The Shortlist (8): Ukraine

Who are the big favorites for Stockholm? In the next couple of weeks we will highlight some interesting participants, based on the odds they have been given by the bookmakers. This week we are providing a shortlist of the four countries that lead the board in the second semi final. Today’s report is about Ukraine.

Susana Jamaladinova was born in Kyrgyzstan to Crimean parents. Once Ukraine became independent her family moved back to their homeland of Crimea in Ukraine. Susana spent her childhood singing traditional Crimean folk songs where her vocal talent gained exposure and she gained her first professional recording at the age of nine.

Jamala is no stranger to representing her country at a world music event when in 2009 she sang “History Repeating” at the New Wave Song Contest winning the event. Jamala also entered the Ukrainian national selection in 2011 with “Shine” which famously resulted in Jamala withdrawing from the selection after allegations of vote rigging arose for Mika Newton’s “Angel”.

The year 2016 saw the return of Jamala who entered the Ukrainian national selection. During the selection, Jamala received the highest votes from televotes and 2nd highest from jury alongside a 45 second standing ovation from juror Ruslana who valued the message that the song would provide to Europe.

Her song “1944” is a chilling ethnic, ballad song that summarises the pain and conflict faced by Ukrainians (specifically Crimeans) in the official setting of 1944 and the Soviet Red Army’s deportation of nearly 250,000 Crimean Tatars in 1944. In different media, Jamala noted that 1944 is not only about the past. When she sings it, she said, she remembers her own family. The song is sung mainly in English with the chorus in Tatar in which she sings verses from the unofficial anthem of Crimean. Jamala’s impressive vocal range and piercing tone provides an impressively moving performance that with the right performance and focus could send a strong message in May.

Explaining the odds
Ukraine is standing around 7th place with most bookmakers when it comes to predicting the winner. Odds are roughly 25-to-1, which means a possible return of 25€ if you bet 1€ on Ukraine to win the contest.

Odds are that Ukraine will maintain its 100% qualification record in the competition, and bookmakers agree on this, giving Jamala very short qualification odds in the second semi final.