Ukraine have had mixed success at Junior Eurovision over the years with their best result being a win back in 2012. Over the last few years however, the nation has slipped down the results table. This year it will be up to Darina Krasnovetska to bring Ukraine another great result with her song Say Love, but will the audiences love the entry?
This year’s Ukrainian national final for Junior Eurovision was an odd one. The selection was held online with the public able to vote, but in the end it was only acting as a guide to which the jury would make their final decision. In the end, Darina won the competition even though she didn’t top the online vote, but let’s just say thank god for the juries on this one.
Say Love is perhaps one of the best entries from Ukraine, period. In fact, it is my clear favourite from the Ukrainian Junior Eurovision line up. From the first listen, this song really captured my attention for various reasons, with the first being Darina’s incredible voice. She comes across as a natural performer, calm and collected, and certainly not afraid to show her strength not only through her voice but also the way she moves on stage (or in this case, through the music video).
What also struck me about this song is just how contemporary the song is, but also that it’s incredibly edgy. This is the type of song that a lot of people will enjoy, but it’s not a stock standard pop song. Ukraine haven’t been afraid of taking risks at Junior Eurovision, and this is a nice balance between risk and reward.
The song begins in an understated way, but then we are hit with the punchy chorus which is where Darina’s incredible vocals are given a chance to shine. The post-chorus megaphone part is also an interesting way to break up the song, but I think it suits the song really well. The way that the song transitions from part to part might be jarring for some, but I think it adds to the edginess of the song.
We’ve seen hints of what Ukraine will be doing for the staging of this entry, with that being a similar vibe to the music video and I do think that keeping it simple is the perfect way to let this song shine. Darina can command the stage solo, and the simple lighting will in fact be more impactful than an over the top staging. The message of the song is adequately conveyed through the chorus which features some English, and so it removes the need for the staging to try and convey the message.
This is certainly one of the best songs of this edition of the contest, and I think it is bound to do very well on the night. I will be surprised if this doesn’t crack into the Top 5, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins the contest overall, but with some fierce competition, I can’t be too sure of that. This is a 10/10 for me!