Tonight in Kyiv, the first semifinal of the Ukranian national selection has concluded. The last time we were here, we celebrated the triumphant win of Maruv with her song Siren Song. Then, as many of you know, things did not pan out and we were left without a Ukrainian entry in Tel Aviv. This year, we are hoping that does not happen given how strong Vidbir 2020 is and how Ukraine loves to send interesting entries. Eight acts took the stage to compete for the first three slots in for the final on 22 February 2020.

The running order for the night was as follows:

  1. [O]
  2. Jerry Heil
  3. Katya Chilly
  4. Krutь
  5. Go-A
  6. Cloudless
  7. Gio
  8. Assol

Let’s take a quick look at the acts:

[O] – Tam, kudy ya ydu

They had incredible staging, it felt like a video game crept onto the Vidbir stage and then took over with a virtual cityscape. The rendition sounded identical to the studio version and their striking color palette made them standout, even in the neon-colored visual spectacle. They gave an extremely fun and current performance and truly embraced the weirdness in a moving manner.

Jerry Heil – Vegan

I will admit, this song was not my favorite coming into the competition, but the performance blew me away. I had thought the song was closer to a joke entry, but it quickly showed that it was much more than that, it was a full-on social commentary. All the while, it was graphically and aesthetically pleasing while also hilarious.

Katya Chilly – Pich

This was the only song I had no prior exposure until the night of Vidbir, and thankfully so because this song needs that staging to explain the beauty of its message. This song and its presentation was like Katya took the Rites of Spring, added animal sounds, modern instrumentation and stunning visuals. The only way I could describe this song is visceral because all who saw must have has some kind of a reaction.

Krutь – 99

Few songs had made me think about the future of Eurovision performances as this one did. The reason being its beautiful integration of visual story-telling to the song, similar to Ukraine in 2011, helping cement in new trend in Eurovision. Krutь gave a beautiful rendition and could barely contain the excitement. She also played her harp guitar like there was no tomorrow, a beautiful performance all around.

Go-A – Solovey

Solovey, began as one of the favorites to win this semi-final, and their performance did not disappoint. While comparatively pared back in the visuals, mostly relying a beautiful traditional-looking motif, the energy and lighting really helped show the dynamism of the performance. On the stage you could see how this song strove and succeeded at unifying traditional elements with a modern composition.

Cloudless – Drown Me Down

If you want a song with an edge, then “Drown Me Down” might be what you are looking for. The punk-rock aesthetic went super well with the black and white staging that morphs from the abstract to the conceptual. This song was a total vibe and came to smoke the competition (this is a pun because they ended with a flurry of smoke machines).

Gio – Feeling So Lost

Gio had a more stripped down performance to match the authentic and minimalist aura of the song. He stood with his guitar and gave a beautiful rendition of his song while the background and audience filled the studio with lights. You can totally feel how much this song and this moment means to him.

Assol – Save It

Arguably, Assol had one of the most striking beginning sequences that led into a great visual spectacle. She made sure that her message for environmental consciousness was not lost in the modern pop song. Her voice, and that of her backing vocalists, excelled and sounded just like the studio cut. This was quite the energetic way to end a strong semi-final.

Voting for Vidbir 2020 is a 50/50 split between the juries and the televote. The juries and the public both assign an act to receive their top score of 8 points, and will assign the remaining acts a point value from 7 down to 1.

At the end of the night, Krutь, Go-A, and Jerry Heil were announced as the qualifiers for the final. The full point totals from tonight are posted below (bold means qualified).

  1. [O]: 5 points
  2. Jerry Heil: 13 points
  3. Katya Chilly: 7 points
  4. Krutь: 16 points
  5. Go-A: 13 points
  6. Cloudless: 10 points
  7. Gio: 6 points
  8. Assol: 2 points

What do #YOU think about the results from tonight’s semi-final? Did your favorite act make it though?  Let us know in the comments, on our forum, or on social media!

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