Monty’s Eurovision Countdown 2023 Part 36 – Ukraine

Heart of Steel by TVORCHI.

As my Countdown is alphabetical by country name in English, I always end on my home nation, the United Kingdom This year that also happens to be the home entry. But before it, uniquely this year, we have the home-away-from-home entry: reigning champions Ukraine.

As keen national final viewers we already know TVORCHI from a previous attempt. Just as Kalush captured the hearts of Europe by capturing the zeitgeist of international solidarity with Ukraine, Heart of Steel captures the sentiment one year on. That sentiment is continued defiance, and a steely resolve. The determination to compete was illustrated by holding a national final deep underground in one of Kyiv’s Metro stations, the sound of trains rumbling nearby eerily evoking the rumble of air strikes so common these days for the country.

It’s hard not to be deeply moved by this song, inspired by the resistance at the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol. The sense of resistance and defiance will easily resonate once more. I suspect it will, once again, garner huge support. But will solidarity with Ukraine be enough to see this over the line again?

I’m not sure the audience feels in the same mood as last year – which is not to say support for Ukrainian people in the real world has diminished, more that there’s an inevitable detachment with the passage of time and the grim familiarity with an enduring war. In a competitive show I think that’s a good thing: TVORCHI will rise or fall on the merit of the song, which is strong enough even without wider sentimentality to score a deserving top 10 place.

My marks: 8 points