UPDATE: Kiev auditions, Episode 6, added. 

Hello my fellow XF enthusiasts, I'm Olia from Ukraine and I'm gonna be writing the recaps for the XF Ukranie's third season. First of all, I'd like to introduce the judging panel. My favourite judge is Sergey Sosedov (Сергей Соседов), a music critic who's openly gay (it's not a common thing in Ukraine or Russia). You can either love him or hate him but you can't be indifferent. His comments are beautifully unpredictable - we've seen musical lectures, fangirling and long passionate speeches. The second best judge is Seryoga (Серёга), a successful Belorussian rapper, highly charismatic, who often makes poems or slogans of acts and judges. He was also the winner of the second season, with Victor Romanchenko from the Overs. The other judges are Igor Kondratyuk (Игорь Кондратюк), who is also a judge in Ukraine's Got Talent, and Irina Dubcova (Ирина Дубцова), a former music reality contestant. So without more talking, let's get right into the action ... It's time to face the music!

Recap after the JUMP ...


Our first stop, Odessa, is Ukraine's major seaport city.

The first act of the year is Julia Plaksina (Юлия Плаксина) (20). Three years ago she traveled to Moscow to fulfill her musical dreams but it didn't work out well for her. (Happens to young naive girls from small towns all the time, nothing special here). But she's here for a second shot. Julia is singing Eurovision's hit "Euphoria". I don't think this is the best song to audition with, but she looks good, natural on stage, and her voice is quite promising. She actually reminds me of Gaitana (this year's Eurovision contestant for Ukraine). Judges sing "You've got four yeses" in the catchy rhythm of the song.

The next hopeful is Anya Shoot (Аня Шут), a heartbroken girl from Nikolaev who was dumped by her boyfriend recently. Did they ban happy people from auditioning? She is singing a ballad by Russia's biggest diva, Alla Pugachiova. The title of the song translates into "Don't hurt me". Everyone is in tears, Should I start crying too? Well, she is a 19 y/o girl who looks ten years older and also a mediocre karaoke singer. Yeah, there're definitely tears in my eyes. Two yeses, one no and a dramatic pause for ads, which means she is most likely through. Yep, three yeses. Why?

Next is Victor Tsoy (Виктор Цой). Um.. that's also the name of yet another Russian singing legend, who tragically died about twenty years ago. (Does he know about stage-names?). If you ever wondered what soviet music sounds like, you now have a chance to listen. I wonder if he can sing something more current. Viktor's got a nice tone though. I'll put him in a "promising acts" pile for sure. He gets a yes to bootcamp from the judges.

The following act on stage is Victoria (Виктория). She says she's been noticed by famous producer already (what are you doing here then?). Victoria wears Indian clothes and claims to be a big fan of Indian music. Well, this is the first time I hear someone doing an Indian song for an audition and I really don't like it. She's not able to show any kind of personality or tone with this monotonous type of music. Igor says no. Sosedov, on the other hand, seem entertained and says yes, and so does Seryoga. Irina asks her to sing "My heart will go on" and ends up saying no after a soulless and slightly off-key performance. Couldn't agree more.

Rock singer Tatyana Pashkova (Татьяна Пашкова) (33) is performing Aria's "Ulitsa roz" ("Street of roses"; Aria is the biggest rock-band in post-soviet era). It's a bold choice but I didn't really believe in her vocal ability. Sosedov says she reminds him of Joan of Arc (too much of a compliment) and gives her a yes. Four yeses for her.

Then we have 14-years old Pavel (Павел). He is an athlete (track-and-field athletics) and is here with his mom, who is also his coach. Pavel says he's pretty serious about sports but also wants to try his luck at XF. Interesting. He sings one of my favourite Russian songs "Eto zdorovo" ("It's great"). His voice is mature. Little bit flat sometimes, but I like him anyway. He sure could be more relaxed though. Judges say he's too young to handle this whole process (which is weird 'cause the rules say he is not) but let him do the second song. It's more upbeat and suits him even more. Three yeses. Sosedov still think Pavel will break down. 

I see a familiar face. Janna Peregon (Жанна Перегон), who's a 19 y/o hospital worker disinfecting materials, competed in The Voice of Ukraine last year, ultimately losing her battle to a very strong Natalia Gordienko. She's older now and hopefully better. Janna sings the beautiful ballad "Nejnost" ("Tenderness"). She is very artistic and good looking, and while this song is very deep and soulful, she handles it perfectly. Irina says she believed in Janna, but Sosedov disagrees. He thinks her performance lacked some high notes. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't, I liked her anyway. Three yeses!

The last contestant of the day is 49 y/o Yakov Golovko (Яков Головко) from Yalta. He is a professional musician who does a lot of local gigs and now wants to go big because it's never too late (and we've got a category for this). He seems really nice. As Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" begins, I have a feeling this performance will be significant. And it is. Yakov has a beautiful husky, velvet tone which goes right to the heart. Sosedov's


Our next stop takes place in Donetsk, city of roses, known for coal mining and it's notable steel industry (and also my hometown, so yay!).

For the first audition we have 19 y/o Danil Klyagin (Данил Клягин). He says he's posessed by the XF (oh well, who isn't?). I like his curls for starters. His song is some Italian opera which I'm usually not really into, but Danil's voice is tasty. Sosedov's amazed, he says Danil is a perfect Italian man and couldn't take his eyes off of him. Seryoga in contrary found the young man boring and says no. Yes from Irina; Kondratyouk gives Seryoga the look, and we have three yeses.

This one surely looks like a joke act. (But, I remember Australian Angela Vayne, so no judging yet). She's named Katya Sokolenko (Катя Соколенко), she's 38 and lives in the countryside. Katya wants to sing Pugachova's "I sing". The song is about a woman who sings through the pain of her heart, for survival. Katya looks so genuine and believable during her performance. Judges say the same thing and of course its 4 yeses. I like her a lot, what a surprise!

Sob-story alert! Katya Kuznetsova (Катя Кузнецова), who is Alexey Kusnetsov (S1 winner) sister, came to the show after their father died. Not to say anything about Alexey's vocal ability, but he also used their father for sobbing (dad was in a wheelchair back then). Katya sings "Molitva" and I don't see anything special. Sosedov says she lacks her brother's tone and he's not fascinated by her. Couldn't agree more. The others give her yeses. Well, I for one didn't like neither stories with their father (yet agan!) nor her voice.

I guess it's time for something positive. Police-working duo Eldar and Asya appear on stage.They are named Eldarasya (Эльдарася) (I like them already). Their voices blend really well, they seem happy and they don't have any sob-stories, so double yes from me. And four yeses from the judges.

Now we get to see Alexey Smyrnov (Алексей Смирнов) from Mariupol. His look is different (not very different to Adam Lambert though) and his song choice is fresh, "30 second to Mars", which is rarely chosen to audition with. There's a long argument about him amongst the judges (surprisingly), but in the end, everything ends well for Alexey, who is sent to bootcamp. As for me, I think his vocal ability is decent and he could become an act to watch.

The next act is Vlad Skulskiy (Влад Скульский). He's a student who works as a taxi driver. Not fascinated by his song choice, "Luna", which is an often pick at auditions, but his voice is beautifully strong. Crowd goes ecstatic! Nothing to say against him, four yeses.

Anastasiya Babenko (Анастасия Бабенко) (18) is the next act to take the stage. Her song is Zemfira's "London's Sky". This song (amongst a bunch of others) should be restricted from auditions. It is so, so beautiful but very difficult as well. Judges are split. Dubtsova is sure there is nothing interesting in this girl and Sosedov says it is a special song and needs special treatment. Two no's, two yeses. Crowd disagrees and judges bring Anastasiya back for a second song. Her acapella performance is way better and  the decision is changed.

Vyacheslav Efremov (Вячеслав Ефремов), 19 y/o, is next. Another "restricted" song but he's a very charming boy and has a beautiful voice. I could imagine him in a One Direction type boyband, actually. It's a no from the musical critic, but that's ok. Three yeses in the end. Put him in a boyband!

Time for the Overs category. Tatyana Naumchenko (Татьяна Наумченко), who is 58 y/o, seems so positive from the start that there is no way she would turn out to be a joke act. She sings a folk song and her performance is perfectly national colored. Irina calls Tatyana the joy of life, Sosedov says she's the real artist  and of course, she gets four yeses. I loved her! Made me smile all the way.

Next up is Polina Sinelnikova (Полина Синельникова). She's singing "The climb". That's what I was waiting for! She has her own style, her own voice (an interesting "childish" tone) and the mythical XF, of course. I love, love, love her. Sosedov says Polina is a mystery he'd like to solve, she has a good ear, interesting tone and excellent technique. I'm only afraid she may broke under the preassure, because she seems too emotional. Fingers crossed she won't, I want her in the Live Shows.  

The last one today (has to be flawless, of course) is Anna Hohlova (Анна Хохлова) (26). Her song is "Russian Roulette"! Such a good, strong, convincing voice she has. She feels the song, I can see that. Too bad I'm already in love with Polina. Can I love them both? And Alexey, and Vlad please? Sosedov cries, while Seryoga is speechless. Great job! And a wonderful ending for the episode.


Tonight's fun takes place in Kharkov, former (later replaced by Kyiv on this duty) Ukrainian capital. (Please, don't pay too much attention to the hostess dress - she is just fangirling)

Up first is Mykola Troyan (Микола Троян), a pensioner. These people are like good audition-fillers, as the opposite to miserable joke-acts. Everyone knows there is no future for them (oh no, did I kill someone's dreams?) but they are a pleasure to watch. Also, this one is so cute talking about his wife and his dancing skills are impressive. Good start with four yeses!

Valeriya Klokun (Валерия Клокун) a 16 y/o student is next. This is something I have never heard, a Japanese disco hit! Can't decide if this is good or not, only that its highly original. She actually falls during her audition (wrong fashion choice with the shoes, I guess). She drove Sosedov crazy as he says (and it shows), he's excited, but the others aren't so much. She is told to come back with something a little bit more famous.

The next contestant is Ruslan Korshunov (Руслан Коршунов) (13). No "Justin" comment, because we are not in USA and it's actually good for him. He wants to do something adult while his mates are still playing toy cars (wait, what? I thought 13 is an age to start dating. I guess I was wrong. Kids this days). The song choice well, compared to Chris Colfer's version (yep, I'm also a gleek), it's not that mesmerizing but it's quite good. I'm sorry for his dreadful English, but not sorry for his voice, which is beautiful. Irina is crying, she says she's amazed by his range. Three yeses. (Seryoga wats to see him in a year or so and he might be right because of a voice change).

Melen Passa (Мeлен Пасса) (20), a student, follows. She sings a Zaz's song in French. Yes, she is copying Zaz but at least it is a copy of something rare. Sosedov says Melen is energising but doesn't have a wide range (well, this show is about the XF, not range width). Still, it's four yeses.

Valeriya (the everything-Japanese-junkie) is back to sing not memorable rendition of "Poker Face". Well, we won't see her for a third time because it's a no for her.

Next is Ilya Yefimov (Илья Ефимов), a 21 y/o manager. He learned that his audition would be great from an horoscope (no matter where does confidence come from, it's still confidence). This is one of my favourite songs. He's got such a low, manly tone! Ilya is gifted, no doubt, and he's got the crowd singing with him. Sosedov says Ilya has got stage presence and looks.

She's followed by Ivan Zhukov (Иван Жуков), a 24 y/o smith. Another ballad, another manly voice (today's male voices!). Three yeses, though Igor didn't think he's a good artist.

The final act of the night is Violetta Kozakova (Виолетта Козакова), a 20 y/o student. She wants to try herself, otherwise she would not know if she is any good. Well, this is wise. She is very pretty and good in storytelling through music. I don't like the song choice but I forgive her for that soft voice and not going over the roof with the notes. (Sosedov's face! I have to explain the song's plot. It's about how difficult it's for a woman to say no to man in order to stay out of sin, when God is so far away at the sky. I guess he must really understand those kind of things). Four yeses which is not surprising since she's the best today.


They say music is an universal language but as mush as it is universal, it is also diverse. There are some overused audition songs but we still love hearing them from different people from different countries. There is no universal way of singing them and no universal reaction to it. So I'm very excited to watch and to listen to both familiar and unknown songs.

The first act on stage is a duo. They met in college and he was really shy about asking her to sing together because he really liked her. But here they are now, dating and preparing for their XF performance (aw, young love!). Their names are Anastasiya and Artem (Анастасия и Роман) and the song is a slower version of "Love you like a love song". Amazing! Interesting song choice, never heard it like that, and they're also very cute and talented. Irina seems to think the same. Igor says they gave loads of love to the audience and they sank in this feeling. 4 yeses!

The next act is Roman Shudrenko (Роман Шудренко), member of the Ukrainian Olympic Swimming Team. He is 24 and got married recently. We are shown a disgusting child birth footage and I wonder, was that really necessary? Now Roman wants to succeed in music. The song he is singing is called "Glass of Vodka On the Table" (we are talking national symbols). Not that bad but not that exciting. He's like a wedding singer or something like that. Sosedov says he got a lot of pleasure from the performance, as if he'd actually drunk that vodka shot. 4 yeses. Blame it on the alcohol, I guess. (Oh, and can I just say how I dislike our hostess? She's so vulgar! I even prefer the robotic Carson Daly to her).

The drinking theme kinda continues with the next act being a restaurant singer. He's a 17 y/o guy named Anatolyi Bessmertny (Анатолий Бессмертный). I know the judges would approve him but for me, this is a quite flat and emotionless performance. There's no doubt he is a good looking guy but he doesn't have the XF. Boyband maybe? Seryoga agrees with me about lacking emotions and says no. Sosedov says otherwise (well, he obviously likes cute boys) and yes, it's 3 yeses.

Another boyband case arrives, 18 y/o math major Denis Nazarenko (Денис Назаренко). He's got a low pleasant voice. Sosedov notes it was too acute and he was nervous (and it was) but it's 3 yeses for him after all.

The next act is "Victoria's Secret" model Diana Ivanitskaya-Shorikova (Диана Иваницкая-Шорикова). Music careers are obviously longer than modelling, so here she is. Well, she's a little bit too hard with the facial expressions but not so bad vocally. Sure she goes straight to bootcamp as easily as she walks on a catwalk.

The last one for today is manager Oleg Sheverdyayev (Олег Шевердяев) who's been singing since his childhood. This is a huge song based on huge lyrics which was originally sang by a woman, so no pressure. Maybe I'm fed up with that kind of vocalist but I get a feeling he only pretends and does not feel the song properly. His gestures are too theatrical and calculated. Irina is crying so of course she'll say it was emotionally perfect.  She does and so do the others. 4 yeses and I can't even picture him in a boyband.


Today's auditions are held in Lviv. We consider ourselves as "singing nation" (I wonder how many other nations do too?) and Lviv epitomizes everything Ukrainian, songs included.

Duo Golden Brothers seem quite interesting to me. The boys have nice tones and looks. Normally I'd say "perfect boyband case" but this is a boyband already. Sosedov likes them so much he wants to send them to Eurovision. Well, they got send to bootcamp instead.

The next on stage is Vasya Spears. I'll just leave a picture of him for you to see Britney's long lost brother. Nothing to hear here, joke act as it is.

Yulia Gerko (Юлия Герко) is 21 years old. The song she sings does not contain crazy high notes, but lets us appreciate Yulia's pure tone and an incredible ability to sing from the heart. Irina sings along! 4 yeses.

Former act of Ukraine's Got Talent, Nazar Khassan (Назар Хассан) (and also former rapper) is next, and now, he wants to sing. I haven't seen him rapping (he was part of a duo which as people say was decent) but I do like him now.

The next act is Dmytry Sysoyev (Дмитрий Сысоев) (22). He kinda looks like Harry from One Direction (and no, I'm not a 1D fan, too old for that). His version of "Billie Jean" is...interesting? Not quite sure, but he's obviously one to watch. Sosedov points Dmytry played with melody too much and he didn't like it. But all the others say yes so we'll be seeing more of this guy.

Martinsh Purvens (Мартиньш Пурвенс), who comes from Latvia (unexpected! Have they got their own show?), is next. He sings "Sway" while trying to dance in a teddy-bear style but I like him and his personality, and so do the judges panel. They call him "The Hot Latvian Guy" (I'll pretend it's not offensive).

The next act has got a trick in his pocket. His name is Dmytro Pechenyuk and he is 17 years old. Everything about him is weird, the voice and the look. I've to compare him to the Aussie girl who sang the Minnie Riperton's song, Sarah Main - did we see her in again? No, we did not and I suspect the same will happen here. One trick act.

Restaurant singer Nodar Revia (Нодар Ревия) comes from Moscow although he is Georgian. Tom Jones's "Kiss" is a bold choice and his voice is mature enough, although he's only 20. I think he's too polished to be exciting. Sosedov says it was an extra-class audition and Nodar gets 4 yeses from the panel.

The next thing we hear is a sob story about an overweight-girl (which obviously does have a happy ending as we see). The girl, Sophia Kosak (София Козак), 18 years old, plays guitar and sings a beatiful song with a beautiful clear voice. Judges got to battle about her because Sosedov and Seryoga think she's more suited for coffee-shop performances than for the big X Factor stage. One part of me agrees with them but the other part finds Sophia interesting. Luckily for that other part she gets sent to bootcamp.

We're almost done with just one more act to see. It's the second duo of brothers of the day, Brothers Slyusarchuks (Братья Слюсарчуки) and they literally brighten the stage. Great energy, cute looks, obvious talent - of course Sosedov dances in his chair and of course it's four yeses. I'm smiling from ear to ear, great ending!


This is the last audition episode and I'm sad about that. Why? Because auditions are like fairy tales. Everyone who is good, talented and dedicated (and as we know from their sob stories, unhappy) get their applauses, kind words and adoration. I get inspired every time I watch any show's audition episodes. Tonight we are in Kiev, our ancient (1500 years) and beautiful capital. It's also the cheapest European city for tourists! (I wonder why this doesn't sound much like a compliment).

The first act is Olga Voronina(Ольга Воронина), 29. She tried to make it in Moscow but was seen only as a pretty face. Her song is written by Irina. Well, I'm not really in love despite the fact she can sing. The judges, on the other hand, are impressed, and that's what's more important, at least for now. 4 yeses.

Another male duo (and no boybands yet, only good material for them). They are called Two Voices (I can't decide which name is more dull - this or "The Collective"?). They sing "The Flood" by Take That, so hello Britain, greetings from Ukraine! They rock the house. The blond one is a better vocalist  as Sosedov notes but the brunette was more entertaining, so let's say its an equal partnership. 4 yeses.

Up next is Elena Berlinskaya (Елена Берлинская). OMG, she is pregnant! I don't approve this, not at all. Yes, it's extremely difficult to sing while being nine-month pregnant, as Irina says, but that doesn't mean she's brave - try stupid. And yes, she's a good singer. Judges liked her a lot - so they grant her a permission to come back in 2013, straight to bootcamp. Wise decision, I applaud.

Katya Gumeniyuk (Катя Гуменюк), 18, is next. She was famous as a child. In fact, I had her cassette back then. She's been training for years and it shows. Good technique but too many tricks, that's why Sosedov says no. I totally agree, she is a music technician, not a true musician. But it's not surprising that she got three yeses after all.

Wow, a girlband, this is rare. They are called Beatris and they came from Belarus. Every note is in it's place and their harmonies are present too. 4 easy yeses.

Tatyana Gidion (Татьяна Гидион) a 23 y/o school teacher sings next. I love her dress, her hair and her song choice, of course, "Hora di Moldova", I'm dancing!

Mikhail Kirkilan (Михаил Киркилан) won an Israeli talent show and now wants to win again in Ukraine. Judging from his audition, it won't happen. He lack everything, energy, spark or the XF.

Next we have Kirill Astapov (Кирилл Астапов), 23. I only wanted to write about him because of his occupation, he is a backing singer at a karaoke club. That's a serious statement! Other than that, nothing special. Got to bootcamp nevertheless.  

Finally, the last contestant is Eugeni Litvinkovitch (Евгений Литвинкович). He's 30 y/o and is from Belarus. He was a finalist on this year's Ukraine's Got Talent and already has some fans. He truly is a person you can't be indifferent about, you either love him or hate him. Weird voice, weird technique and I can't figure out if it's good weird or bad weird. Mixed feelings. But surely deserves a chance in bootcamp, which the judges give him.

And that's a wrap! Next week bootcamp starts and we are informed that there will be 268 acts on it. (What? We didn't see even half of them!)
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