Zlata Ognevich for Ukraine
Another early-decider for the 2013 ESC was Ukraine, who held their National final during the morning of Sunday, December 23. Following a 19-song (after one disqualification) event, one song stood head-and-shoulders above the others, winning a maximum score from both the public televote and the jury’s scores. The third try was truly the charm for the lovely Zlata Ognevich, who will be taking the dramatic ballad “Gravity” to Malmö this spring.
Zlata, who was actually born in Murmansk (in what is now extreme-northern Russia), had previously come in 5th place with her 2010 attempt to represent Ukraine in Oslo, “Tiny Island“. The next year, she was the runner-up in the hotly-disputed National Final for Düsseldorf, with “The Kukushka” falling just short of Mika Newton’s “Angel” and beating out the highly-tipped “Smile” by the kooky-cute Jamala. However, performing what seems to be a missing song from the “Lion King” soundtrack worked wonders for Miss Ognevich, and she finally won the golden ticket to the big show.
Since this is only the sixth song we’ve heard for this year’s roster, it’s hard to predict where “Gravity” will take Zlata. However, Ukraine is one of only a few countries who have qualified for the Final every year since the Semifinals were enacted (alongside Greece, Russia, Romania, and, up until 2013, Bosnia and Herzegovina). Furthermore, this is the first ballad that we’ve heard for this year, and Zlata’s voice has been consistently strong. Between the voting trend, the singer’s ability, and Ukraine’s tendency to go for some majorly over-the-top staging, I have a pretty decent feeling we’ll be seeing this on Eurovision Saturday.
But what do you think?