#tbt: Ukraine says “Hasta La Vista” to Eurovision

Oleksandr Ponomariov from the video for Oleksandr Ponomariov from the 2003 video for "Hasta La Vista" (Screen: YouTube)

Ukraine will definitely host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2017! Let’s take a look back at the entries the country has submitted over the years. First up: 2003’s “Hasta La Vista” by Oleksandr Ponomaryov.

Eurovision in 2003

Riga, Latvia played host to the 48th edition of the Contest, thanks to “I Wanna” by Marie N. 26 countries competed, which was a record at the time. Turkey won the event with “Everyway That I Can” by Sertab Erener, while the United Kingdom finished in last place with nil points, courtesy of Jemini’s “Cry Baby.”1 Ukraine had to follow UK in the running order, which is somewhat unfortunate for the new kid on the block. Despite this, the song finished respectably in 14th place.

“Hasta La Vista”

To be fair, this was before I started following Eurovision. Had I known that it was this square while existing in the same temporal plane as:

  • “In da Club”
  • “Ignition (Remix)”
  • “Crazy in Love”
  • “Bring Me to Life”
  • “Lose Yourself”

I probably wouldn’t be writing this post today. That being said, this is a good first entry for what Eurovision was in 2003 — inoffensive, a spectacle without being spectacular, and something your mom would enjoy without objection. “Hasta la Vista” is par for the course, which is probably why it finished in the exact center of the field. It’s a solid demonstration of Ukraine diving into the Eurovision game without making noticeable waves.

Where is Oleksandr Ponomaryov now?

Oleksandr was already an accomplished singer before heading to Eurovision. He released several albums and received the distinction of “Honored Artist of Ukraine” in 1998. After the Contest, Oleksandr released a couple more albums and has worked in front of and behind the camera in some films. In 2011, Oleksandr signed on to be one of the coaches in Ukraine’s version of The Voice (Holos Krainy). He eventually mentored Ukraine’s 2014 representative Mariya Yaremchuk. They finished 4th.

Although Oleksandr’s official website hasn’t updated his biography since 2012, there is still content from recent projects scattered throughout the site. His YouTube Channel also has some activity, with a live performance uploaded just a couple weeks ago.

  1. Not undeserved, by the way.  

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