Verka Serduchka's history at the Eurovision Song Contest
Not only is Verka Serduchka a Ukrainian icon, she is also the epitome of the Eurovision Song Contest in the 2000's.
Verka is a Eurovision 2007 runner-up, but that hasn't stopped the super star from returning to the Contest again and again.
To celebrate the Independence Day of Ukraine we take a look at Verka Serduchka's history at Eurovision, going back through all her appearances. We also explore whether Verka has returned to Eurovision more times than a certain Swede, *cough cough*, Måns Zelmerlöw, who is synonymous with appearing at the Contest many times.
Let's take a look!
Eurovision 2007: ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’
Verka Serduchka is the brainchild and drag stage persona of Andriy Danylko. Verka was selected to compete at Eurovision 2007 for Ukraine after winning the 'Evrobachennya 2007 - Natsionalyni vidbir' national final. She was proclaimed the winner from a 50/50 combination of votes from a jury and a public televote, scoring the highest set of points for her entry 'Danzing'.
Verka's win wasn't without controversy. The songs lyrics "Lasha Tumbai" sound very similar to "Russia Goodbye" leading to people believing the song was about the Orange Revolution which occurred in Ukraine years earlier. To combat this Verka persisted that the lyrics were actually a Mongolian phrase for "whipped cream", when in fact the words are just gibberish. For Eurovision the song titled was changed from 'Danzing' to ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’.
At the Contest Verka gave an iconic performance, with some considering 'Dancing Lasha Tumbai' as one of the greatest entries to never win the Contest. The song ended up winning the Marcel Bezençon Awards Press Award and finished in the runner-up position in the Eurovision Grand Final.
Verka scored 235 points, 33 points behind the winner from Serbia, Marija Šerifović with 'Molitva'. Despite missing out on the Eurovision trophy, 2007 wouldn't be the last time Verka sees the Eurovision stage.
Eurovision 2016: Ukrainian spokesperson
Nine years since Verka's epic performance of 'Dancing Lasha Tumbai' the Ukrainian star would feature for the second time at Eurovision as the Ukrainian spokesperson along with her "mother", played by actress Inna Bilokon.
The pair were hilarious giving out Ukraine's 12 points from the jury to Lithuania. You can check out the full footage of the Ukrainian 12 points voting circuit in the video above.
Eurovision 2017: Verka back on the stage
Jamala's 2016 Eurovision win saw Ukraine host the Contest for the second time. As part of Eurovision 2017 Verka featured in short video clips, titled "Verkavision". The clips followed the (fictional) story behind the iconic star.
During the Eurovision 2017 shows Verka appeared in a segment for the first semi-final which you can watch below. It features Verka and her "mother" in skits, singing with children and receiving a nasty surprise from some pesky birds.
Verka also made it to the Eurovision stage for the second time ever in the Grand Final where she opened the televoting with her "mother", with the hosts begging her to make the announcement.
Eurovision 2019: Switch Song
Eurovision 2019 would see Verka return to Eurovision for the fourth time and on the big stage for the third time, this time to perform!
Verka featured in a special segment called 'Switch Song' during the Eurovision Grand Final in Tel Aviv joined by other Eurovision royalty, they include Conchita Wurst, Måns Zelmerlöw, Eleni Foureria and Gali Atari. The artists performed covers of Eurovision hits.
Verka Serduchka got to watch Eleni Fouriera slay her performance, with wigs flying, covering Verka's ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’! Then Verka and her "mother" performed the Eurovision 2018 winning song 'Toy' by Netta. The duo were joined by four dancers for a high energy rendition of 'Toy' while fortune cats were projected onto the stage screen. Of course Verka wore her trademark silver star headdress.
Eurovision 2023: Verka in Liverpool
Verka would feature at Eurovision for the fifth time in 2023 as the UK hosted the Contest on behalf Ukraine, due to the invasion and war, after Kalush Orchestra's win the year before.
Joined yet again by her iconic "mother" Verka performed 'Dancing Lasha Tumbai' on the Eurovision stage for the first time since 2007 during the Grand Final in Liverpool. They performed in the 'Flag Parade' which featured past Ukrainian Eurovision artists from Go_A, Tina Karol to Jamala with Verka performing lucky last.
Verka goes to show that even if you miss out on the Eurovision trophy, the Contest doesn't forget you, with the star invited back four times since 2007. So don't be surprised to see Käärijä return many times in the future at Eurovision (*manifesting*) after this year's runner up finish!
When it comes to how many times Verka featured at Eurovision compared to Måns Zelmerlöw, well we have to say (excluding 2020) Måns edges out Verka with six appearances at Eurovision Contests compared to five, with the Swedish Eurovision 2015 winner appearing in sketches, skits, on roof tops and on stage over the years.
But when it comes to how many times both artists have physically appeared on the Eurovision stage, well Verka takes the cake with four live appearances physically on the stage. Måns has appeared on the Eurovision stage just three times (though he did perform at 2021 he sung 'Heroes' on a rooftop not on stage). So there you go with many Eurovision stage appearances Verka cements herself as one of the big Eurovision icons!
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