Vidbir – Semi 1 preview

So this Saturday night, Ukraine will hold the first heat of Vidbir. And who will be playing?

The Hypnotunez

First of all, what have I said about using unnecessary “z”s in your name to prove that you’re quirky and fun? It means you are trying to hard, and that I can add your name to the list of to-be-shamed acts like Zibbz and The Divaz.

Secondly, what did we learn from Eurovision 2016? That’s right. Never send electroswing. Nothing is more embarassing than watching some old-timey hipsters trying to sound like they deserve to be playing in a speakeasy. Just go become EDM djs and at least produce something with a beat, will you?

Finally, in most of the videos I’ve seen of this band, the bass player/lead singer is not wearing a shirt. Normally, I wouldn’t complain about that sort of thing, but COME ON MAN. If you’re going to commit to an aesthetic, don’t ruin it with your bare torso. Again, you can do that type of thing if you’re an EDM DJ, but not if you’re trying to recreate the sounds of a time when women couldn’t even wear skirts with hemlines above the knee.


Letay (or LETAY? The capitalisation is inconsistent) produces large, arena-rock sounds, but acts like a YouTube prankster? I can’t tell. Imagine a goofier looking Adam Levine actually being the funny one in his videos, and you might have a good sense of Letay. I worry that the sound might be too much of a group thing to do well as Eurovision, but his kooky persona might win over the crowds. This one will all depend on staging.

Vera Kekelia – Wow!

Kudos to Vera Kekelia for having the audio of her song be available prior to Vidbir. And I’m going to turn around and take those kudos back immediately for the completely unnecessary exclamation point in the title of your song.

Look, you’ve created a lovely mid-90s alt singer songwriter world music kind of thing. I could see you touring as the opening act for Natalie Merchant or headlining an arty downtown club. But your song is only a Wow. It hasn’t earned that exclamation point, either in the delivery or build of the song.

I like this song. I like the risks that Vidbir is taking with this artist. I like her voice. But I think that it’ll be popular with the juries, and not the audience.

Tse Sho


Tse Sho has come to show all of us how to be weird in Eurovision. Tse Sho is described as a ‘puppet cabaret’ where each member has her (mostly her) or his own puppet doppelganger. Every band member wears glasses, yellow overalls, and a beanie hat. The whole thing looks like a senior thesis art project and I LOVE IT. This is strangeness – like there’s an entire part of the song above that’s just breathing – that transcends tweeness and is just people doing what they love for the hell of it. More like this, and Vidbir is going to become the new Eesti Laul!


Yeah, with the inclusion of Yuko, Vidbir has officially become more Eesti Laul than Eesti Laul. Yuko is a breathy manic pixie dream girl over an synth background and this is amazingly awful – like the type of thing that would be performing in the background of an art gallery that I’d feel pressured to watch for a few minutes out of politeness.

Needless to say, I love this and wholeheartedly endorse its inclusion in Vidbir. It’s no puppet cabaret, and it shouldn’t go to Tel Aviv, but I can’t wait to see how it’s staged.


Look, I love Maruv as much as the next person, but I am a little worried about how she’s going to pull off some of these high floaty notes at the same time she’s doing her low breathy bits. We’ve seen the high floaty notes kill many a wannabe dance diva at Eurovision, and I want – very much want- Maruv to succeed. If she goes to Tel Aviv, that means I get to pack my fringed hat, and quite frankly, it doesn’t get that much wear.

Maruv is the favourite of Vidbir so far, and I’m hoping she will make the final.

Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Jesus, this semifinal of Vidbir is just getting better and better. I find Brunettes Shoot Blondes to be a little gimmicky with their videos, but they have some absolutely solid indie rock sounds that I can imagine being on my mopey playlists of my youth (or synth playlists, based on their previous stuff). And I suppose since they are so original in their videos, they would do a hell of a job staging a spectacle in Tel Aviv.

Bahroma – Назавжди-Навсегда

And thank god, we close Vidbir out with a standard indie-pop sounding band that is great for soothing a commute. I don’t think I can take any more weird indie music that will capture and eventually break my heart!

In a year when I’m pushing for an all-banger Eurovision, I can safely ignore this act- which is good, because semifinal 1 has so much fantastic stuff! Again guys – no hard feelings. You’re just not for me.

FINAL ANALYSIS: If three acts go through to the final, as is what happened in Vidbir last year, I’m rooting for Tse Sho, Maruv, and Yuko, so we can bring the weird.

More likely, it’s going to be Maruv, Brunettes Shoot Blondes, and either Bahroma or Vera Kekelia.

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