As Eurovision Floodgates Open, We Take You Through Ukraine’s History of Slaying the Competition

As Eurovision Floodgates Open, We Take You Through Ukraine’s History of Slaying the Competition

Yes, the wait is almost over. Europe is about to experience its yearly celebration of all things music—with a sprinkle of competitiveness. As Sweden welcomes contestants and fans alike, we take a moment to remember Ukraine’s legendary performances over the years.

Ukraine debuted at Eurovision in 2003 and won the competition the very next year. It is also the only country in the history of the song competition that has qualified for the Eurovision Grand Final every time it has competed, consistently slaying the competition. If this isn’t enough to earn the country's iconic status—read on.

Before Game of Thrones, there was Ruslana’s Wild Dances

If you don’t remember Ukraine’s iconic 2004 performance—which involved a lot of fur coats, dancers in leather, and a long wooden horn—we suggest you familiarise yourself with it immediately.

Ruslana's energetic and just a bit campy performance of "Wild Dances” not only brought home the trophy but also established Ukraine as a force to be reckoned with. 

Russia goodbye or Lasha Tumbai, what just happened?

Yes, it’s the queen herself: Verka Serduchka. 

Forget campy! She’s not a drag queen; she's the queen of drag and Eurovision. Verka Serduchka didn't speak English, but she spoke the language of dance and did it flawlessly, securing a runner-up spot and leaving a lasting mark on Eurovision audiences. And she did it with a big star on her head—iconic. No Eurovision party is complete without the queen herself.

A man in a hamster wheel, because why not?

Mariya Yaremchuk's 2014 performance incorporated a human hamster wheel, leaving a lasting impression as a quirky and instantly recognizable moment in Eurovision history. Even though it may have confused some viewers, it won a spot in Eurovision’s hall of fame (according to us) and was recreated so many times that we lost count. It may also have inspired one particularly traumatic performance in Will Ferrell’s movie “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”. But shhh…we won’t give any spoilers here.

Jamala’s anti-colonial story of truth about Qirim

Jamala's powerful performance of "1944" in 2016 didn't rely on elaborate choreography or costumes. Instead, it resonated deeply with viewers as she shared her family's story of deportation under the Soviet regime. The song's message remains tragically relevant as Russia's war against Ukraine continues.

Ukraine’s also pretty good at hosting, naturally

Ukraine takes hosting duties seriously. Following Jamala's win, Kyiv hosted the 2017 contest, featuring an unforgettable opening act where Ukrainian artists performed Eurovision hits with a unique Ukrainian twist. The interval act, featuring electronic artist ONUKA, further solidified Ukraine's reputation for fostering artistic talent in its own unique way. Interestingly, it was in Kyiv that Portugal secured its first victory after participating for nearly five decades.

Yes, we do celebrate diversity

Ruslana was the first to include Ukrainian lyrics in her song, and Jamala sang partially in Crimean Tatar. In 2021, Go_A's "SHUM" marked the first time a fully Ukrainian song competed and reached the Grand Final. Finally, in 2022, "Stefania" by Kalush Orchestra became the first Ukrainian-language song to win Eurovision. We love a good native language song. So do Eurovision fans.

That time UK hosted for us, because of well…Russia

Despite the war, Ukraine delivered a strong performance in Liverpool in 2023. A standout moment was the surprise appearance of Ukrainian Eurovision stars such as GO_A, Jamala, Tina Karol and Verka Serduchka during the flag parade. This UK-Ukraine collaboration turned the flag parade into a symbol of unity and resilience.

Ukrainian divas with rap and folk? Bring it on

With the female duo of Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil representing Ukraine in 2024, a unique blend of folk tunes and female rap promises yet another iconic chapter in Ukraine's Eurovision history. It is everything you want from a Eurovision song! ‘

See all