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March 29, 2024

🇺🇦 Road to Malmö: Ukraine

photo: UA:PBC We can not wait for the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. Therefore, we have a closer look at one of the contestants every day. Today: Ukraine. Alyona Alyona Aliona Olehivna Savranenko, known professionally as Alyona Alyona, is a groundbreaking Ukrainian rapper and songwriter, born on June 14, 1991, in Kapitanivka, Novomyrhorod Raion, Kirovohrad Oblast. With a background in education, holding two bachelor’s degrees and experience as a kindergarten teacher, she transitioned from teaching to pursue music full-time. Gaining attention with her debut video for “Rybky” in October 2018, Alyona Alyona’s career quickly ascended. Her first album, “Pushka,” released in April 2019, showcased her storytelling prowess and unique approach to rap, earning her acclaim as “Ukraine’s most unlikely rap star” by Vogue. Alyona Alyona’s impact extended internationally with her signing to Def Jam Polska in 2020 and winning the Public Choice Award at the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards in 2021.  Jerry Heil Yana Oleksandrivna Shemayeva, known as Jerry Heil, is a versatile Ukrainian singer, songwriter, and YouTuber, born on October 21, 1995, in Vasylkiv, near Kyiv. Her musical journey was shaped by her studies at the R. Glier Kyiv Institute of Music and the Kyiv Conservatory. Adopting the stage name Jerry Heil at 15, she launched a YouTube channel in 2012, covering songs and sharing vlogs, which caught the attention of notable musicians, including Sviatoslav Vakarchuk from Okean Elzy. Signing with Vidlik Records in 2017, Heil’s debut EP, “De miy dim,” marked her professional entry into music. Her career further blossomed with hits like “Okhrana, otmyena,” leading to her debut album “Ya, Yana.” Heil’s distinctiveness continued with her engagement in Vidbir, notably winning Vidbir 2024 alongside Alyona Alyona with “Teresa & Maria” for Eurovision 2024. Fluent in multiple languages and a committed vegan, Heil’s personal and artistic choices are closely intertwined, reflecting her unique identity and values in the music industry. Vidbir Vidbir is the name of the Ukrainian national selection. The contest this year contained 11 entries. One of them was added in a late stadium as a wildcard, as a winner of an online election. One former Eurovision participant was among the contestants: Mélovin. The singer presented the song “Dreamer” and was the runner up of the contest. Following the completion of the performances, the Diia app (an app especially for the Ukrainian diaspora) experienced a malfunction, which caused the voting period to be prolonged and resulted in the postponement of the results announcement to February 4.  Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest In 2003, Ukraine debuted in the contest. Already one year later, the country had its first victory: Ruslana won the contest with “Wild dances”. Ukraine won again in 2016 with Jamala‘s “1944” and in 2022 with Kalush Orchestra and “Stefania”. Ukraine never failed to reach the Grand Final, reaching the top-3 on no less than 6 occasions. photo: EBU The Bookmakers It looks like Ukraine is gonna be succesful: in the betting odds Ukraine is currently the 3rd country in chances to win the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest. The song This is the song:

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🇬🇧 Road to Malmö: United Kingdom

We can not wait for the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. Therefore, we have a closer look at one of the contestants every day. Today: the United Kingdom. Olly Alexander Olly Alexander, born on July 15, 1990, in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England, has emerged as a leading voice in contemporary pop culture, celebrated for his musical talent, acting skills, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights. As the charismatic frontman of Years & Years, Olly has guided the band to international success with hits that blend infectious melodies with deeply personal and socially conscious lyrics. His commitment to exploring and expressing queer themes through music has earned him a dedicated following and critical acclaim. Apart from music, Olly has made significant strides in acting. His compelling portrayal of a young man navigating the AIDS crisis in the 1980s in the critically acclaimed series “It’s a Sin” has been lauded for its emotional depth and authenticity. This role underscored his versatility as an artist and an advocate, using his platform to highlight important issues. In a career-defining move, Olly Alexander will represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with the song “Dizzy.”  It’s a Sin “It’s a Sin” is a powerful British television drama series that premiered in 2021, created by Russell T Davies. Set during the 1980s and early 1990s in London, the series explores the lives of a group of gay men and their friends as they navigate the joy, freedom, and heartbreak of their youth amidst the emerging AIDS crisis. Through a compelling narrative and rich character development, “It’s a Sin” captures the ignorance, stigma, and fear surrounding AIDS at the time, while also celebrating love, friendship, and the resilience of the LGBTQ+ community. The series has been critically acclaimed for its emotional depth, historical accuracy, and the performances of its cast, including a standout role by Olly Alexander. It’s a poignant reminder of a tragic period in history, offering both a tribute to those lost and a message of hope and solidarity. United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest It was in 1957 when the United Kingdom debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest. The song “All” by Patricia Bredin was, with 1:52, one of the shortest Eurovision songs ever. The United Kingdom won no less than 5 times: in 1967, Sandie Shaw brought the UK their first victory. Only two years later, it was Lulu who won. In 1976, “Save your kisses for me” by the Brotherhood of Man reached a first place, while Bucks Fizz did the job in 1981 with “Making Your Mind Up”. The last victory so far was for Katrina & The Waves back in 1997 with “Love Shine A Light”. The United Kingdom reached no less than 16 second places, the last time in 2022 with Sam Ryder‘s “Spaceman”. The Bookmakers The United Kingdom is one of the six countries, placed directly in the final. Currently, they predict a 10th place for the UK, which would be one of the better scores in the last few years. This is the song:

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