Ruslana, one of Ukraine’s top stars, grabbed the crown, mustering 280 points from the televoting in the 36 participant countries. It was Ukraine’s only second appearance in the 49-year-old pop and rock song festival. Ruslana, the charismatic brunette, and her troupe, dressed in leather and wielding whips (these costumes now can be views at News Museum Exhibition in Mystets’ky Arsenal), offered a dazzling spectacle inspired by ethnic traditions in the Carpathian Mountains of Western Ukraine. After it won the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest, Ruslana's Wild Dances hit the charts in several countries and even topped some, like the Flemish one in Belgium where it was certified gold.
So, who exactly is this energetic woman who brought Eurovision to Ukraine?
Ruslana Lyzhychko, best known professionally by her first name Ruslana, is a Ukrainian singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, former politician and social activist. An immensely popular star in Ukraine, she has won many awards over her career and holds the title of People's Artist of Ukraine. A graduate of the musical conservatory in Lviv, Ruslana has been a well-known figure on the Ukrainian scene since 1996.
She is co-author of most of her songs, strongly inspired by Ukrainian folklore, and she works alongside her husband and producer Oleksandr Ksenofontov.
She was selected internally to be Ukraine's second-ever participant at the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 in Istanbul, given free reign to choose the song that would eventually be her entry. She chose the song Wild Dances and stormed to victory in the grand final after qualifying from the semifinal in second. Ruslana returned to Ukraine after the contest a national hero.
Ruslana performed the interval act at the Eurovision 2005 contest in Kyiv and was also the Ukrainian vote presenter at the 2011 contest in Düsseldorf.
Ruslana was also present at the Ukrainian Semi-Final Allocation Draw, which took place in Kyiv in winter 2017. The event is a major milestone in the organization of the Eurovision Song Contest which is now less than two months away. During her speech at the grand final ceremony, Ruslana spoke about the importance of Eurovision for Ukraine and for all Ukrainians. As the member of organizing committee Ruslana and the whole team would like to present the best of Ukraine to the fans. And as back in 2004 Ruslana is full of ideas and energy of how to do that.
While the Revolution of Dignity 2013-2014 Ruslana actively joined the people at Maidan, supported the spirit of protesters with her speeches, songs and proactive social position. Her contribution to the victory over the Yanukovich regime is very significant.
Photo source: depositphotos.com, pinterest.com.