Features🇺🇦 Ukraine

🇺🇦 Xtra Insider 2020: We Review Ukraine!

Welcome to Xtra Insider, our new series which will give you an insight into how well each country was statistically likely to do this year, as well as what the team at ESCXTRA think of your favourite entries into (what would have been) this year’s contest! Today, we analyse and review Ukraine.

Yes, this year’s contest has been cancelled…but that doesn’t mean we can’t love the songs! In this series, we’ll review each and every entry that would have taken part in this year’s Eurovision. On top of this, we’re introducing a new analysis section in which we take a look into each country’s history and how likely they would have been to do well this year. Our honest and brutal reviews and analysis will keep you entertained throughout what would’ve been the Eurovision season! We will also each give points using the usual Eurovision points system (12, 10, then 8 down to 1), and create an ESCXTRA leaderboard of the entries!

Today, we’ll be giving analysis and reviews of the Ukrainian entry, ‘Solovey’ by Go_A, from Luke, Nathan P, Riccardo, Sami, Tom R and Wiv. Let’s get started!

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Ukraine’s history at Eurovision

Ukraine made their debut in 2003 and participated a total of 15 times. Together with Australia, Ukraine is the only country, that always qualified for the final outside the Big 5. They already scored two victories so far in 2004 and 2016. In the 21st century, Ukraine has a total of six Top 5 placings. Only Sweden and Russia scored more so far. Ukraine used a national final since 2005 and Vidbir since 2016. Their two lowest placings in the competition (19 & 24 in the final) are their results, when the contest was on homeground. In their entries they partly used a total of four different languages to date.

This year’s entry

Taras Shevchenko first had the idea to combine modern music with ethnic sounds in 2011 but it was until 2012 till she actually started with musicians. The band name Go_A means “return to the roots” with combining the English word “Go” and the Greek letter “Alpha”, which stands for the beginning of everything. In 2015 they won the competition “The Best Track” in Ukraine. In 2016 their debut album followed. With their 2020 entry “Solovey” they were the first act, that got the top scores from the jury and the televote in Vidbir. After the cancellation of ESC 2020 they were announced to represent Ukraine in 2021!

How does this kind of song tend to do in the contest?

Ukraine is known for sending songs that stand out in their style and often are mixed with ethnic sounds. Songs like Ukraine’s 2020 entry are therefore performing very well in the competition.

The Reviews


This one is proving difficult for me…this was at one point my favourite but I think it’s now slipped to around 16th? The original version I thought was beautifully ethnic and mysterious, but particularly since the revamp, I’ve started feeling that this is nothing but screamy. It’s like I’m being tortured for information, and I want to give it but I don’t know what it is. Just end me already please!

Nathan P

When East meets West. This is a superb blend of traditional slaviv vocal chanting and more tradititional (by today’s music standards) EDM. This is wht Pali Se tried to be and more. She despite not showing any outward emotion really does have a commanding precense on stage with her vocal delivery. I feel like she truly belivesin what she is conveying. It is refreshing that Ukraine tried something ew and wll cotinue with them t further bring true Ukrainian country to the forfront. Ukraine are my favourite Eurovision nation and they continue to please me massively. A brilliant song.


It’s no secret that ethnic music is one of my favourite and I love when I get to see it at Eurovision, showcasing the wonderful diversity of our continent. With that in mind, I absolutely LOVE everything about this from the first note to the last, especially those flute transitions. Thank you Ukraine for this gem.


The instrumental version would get at least 10 points from me, but I just can’t stand this type of singing, even when done well. I’m glad they are getting a second chance though, as there is potential in this group.

Tom R

Ukraine had a lucky escape this year. This is by far Ukraine’s worst ever entry and the only consolation of the contest being cancelled is I won’t have to endure a 3 minute live performance of “Solovey”. It was as if Go_A had cloned Tulia from last year and rattled “Pali sie” through about 100 vocal effects to result in “Solovey”. Awful on all levels. I hold out no hope for Ukraine in 2021.


I have a strong dislike of high pitched or piercing female voices, so it won’t come as a massive surprice that this entry is in my bottom five this year. I know that this style of singing is a demanding art form that is very popular and loved in certain parts of Europe, and I really wish I could like it. I just can’t.


Dominik7Riccardo12Tom O5
Isaac6Rigmo12Tom R1
Nathan P12Simon7

Therefore, Ukraine receives 135 points in total!


Ukraine is our new favourite for the time being with a score of 135.

  1. Ukraine – 135
  2. Belgium – 109
  3. San Marino – 97
  4. Poland – 76

Tomorrow, it will be the turn of Albania to be reviewed. For now, take another listen to Ukraine’s entry below!

Do you agree with our reviews of Ukraine? What are your thoughts on Solovey?

Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA

Luke Malam

I've watched Eurovision for as long as I can remember, but my interest really built in 2008, after I decided to watch the semifinals online, out of boredom, before the final...I was blown away by the quality of the show and have been hooked ever since! I'm a competitive trampolinist and I love baking. I've also just completed a master's degree in Research Methods in Psychology at University College London.

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