Ukraine has a lengthy history at Junior Eurovision, with a win under their belt alongside a number of Top 5 finishes. Hoping to bring Ukraine back to the Top 5 this year is Oleksandr Balabanov with his song Vidkryvai which was selected through an online national final.
Song + Vocals
Last year, Ukraine was represented by Sophia Ivanko and her entry, The Spirit of Music, a unique song unlike any of the previous Ukrainian entries. Despite placing fairly low on the results table (unjustified, if you ask me), it was good to see Ukraine step outside the box and send something alternative to Junior Eurovision. This year, the nation is in a similar boat with Oleksandr and his entry, Vidkryvai. This entry is not at all what you would expect to hear at Junior Eurovision – but is that a positive or negative?
Considering Junior Eurovision is directed towards a younger demographic, I don’t know that Vidkryvai will really appeal to that age group. This is not a formulaic song, and while it does have a nice melody, it’s not exactly boasting the same earworm abilities as other entries this year, such as Spain or France.
As someone outside of that demographic, I actually really enjoy this song. The jazz undertones in the backing music provide an interesting contrast with his vocals, but as a package, it all works. I enjoy the fact that you can listen to this song, and not know where it’s going next. The pauses throughout the song really keep you on edge, waiting for what’s on the other side.
We’ve heard Oleksandr perform this live in his national final video, and he is a very strong vocalist. He hits every note with confidence, and that makes me eager to see the full performance on the Junior Eurovision stage.
Act + Performance
I really enjoyed the stage show from Ukraine’s performance last year, and I hope they can deliver something equal in quality. Looking back at the national final performance, while it wasn’t a professionally produced music video, there are aspects that could actually work really well on the Junior Eurovision stage. I like how they used mirrors to change the perspective, where you think the camera is pointing directly as Oleksandr, but rather it’s a mirror shot. Imagine that on a bigger scale – I think that would look so great on camera at Junior Eurovision!
I think this song is probably too niche for Junior Eurovision as was last year’s entry from Ukraine, but nonetheless it’s actually one of my favourite songs of this year’s competition. It could definitely surprise and reach the top end of the table, but it’s one of those entries where it’s hard to predict right up until the votes come in.
If you support Ukraine at Junior Eurovision this year, vote in our Poll here.