Last month the Semi-Final Allocation Draw took place in Kyiv. The event is a major milestone in the organisation of the Eurovision Song Contest which is now less than three months away. Ruslana, Ukraine's first winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, was present at the ceremony and told us what hosting the competition means for her country.
"Eurovision is a very important moment for Ukraine, and for all Ukrainians", said Ruslana, who won the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Wild Dances and took the contest to Ukraine for the first time back in 2005. "A lot things have changed since then but we are still the same wild people, we have a lot of energy and I am really happy that Eurovision is coming to Ukraine again". What can fans expect in May? "It's a secret", she joked. "We have a lot of ideas and are discussing the plans. We would like to present the best of Ukraine to the fans. We are open and we are waiting for this amazing moment".
The EBU has been open in stating that there have been challenges in organising the Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine. The event is a major opportunity for any host country to showcase itself to the rest of the world and that resonates especially in Ukraine. The country hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 and the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in both 2009 and 2013.
Pavlo Shylko presented the event in 2005 alongside Maria Yefrosinina and they recently reflected on their experiences. "This Contest is an opportunity to show that Ukraine is a cool country, good for both tourism and investment", said Pavlo. "It does not matter who will represent whom and who will ultimately win, it is a chance for us to celebrate diversity", he added.
(Photograph: Pavlo Shylko)
Maria recalled, "I stood on the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 and I remember what a strong impetus the Eurovision Song Contest had for the country and the joy that Ruslana’s victory brought to our people. My family, my friends and I had the same feeling of after Jamala won the competition last year".
Photograph: Maria Yefrosinina)
Timur Miroshnychenko presented the Semi-Final Allocation Draw last month and also co-hosted the 2013 Junior Eurovision Song Contest alongside Zlata Ognevich, who represented Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest in the same year.
Timur said; "the eyes of the world will be focused on Ukraine in May. The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest is an opportunity to showcase Ukraine. We have great experience of hosting Euro 2012, the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, the 2009 and 2013 Junior Eurovision Song Contests and other international events. We look forward to welcoming our international guests to Kyiv in May".
The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in the International Exhibition Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine with Semi-Finals on Tuesday 9th and Thursday 11th May. The Grand Final will take place on Saturday 13th May.