as this feels too similar to me with her 2020 Vidbir entry. It’s easy to get swept away with the instrumentation and the way Krutь sounds in this, but I don’t think it’s that outstanding. Wouldn’t be mad if it won the selection though.(7/10).

(7.5 + 9 + 2 + 7. Average = 6.38)

Tember Blanche – «Я вдома»

Laoi – This is a very pleasant listen, albeit one that is not likely to become highly competitive. I love the chilled out indie pop sound, aided by the lead singer’s lovely vocal tone. The strings in the last section of the song are wonderful, helping to build to a satisfying conclusion. While the song is nice, I worry that it is perhaps a bit too understated in regards to a competition. It would need a lot more to stand out — however, it will certainly find a home on my playlist. (6.5/10).

James – Despite it being in Ukrainian, this sounds more Festival de Cancao than Vidbir. Not a bad thing, necessarily. This song is sweet and slight, which for Vidbir means it will be blown away by a more cacophonous and rowdy entry. But you can still appreciate a light acoustic number from an oversized sweater wearing songstress at an open mic kind of vibe. (7/10).

David – A decent effort, and in the Ukrainian language as well. You don’t mind it, but you still don’t care enough for it, it’s very much just there. I can enjoy the song for what it is, but more than that is harder. (5/10).

Tyler – “Ia vdoma” feels like a breezy song in the car to me, that sounds nice and gets a mild head bop along, but then I forget what I just heard as soon as the new song starts. It’s a good playlist song, but doesn’t stand out enough at all to me to get a good and favorable impression. (5/10).

(6.5 + 7 + 5 + 5. Average = 5.88)

Angelina – «Stronger»

Laoi – With some good staging, Angelina’s Stronger might be lifted up to be “stronger than you think.” However, I felt that it is still a very simple and average ballad, which will have to fight hard to become more. There is unfortunately not a lot to Stronger’s chorus, which becomes flat and repetitive. Angelina does deliver a very nice vocal, however. (3/10).

James – The drums in between the pre-chorus and chorus are so clumsily timed it sounds like somebody woke up the drummer after they fell asleep during the first verse. Lyrically, this is a dull self-belief song with the usual post-break up tropes. There’s also a remarkable lack of passion in this sleepy affair. Vidbir rarely does dull, but I guess with this one there’s a first time for everything. (4/10).

David – I think this is one of those cases, where I would’ve preferred the song, to be in any other language, than English. When people listen to music, most will understand it, if it’s done in English, like I do myself. The lyrics become so pointless and has no effect, eventually I tune out and try to listen to the melody, which also has very little catchiness to it. Most likely, this will be forgotten with me. (2/10).

Tyler – “Stronger” feels like a Melodifestivalen 6th placer NQ, which is both a compliment and a jab, sorry. The song doesn’t feel big or sweeping enough to be an NF winner, but it’s also a song that I kind of mildly like even though I know it’s a goner like in Melfest. Angelina sings well, and I like the instrumentation mostly, but the song doesn’t make enough of an impact for me. I wish it was stronger. (6/10).

(3 + 4 + 2 + 6. Average = 3.75)

2TONE – «Квітка»

Laoi – I have conflicting feelings on 2TONE’s rock ballad Kvitka. The song opens with a very good build; however, I felt that it began to stumble upon arrival at its somewhat underwhelming chorus. The song’s rap element also doesn’t quite hit — it is accompanied by a sudden turn to much softer production, causing the otherwise energetic number to slow to a crawl.

However, there is also a very solid foundation here. The melody is memorable, and in particular, the rocky rasp in the vocal is very welcome. The guitar solo also adds great energy toward the end — I just wish that the instrumental throughout kept the same punch. Overall, I like what this entry is going for, but it may need some tweaking to reach its full potential. (6/10).

James – This is a bleak romantic rock ballad, the bleakness made doubly so by the song’s abrupt ending right as you sense either a key change or something to lift the mood coming along. For once in a Eurovision national selection, the rap verse is actually welcome. It injects a bit of immediacy, a plea to live in the moment because as Ukraine has found out, it can be snatched away in an instant. The only downside here is that this is fairly straight forward rock and not the creative and dynamic music we’re used to hearing from Ukraine. (7/10).

David – Very unique and quite cool, I’m actually enjoying the music a lot, and quite happy it’s in Ukrainian actually. Despite the positive words, I do lack a proper hook. The song goes and comes around a lot, but after listening, I actually don’t remember much of it. It’s one of those you just enjoy while it’s there, but then there not much left at the end. I’m actually quite split on it overall. (5/10).

Tyler – 2Tone sounds right for a name of a musical act, as there’s a blend of rap and late 2000s alt rock here. I like the raspy rock parts of this for the nostalgija, but the rap part leaves much to be desired for me. I like the idea of the song and I wish it worked better for me, but it’s just slightly upper middle class on my rankings. Wish them the best! (6.5/10).

(6 + 7 + 5+6.5. Average = 6.13)

TVORCHI – «Heart of Steel»

Laoi – This is a track with a lot of promise, which perhaps needs a little bit of revamping. It’s difficult to describe the song as anything other than deeply cool — the song’s sense of movement through an oppressively dark instrumental conveys its message very well. While the production does communicate that sense of heaviness, there were times when I wished that the vocals were amplified a little more. With maybe a few production tweaks to adjust the sound levels, this song could be a punchy and creative number on stage. (6/10).

James – There’s an overwhelming corniness that ruins this. And who thought it was a good idea to set the synthesizers to “brown notes”? This is another Vidbir entry that ends abruptly, and in this instance I am thankful for that small mercy. “Heart of Steel” also lacks structure, feeling more like an interlude or an introduction to a larger and more varied piece. As for vocals, the singer sounds like he was autotuned inside a dumpster. (5/10).

David – Damn, very cool and slick, but with an impactful message. This is properly the most non-Ukrainian song in this line-up, and I actually like it a lot! I would actually love this style of music to get some exposure, and I believe this is something many would unexpectedly connect with. It has some power and style to it, maybe it could have some more of it, but for what it is, I’ll take it. Actually, a huge shame the song isn’t longer than what it is. (8/10).

Tyler – This song would be rated higher if it was longer, sorry! I quite enjoyed this song, as it feels like something on the radio (at least a year or so ago). Love the hip hop and the instrumentation is great too. I just vibe really well with this song, and this feels like an improvement after their 2020 Vidbir entry. Good job, I hope the performance is great! (8/10).

(6 + 5 + 8 + 8. Average = 6.75)

The final verdict

The second half was pretty close, 4 out of 5 songs had pretty similar scores which means the selection can be pretty competitive.

Overall, we agree that Jerry Heil with the song ‘WHEN GOD SHUT THE DOOR’ has the highest chances to represent Ukraine next year in Liverpool. However, other artists are close and everything change on December 17th.

  1. Jerry Heil ‘WHEN GOD SHUT THE DOOR’ 7.25
  2. TVORCHI ‘Heart of Steel’ 6.75
  3. KRUTЬ – «Колискова» 6.38
  4. 2TONE – «Квітка» 6.13
  5. FIINKA – «Довбуш» 6.13
  6. Tember Blanche – «Я вдома» 5.88
  7. Moisei ‘I’m Not Alone’ 4.88
  8. OY Sound System – «Ой, тужу» 4.75
  9. DEMCHUK – «Alive» 4.63
  10. Angelina – «Stronger» 3.75

Do #YOU agree with our editors’ opinion of this year ‘Vidbir’? Share your thoughts below, in our forum, or in the comments below.

 

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