Photo credit: Suspilne
On 9th November, it was announced that 20 acts had made the longlist for Ukraine‘s Eurovision song selection contest Vidbir. With today being the day Suspilne announced the 10 artists progressing to the national final, we’re here to bring you everything you need to know about them and their musical careers so far.
While the song titles for the 10 finalists have been announced, we will not hear their songs until January. This is so focus can be given to the potential wildcard acts, so do not despair if your favourite just missed out! An eleventh finalist will be selected through the Ukrainian public voting on the Diia app in December. They will be able to choose their favourite of the wildcard acts by watching their Vidbir audition. The only exception to this is Julia Belei, who withdrew her entry when she did not progress to the final. The winner of this vote will be announced on Friday 29th December.
In the meantime, read on to find out more about the 10 official Vidbir finalists and the wildcards competing for a chance to join them in the final.
alyona alyona & Jerry Heil
Aliona Olehivna Savranenko, known as alyona alyona, is a 32-year-old rapper from Kapitanivka in the Kirovorhad Oblast (region) of Ukraine. The former kindergarten teacher released her debut album ‘Pushka’ in 2019 which has drawn her comparisons to Azealia Banks from The New York Times and with Vogue saying in their 2019 feature on her:
She’s a regular girl spouting off lyrics about regular things, not drugs, money, or some beef. Savranenko doesn’t like those topics. “I speak about myself and about people who I know, who are next to me, normal Ukrainian people and young people,” she says. “I speak that people need to accept us as we are and need to believe in us and let us do what we want to become and do what we want. I talk about how we become tired of telephones, and how we want to run away somewhere where we can play music. I talk about how I moved and left our homes and we are sad and miss our homes. Normal things.”‘Meet Alyona Alyona, Ukraine’s Most Unlikely Rap Star’ by Liana Satenstein, April 2019
Joining her is Jerry Heil, who Eurofans will recognise from her previous Vidbir entries. In 2020, she sent the entry ‘Vegan’ which placed sixth and in 2022 she competed with ‘When God Shut the Door’, which placed third overall and is considered a fan favourite to this day.
Although this will be their first time competing at Vidbir as a duo, alyona alyona and Jerry Heil have already collaborated on a number of occasions. Their most recent song was ‘Екзамен’ (‘Exam’) which you can listen to below:
Could the pair go on to represent Ukraine in Malmö this May with their entry ‘Teresa & Maria’?
Drevo Maks Derevyanchuk, known simply as Drevo, is a 21-year-old singer originally from Varash in Rivne Oblast. He has released a handful of music videos to his YouTube channel in the past 9 months. His July 2023 single ‘Самолітом’ (‘By Plane’) has accumulated over 1.2 million views on YouTube at the time of writing. You can watch it below to get a feel for his music:
Of his music, Drevo says:
Each of my songs depicts my life in one way or another. I don’t write fictional stories. But I know that we all read the book in our own way, and it opens from different angles. Therefore, I wish you to find yourself in my work and thank you for listening.Drevo, YouTube channel
Will Drevo get the chance to share his story on the Eurovision stage with the song ‘Endless Chain’?
Ingret Kostenko, billed as INGRET, is a Ukranian-German singer who was born in Vinnytsia and currently lives in Germany due to the war, where she has collaborated with Ukrainian artists Constantine and Tonka in the charity project Music. Support. Freedom. Together, the group have given charity concerts in European cities, the proceeds of which have gone to military, humanitarian and cultural needs, medical institutions, and children’s funds at the Masterskaya Volunteer Centre in Kyiv.
Ingret has participated in Ukrainian editions of The X Factor and The Voice as part of her musical career. However, Eurofans may also recognise her from the 2018 edition of Vidbir, where she competed with the song ‘Save My Planet’, which placed 7th overall. You can remind yourself of this below:
Hoping for another chance to represent Ukraine at Eurovision with her song ‘Keeper’, will Ingret be successful?
In a competition full of emerging artists, Eurofans will have a familiar face with MÉLOVIN. A former winner of the Ukrainian editions of both The X Factor and The Masked Singer, MÉLOVIN is best known amongst Eurofans as Ukraine’s representative in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with his song ‘Under the Ladder’. While MÉLOVIN placed 17th in the Grand Final, his appearance in the contest brought him international recognition and fans.
MÉLOVIN was recently rocked by a diagnosis of diabetes, leading many fans to wonder whether he would participate in Vidbir at all. However, as well as being a confirmed finalist, he has also been promoting his latest single, ‘Один Не Один’ (‘One Not One’), on social media. You can check out a live performance of this below:
Could we see MÉLOVIN perform on a Eurovision stage yet again with his song ‘DREAMER’? We’ll have to wait to find out.
NAHABA are a male and female duo who blend a vast array of genres into something truly mind-blowing. Take their August 2023 single ‘хулі хулі’ (‘Blasphemy Blasphemy’) which combines folk, metal and techno elements. You can listen to this below:
NAHABA are sure to bring something memorable to the stage with their song ‘GLASSS’. Could we be seeing it in Malmö?
Consisting of Pavlo Gots and Yaroslav Yarovenko, who are also members of the folk rock band Joryj Kłoc, NAZVA call themselves a ‘Galician-Donbas band’ and describe their style as ‘alternative ethnoart chaos’. Their December 2022 single ‘СІҐЕЛЕ-МІҐЕЛЕ’ (‘Siguele-Miguele’), from their self-titled debut album, reached number 1 in the Ukrainian Shazam chart in its first month of release. You can watch the music video for this below:
Eurofans may recognise a familiar face in this video, with the keyboardist of 2017 representatives O. Torvald making an appearance. Could NAZVA follow in the band’s footsteps with their Vidbir entry ‘Slavic English’?
SKYLERR is a musician who is perhaps best known for the single ‘Вечорниці (Добрий день everybody)’ (‘Evening (Good Afternoon Everybody)’). To date the song, which was released in collaboration with the Ukrainian hip-hop duo 100litsya in December 2022, has received over 4.3 million views on YouTube. You can watch the video below:
SKYLERR will perform her song ‘Time is Running Out’ at Vidbir. Will it be her ticket to Sweden?
YAGÓDY are a Ukrainian theatre and music group from Lviv. They consist of Zoryana Dybovska, Sofia Lesyshak, Tetyana Voitiv and Nadia Paraschuk, all of whom sing and play either percussion instruments or the accordion. They play traditional Ukrainian folk music, as evidenced in their exhilarating live performance of ‘Чорноморець’ (‘Chornomorets’), which you can watch below:
It’s no secret that leaning into the ethno-cultural elements of your country’s music goes down a storm in Eurovision. With this in mind, could we see YAGÓDY perform their song ‘Tsunamia’ in Sweden?
Yaroslav Mykolaiovych Karpuk, known professionally as YAKTAK, is just 18-years-old but has had a love for music from a very young age, with both his grandparents teaching at music schools. In 2019, he took part in the Ukrainian edition of The Voice Kids, placing second overall and he has gone on to win a number of prizes at music festivals since, including at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. He has dueted with a number of famous Ukrainian musicians, including fellow finalist Jerry Heil. As a solo act, he performs in the pop and hip-hop genres, as evidenced in his latest single ‘Поруч’ (‘Near’) which you can listen to below:
Vidbir will the perfect opportunity for this young, upcoming artist to showcase his musical talents and his song ‘Lalala’. Could we also be seeing him on a Eurovision stage very soon?
Ziferblat are an art rock band consisting of twin brothers Danyil Leschinsky (vocals) and Valentyn Leschinsky (guitar), as well as drummer Fedir Khodakov. They released their debut album ‘Перетворення’ (‘Transformation’) in April 2023 which includes the 80s-inspired track ‘Диско-Фанко’ (‘Disco-Funko’). You can listen to this below:
Can we expect something equally catchy when Ziferblat take to the Vidbir stage in February with their song ‘Place I Call Home’?
Anka Korchenova has been releasing music under the name KORCHENOVA for the past year but is making her Vidbir debut under the name ANKA with the song ‘Палала’ (‘Burned’). You can listen to this below:
Hoping for a second chance, can she make a lasting impression with televoters and join the ten finalists?
Eurofans will undoubtedly recognise Vlad Kurochka, also known as Carpetman, for his breakdancing with Kalush Orchestra, helping them to secure the Eurovision win with ‘Stefania’ in 2022.
Performing as a solo act under his alias, Carpetman is hoping to represent Ukraine at Eurovision for a second time. His music contains more soul and blues elements than the hip hop and folk associated with Kalush Orchestra. You can see this in his Vidbir entry, ‘Endless Fight’, below:
Will voters give Carpetman another chance to grace the Eurovision stage once again?
Named after an individual’s complete set of chromosomes, and calling themselves the ‘private laborartory of Ukrainian pop music production’, KARYOTYPE are a rock band. Their Vidbir entry ‘Sadness’ contains upbeat pop elements and deals with overthrowing the negative thoughts that can overwhelm us. You can listen to it below:
Will we get another opportunity see the band grace the Vidbir stage for the first time?
Anastasiia Zavadska performs under the stage name KRYLATA, meaning ‘winged’. She is a singer, dancer and pianist and has been performing since she was a young girl. She is best known for her single ‘Генератор’ (‘Generator’) which garnered some viral recognition on TikTok. Her Vidbir entry ‘Queen’ is an empowering pop number and contains both Ukrainian and English. You can listen to it below:
Still a young performer, KRYLATA will be hoping to make her mark on the Ukrainian music scene and Vidbir could be the perfect opportunity to do just that. Will she get another chance?
Ilya Parfeniuk, simply billed PARFENIUK, is a hip-hop musician based in Kyiv who became recognised on the Ukrainian music scene when his single ‘Провела екскурсію’ (‘Had a Tour’) reached number 1 on Apple’s hip-hop and rap charts and became part of a trend on TikTok in Ukraine. His Vidbir entry ‘Серед вітрів’ (‘Among the Winds’) continues with the upbeat pop music he is known for. You can listen to the song below:
Are you hoping to hear from PARFENIUK again?
Maryna Shchepiienko, billed as SHÉPA, divides her time between Kyiv and London, working as an account executive in the latter. However, SHÉPA also makes music, including her Vidbir entry ‘Supernova’ which is sung in English. You can listen to it below:
SHÉPA is hoping to be the eleventh Vidbir finalist and has confirmed she will continue to release new music regardless of the result. Will we get a chance to hear from her again?
Anastasiia Chaban, known as STASYA, is best-known for having recently competed in the Ukrainian edition of The Voice, where she was mentored by Kalush Orchestra songwriter Ivan Klymenko and placed third overall. Her Vidbir entry ‘Rika’ (‘River’) includes both folk and electropop elements. You can listen to it below:
It is clear STASYA is a promising young musician but will she get another chance to perform at Vidbir?
Kateryna Ihorivna Taranenko is known professionally as SWOIIA (meaning ‘one’s own’) but has also released music under the stage name Assol. She has been performing onstage since the age of three and in 2016, she participated in The Voice. She has competed in Vidbir before, back in 2020 with her entry ‘Save It’, although she did not progress to the show’s final. She is back again with he song ‘Little Angels’ which you can listen to below:
Could SWOIIA win the televote and get another chance to perform in a Vidbir final?
Alexander Teslenko, billed simply as TESLENKO, released his debut album ‘хімія’ (‘Chemistry’) this spring. His Vidbir entry ‘Lights Go Up’ starts off as a ballad but quickly transforms into a chorus with dance elements. You can listen to this below:
Will TELSENKO be given another chance to perform at Vidbir?
So there you have the 10 finalists and 9 potential wildcard acts participating in Vidbir 2024! Who are you rooting for? Who do you hope to see in the final? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments and follow us on all our socials.