Friday, April 17, 2015

Ukrainian reality TV (+ X Factor!)

Ukraine has a number of reality TV shows that you may already know:
  • The Bachelor, which is now on its fifth season in Ukraine. I stopped watching in Season 2, which got a little ludicrous as a vaguely-royal Scot who spoke neither Ukrainian nor Russian went on the show with his trusty earpiece.

I never watched much of these shows- our sole Ukrainian television only lived a few days- but enjoyed what I did see. Although reality TV might indeed rot the brain, there's a benefit to doing it this way: you get to do it in two languages. In most shows the narration is done in Ukrainian while the contestants speak Ukrainian, Russian, and/or surzhik. At the very least I could pretend to be studying.

There's one show in particular I wanted to share with you, since they came to Kharkiv a few times and one of my coworkers actually made it on the program.

Eric, another American teacher at the school where I worked, had his 15 minutes of fame when he went on the show last year.

Here he is, singing a Ukrainian folk song. Bravo, Eric!

And his pre-performance interview:

It was almost exactly two years ago that I took these X Factor photos in downtown Kharkiv. April 21, 2013. Early spring in the city.

X Factor Ukraine has been on the air for five years now, so you can imagine just how many performances there have been. Here are a corresponding five YouTube videos if you'd like to see more of the show:

1. A 20-year-old guy with a voice you don't expect.
2. Ukraine's Eminem
3. Beyonce's song coming from a teen girl.
4. This quartet!
5. And there's always, always one of these.

With the heavy burden of war in the air, it would seem to spell the end for shows like this one... but nope- casting is happening this very month for a new season. The screenshot below reads: "Want to be the new X Factor star? Casting for the most vocal show in the nation, in your city soon!"

The difference with this season's casting? Instead of auditions in a dozen+ cities, there are so far only four cities on the list: Kyiv, Odessa, Lviv, and Dnipropetrovsk.

Over to you now! Do you watch any reality TV? Would you be interested in watching reality shows from another country? Which ones?


  1. shameful secret, I love reality shows. I did try to watch one season of Bachelor (Ukrainian) because a favorite of mine was on it, Maks Chmerkovskiy, but I could not make it thru! I would watch the Farmer show or at least attempt it! And I love the American Amazing Race so maybe I would try that! But I am an old lady who lived all the exciting parts of my life already, so now I just enjoy watching whatever I want! :) (I also watch intelligent shows and read a lot, so it is not a complete waste of time) :)))

    1. Your secret is safe with me ; ) Sometimes we just need a good reality show!