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From Vidbir to Eurovision: Ukraine's Thrilling Path to the Grand Stage

By: Angelo A. S. Blais

Culture is the manifestation of a people's way of life. While culinary traditions hold a unique experience for regional palates, and subcultures help define emerging societal ideals and movements, artistic cultures, on the other hand, explore the creative expressions crafted by specific groups of people. Vidbir has become a renowned platform for showcasing Ukraine's vast musical culture, while also boasting the illustrious privilege of determining who will represent Ukraine at Eurovision. With its rich history and captivating performances, Vidbir has established itself as one of the most significant cultural events in the country. Let's delve into its captivating world, where one witnesses the birth of stars.

Vidbir 2024 Contestants

Premiering in 2016, Vidbir was created with the express goal of acting as the nation's official selection process for Eurovision. It quickly gained popularity for promoting original compositions and a wide range of musical genres. All the while, Vidbir was allowing hot, upcoming artists to explode onto the world scene, like Kalush Orchestra (2022) or Jamala (2016), both of whom would go on to be crowned victors of Eurovision. Today, Vidbir has evolved into a celebration of Ukrainian artists, fostering creativity and nurturing emerging musical talents.

With broadcasting scheduled for February 3rd, this annual competition will captivate millions of viewers live on television and on Youtube. Ukrainian social media has already been flooded with reaction videos and group discussions about the 11 songs nominated this year. The esteemed judges, elected through popular vote, consist of Eurovision 2016 winner Jamala, Eurovision 2007 winner Andrii Danylko, also known as the drag star Verka Serduchka, and Serhiy Tanchynets of the rock band Bez Obmezhen. The contest will unfold over a series of live shows, mesmerizing audiences with electrifying performances accompanied by exclusive interviews giving us insight into the unique quirks and captivating stories of the performers. And as elimination rounds begin, slowly but surely, we will eventually be left with only two top finalists. And currently, only one artist stands as the clear fan favorite among the eleven musical gems participating in Vidbir.

Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil, with their hit song “Teresa & Maria,” are dominating the polls on "" with a whopping 60% show of favoritism amongst voters. The song currently holds nearly 5.5 millions views online, and it is at the top of the Shazam Ukraine Charts. And rightfully so. Their song is packed with enchanting melodies that exemplify their soothing yet powerful voices. Many expect that they will reach the show's finale and possibly emerge as the winners. Yet, that is not to say that this duo will lay claim to victory without having to face tough competition. Other hot picks include Mélovin's high-energy, English-worded pop song “Dreamer” and Nahaba's dark, guttural rap hit “GLASSS”. Undoubtedly, sparks will fly as these artists vie for victory.

Jerry Heil(left) and Alyona Alyona(right)

The acclaimed Vidbir competition holds immense cultural importance for Ukraine. Beyond determining its representative at Eurovision, the contest showcases the country's thriving music scene and serves as a platform for artistic expression. Vidbir not only unites Ukrainians through their shared love for music but also promotes cultural diversity and encourages the exploration of new sounds and genres. It has become a celebration of Ukrainian identity and a testament to the nation's artistic prowess.

The name "Vidbir" holds significant meaning in Ukrainian as well. Translated to English, "Vidbir" means "selection" or "choosing." This name encapsulates the essence of the contest, as Vidbir serves as the national selection process for Ukraine's representative at Eurovision. It represents the country's careful and thoughtful process of selecting the artist who will proudly represent Ukraine on the international stage. The name "Vidbir" also carries broader cultural connotations, symbolizing the importance of choice in Ukrainian society. Vidbir signifies the power that music has to unite, inspire, and uplift. It signifies the proud, beating heart of Ukrainian art. With its meaningful name and impressive roster of artists, Vidbir 2024 promises to be an extraordinary showcase of Ukrainian talent, embodying the spirit of choice, creativity, and cultural pride.


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