The year is 2007; the Eurovision Song Contest is held in Helsinki, Finland and Marija Šerifović wins for Serbia with Molitva. Ending up in second place that year: Verka Serduchka with Dancing Lasha Tumbai. When Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko transforms into Verka Serduchka, a Eurovision legend is born. The performance video, available on YouTube since 2012, has amassed a staggering 16.2 million views at the time of writing.
In her home country Ukraine, Verka Serduchka proves to be a controversial Eurovision entry from the very start. One of the country's radio stations organises a protest to express their disapproval of the selection and some members of the Ukrainian Parliamant call the song "grotesque and vulgar".
But Europe loves Dancing Lasha Tumbai; the song does really well both at the contest and after, charting to an impressive 6th place in the French charts and 28th place in the Official UK Singles Chart.
Verka's 2007 performance of Dancing Lasha Tumbai turns out to be just the start of her fame. In the years after she proves to be a true Eurovision legend. And that's not just because every Eurovision counts at least one spectator with a silver star Verka hat.
In 2016, she announces the results of the Ukrainian jury:
In 2017, Verka has a bigger role. The contest is held in Kyiv, Ukraine, as Jamala wins in Stockholm the year before. Verka has the honour of returning to the contest, she features in an introductory video before the first Semi-Final, and she opens the televoting during the Grand Final.
Verka has conquered a special place in the hearts of Eurovision lovers, and who knows... she might just pop back up in a future edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.
What do you think of Verka Serduchka's Eurovision entry Dancing Lasha Tumbai? Let us know in the comments!