Ukraine: Jamala with ‘1944’ to Stockholm

Singer Jamala has gained the Ukrainian ticket to Eurovision. There were six strong contenders in the competition, but Jamala won with her song 1944. The Hardkiss ended on a second place and SunSay took the third place. The final took place at the STB Studios in HostomelKiev Oblast.

With English lyrics and a chorus in Crimean Tatar, Jamala’s song tells the story of 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. “Now the Crimean Tatars are on occupied territory,” she said. “And it is very hard for them. They are under tremendous pressure.”

During the national final of Ukraine, there were some chaotic moments. For example, there was a heavy discussion between jury members Konstantin and Andriy about the participation of SunSay. Is their song against the Eurovision rules? Striking detail: on YouTube, you can see several performances of the song released before the 1st of September 2015. Singer and jury member Ruslana also joined the discussion: “Eurovision rule is that the song can’t be published before September 1. We can’t close our eyes on it.”

In the end, the jury results could not have been closer at the top: both The Hardkiss as Jamala ended with 11 points each. The televoters were then decisive and they gave Jamala the highest score, with almost 50% of the entire audience voting for “1944”. 

Prior to the 2016 Contest, Ukraine had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest twelve times since its first entry in 2003. The second time in 2004 was the most successful one. With a mixture of English and Ukrainian lyrics, the ethnic song Wild Dances from Ruslana became the first Eurovision winner for Ukraine. Following the introduction of semi-finals, Ukraine had managed to qualify to final in every contest they participated in thus far. Will Jamala bring Ukraine the second victory?

Below you can see a video of Jamala’s winning performance: