2018 Eurovision Reviews – Ukraine

After successfully hosting the contest for the second time, Ukraine are back to reality, and that reality is having to compete for their place in the Grand Final. After a competitive national final, it was decided that Melovin would go to Eurovision with his song Under the Ladder, but can it reach the heights of Jamala in 2016 and give Ukraine another win?

After several attempts to compete in the X Factor Ukraine, this year’s Ukrainian representative Melovin finally made it through to the final where he ended up winning the competition. This follows the same path that many of this year’s competitors followed, but as a result of the competition, Melovin has grown a serious fan base, and perhaps this is what helped him win the Ukrainian national final. Was it the right choice? Well, I’m still not too sure.

This is definitely an interesting song from Ukraine, and even though I’ve listened to it a number of times, I still can’t tell if I like it or not. There are certainly some redeeming features of the song, as much as there are some serious downfalls. In terms of the positives, I think that the song is quite theatrical which has given it the potential for a big stage performance. I wouldn’t say that this song is dark, but it certainly has this tension about it whilst still being in the pop realm. Melodically it’s catchy, especially in the choruses and this is obviously a huge positive.

However, the clear downfall to this song is that even though the melody is strong, the enunciation of the English lyrics is essentially impossible to understand. Yes, ok, he doesn’t speak English – but why sing a song in English? I think this song displays the worst case scenario for non-English speaker singing in English, as it is completely unclear of what he is singing about. Even looking at the lyrics, it’s totally ambiguous of what the song is about to the point that the lyrics may as well have been in Ukrainian and we would have understood just the same.

Perhaps I’m being too critical, but the point is that without being able to understand the lyrics comes the fact that it is just so hard to connect with this song. Melodically it’s fine, but there will be that barrier for as long as we can’t understand the message of the song, and it’s a message that isn’t coming across even with the stage performance.

As most of my reviews have been written before the rehearsal period, I want to give all the acts a fair playing field. Since I have seen the rehearsal and staging for this song, I don’t want to comment too much on that, but what I will say is that the performance is definitely playing on the theatrical and dramatic nature of this song.

All aboard… the flaming piano train!

I think this has potential to qualify and most likely will qualify, but in the final I can’t see it making a big impact. Perhaps this year we would have been better off with a national language song, but it’s certainly not Ukraine’s worst entry, by far.

Our rating: 7/10

If you support the Ukraine at Eurovision, make sure to vote for Melovin in our poll! Watch his official video below, and follow our Eurovision 2018 playlist on Spotify.