The Ukrainian show last night wasn't so much a national semi-final as a full blown people's rally to stir up the country's fervour against those neighbours to the north. It was a pretty stunning artefact from start to finish, and could easily be held up as a historic document chronicling a moment when a country started to assert its national identity against a common foe. Seriously, politics and cultural studies students will be doing dissertations on this in sixty year, I tell you.
It started with a three song salvo, straight off the bat. You had that lass who sang for the neighbours about Mother Russia in Moscow telling us that she was free now, followed by a moderately pop rock mob whose singer appeared to be dressed like a gothicky version of the statue in Kiev's Maiden Square. This was then topped by a performance from a folksy looking lady that seemed to evoke the wonders of the Ukrainian countryside. A pretty wowsers start indeed.
After a couple of apparently usual songs, Jamala smacked us between the eyes with her breathtaking dissection about the Crimean tartar resettlement, then it all seemed to get a bit normal again. Until this.
A stunning woman with flame red hair stood stock still in a snow-white dress. In the background you could see projections of a bombed and burned cityscape, as Svetlana howled "Never Again" repeatedly straight down the pipe to the folks at home. The camera pulled back to reveal the bottom fringes of her pure white dress were muddied by the dirt of conflict. But that wasn't the most emotive moment. That came right at the end. I won't spoil the effect for you, but do watch her performance right through to the end, because even if the song's a bit regular, the message delivered comes straight from the cabinet war office!