Mika Newton: An Unlikely "Angel" for Ukraine
The next song selected for Düsseldorf was the Ukrainian entry. After months of preselections, heats, semifinals, rumors, and innuendo, most observant Eurofans had assumed that the golden ticket would fall into the hands of one of three women: Zlata Ognevich, Jamala, or Anastasiya Prikhodko. Zlata’s upbeat “The Kukushka” was a perfect dance-pop number that fit in nicely with Ukraine’s Eurovision history (think “Shady Lady”, “Be My Valentine”, “Show Me Your Love”, etc). Jamala’s quirky “Smile” was an imaginative and unique offering unlike any other song in the National Selection (or any other, for that matter). And the lure of bringing in Anastasiya, who had represented Russia back in 2009, was a pretty big temptation, as well, even if her song “Action” didn’t show off very much of her vocals.
So, did the victory go to Zlata, Jamala, or Anastasiya?
Turns out, it went to none of the above! In a shock win, Mika Newton’s ballad “Angel” took the maximum points from the jury, audience text voting, and the online vote. I’m still not sure what to think of this turn of events…I had been rooting for Zlata, in all honesty. The Ukrainians had a number of unique, catchy, and creative songs that might have landed them at the top of the leaderboard in Germany, but they went for a slow ballad with little standalone personality. It’s still unclear whether Mika will sing in English or Ukrainian (she’s recorded the song in both, although she performed the English version at the Preselection yesterday). I personally hope she goes for the Ukrainian, as her English isn’t quite intelligible, and keeping it in her native language might give the song some measure of authenticity. Regardless, she looks lovely and sings well, it’s just that the song doesn’t make it up to par.
(UPDATE!: Continuing with the longstanding tradition of confusion and possible corruption in Ukrainian Eurovision proceedings, the validity of Mika’s victory as been thrown into question. Allegations of power-voting from the televote and online poll have arisen, and even one of the jurors wants an in-depth investigation of the weekend’s proceedings. Complicating matters even further, Mika herself has said that she wants to switch her song “Angel” out for a new one, written by “My Heart Will Go On” producer Walter Afanasieff. So, will the ticket go to Zlata or Jamala after all? Everything’s still very much up in the air in Kiev, and I’ll try to keep you all as informed as possible as quickly as possible!)