Vidbir (Ukraine) 2022 Reviews: Roxolana and Kalush Orchestra

Roxolana — “Girlzzzz”
Okay, let’s put aside the awkward lyrics for the time being; I’ll get to them later. This is a simple but effective banger on a musical level, especially when it jumps to the second part of the chorus which seems to be chanted in Ukrainian. This bit alone gives the whole song a boost and what is sometimes referred to an “ethnic” feel. Roxolana’s breathy vocals are well-suited to the song’s vibe, but she’s versatile enough to deliver a semi-rap midway through the track. Lyrically there’s a lot of clumsiness which undermines other parts of the song and sends a conflicting message. This is a shame because there could have been more Ukrainian in the lyrics while still keeping the non-clumsy “girls just wanna have fun” part of the chorus. On a separate note, props to Roxolana for releasing a sign-language version of her video as well.

Kalush Orchestra — “Stefania”
There’s been some buzz around what is one of the most intriguing entries in any of the national selections so far. I’m assuming that they’re going with the three-minute version of the song, not the 76 second one from their official clip (now that would really be interesting!). The song alternates between rapping and a catchy, anthemic chorus with same kind of flute sound we heard from Go_A last year. This feels like a high-risk, high-reward entry to me. It could really catch on and make waves, or people either might not get it or decide it’s too much in the same vein as last year’s entry and opt for something else. However, given Ukraine’s track record, even this feels less of a risk than it would be for other countries.