Verka Serduchka

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Andriy Danylko
File:Verka Serduchka ESC 2007.JPG
Born Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko
(1973-10-02) 2 October 1973 (age 46)
Poltava, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Other names Verka Serduchka
Occupation Comedian, singer
Years active 1998–present
Awards 30 px

Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko (Ukrainian: Андрі́й Миха́йлович Дани́лко; born 2 October 1973), better known for his drag stage persona Verka Serduchka (Ukrainian: Вєрка Сердючка), is a Ukrainian comedian and pop and dance singer. Danylko represented Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 as Verka Serduchka and finished in second place. Serduchka has sold over 600,000 records during her career in Ukraine. Danylko is also known for appearing as his stage persona in the comedy film Spy starring Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, and Miranda Hart.

External images
Andriy Danylko's studio photo of his Verka Serduchka character
[1] 1+1 channel

Early life

Andriy Danylko was born to a Surzhyk-speaking working-class family in Poltava. In 1980, at seven, he lost his father to lung cancer. An avid amateur performer since childhood, he graduated from the Stage&Circus College and Kiev National University of Culture and Arts in Kiev.

Early career

In 1990, Andriy Danylko began to create the character of Verka Serduchka, a flamboyant middle-aged woman railroad car operator from a rural family. Danylko presented Verka Serduchka in a Poltava comedy competition on 4 January 1991 publicly for the first time. He invented the character's name by combining the randomly picked first name Verka and the last name of a former school classmate, Anya Serduk.[1][2] Apart from pop and dance performances as Serduchka, Danylko has also performed ambient musical compositions under his real name. His popularity, however, is firmly established as Verka Serduchka, and most of his performances are done under this stage name.

Following Verka Serduchka, Danylko created other characters, such as a militsioner, a soldier and a female ballet dancer. He established Danylko Theater for touring cities of Russia and Ukraine. In 2002, Danylko, along with his group, toured in the CIS and Baltic countries with their program "I am a Revolution" for the whole year. He was the recipient of Honored Artist of Ukraine title soon after the Danylko Theater's concert tour "I Was Born for Love" the following year.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Danylko hosted a talk show called "SV-show" ("SV" is an abbreviation for Ukrainian: Спальний Вагон, "Spalnyy Vagon", which means sleeping car) on various Ukrainian television channels.[3]

Eurovision Song Contest 2007

Verka Serduchka with his ensemble in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007.

Verka Serduchka was chosen to represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 in Helsinki, Finland, with the song "Dancing Lasha Tumbai".[4] One of Ukraine's nationwide FM radio stations organized a protest action in February 2007 to express their disapproval of the selection.[5] Some Ukrainians and even members of the Ukrainian Parliament also expressed their disapproval, viewing the character of Serduchka as "grotesque and vulgar".[6][7]

Serduchka's song "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" was sung in four languages: German, English, Ukrainian, and Russian. The invented words "lasha tumbai" caused some controversy after the performance, as many people noted the phrase's similarity to "Russia Goodbye". In early publicity appearances, Serduchka said that "lasha tumbai" was a Mongolian expression for "whipped cream." His statement was denied by several Mongols who gave the correct phrase on a talk show broadcast by Channel One (Russia) just before the Eurovision Song Contest 2007.[8] The Mongolian embassy in Moscow also said that "lasha tumbai" was total gibberish.[9]

During the performance, Verka Serduchka wore clothes made by Dolce & Gabbana.[citation needed] The "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" single reached #6 in the French charts and went on to be #28 on The Official UK Singles Chart on 20 May 2007. This was the first time a non-UK non-winning Eurovision entry had made UK charts since 1974.

Danylko later made a brief phone-in appearance on the BBC's The Graham Norton Show, in which his comments made no sense whatsoever. Another call was made, but with a translator in the audience. In this instance, Danylko told guest Andrew Lloyd Webber he was "rubbish". However, in an interview with Andrew Williams in the 60 Seconds column of (30 July 2007), Danylko clarified his meaning:

AW: Why did you call Andrew Lloyd Webber ‘rubbish’ on The Graham Norton Show? AD: Someone interpreted Serduchka wrongly. I meant I watched "Cats: the Musical" on TV. It was boring. You should watch a musical on the stage. Don't watch "Cats" on TV.[10]

In the same interview, he stated that "lasha tumbai" was a somewhat made-up phrase that sounds like the Mongolian phrase for "milkshake" and that many Russians nevertheless managed to interpret it as saying "Russia goodbye!".[citation needed]

In 2011, a writer from British newspaper The Guardian described "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" as the "best song never to win Eurovision" before going on to describe Serduchka as "an oven-ready Christopher Biggins".[11]

In 2015, Danylko (using his drag character Verka Serduchka) made a cameo appearance in Spy, an American action comedy film written and directed by Paul Feig.[12]

Danylko later gave his Serduchka character a "mother," played by actress Inna Bilokon, who is Danylko's close friend since school.

At the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest held in Sweden, Danylko and Bilokon, as Serduchka and her mother, appeared as Ukraine's jury spokespeople.

Personal life

Danylko says that he is not a transvestite outside of his public performances and that his long career as a drag queen has not changed his personal life in any way, since Serduchka is simply a character and not a persona.[13] He is reluctant to discuss his private life, but he has stated that he lived with a woman for eight years, that it was a hard experience for him, and that after the breakup he became more creative again.[14]

In January 2015, photos of Danylko intimately kissing Inna Bilokon were posted online by his friend.[15]

Eurovision 2011

Serduchka had planned to participate in the Ukrainian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. He automatically qualified for the final,[16] but withdrew his nomination in October 2010.[17]

Political life

Danylko announced in 2007 that he would front a new political party, "For Ours!", to run in that year's Ukrainian parliamentary election, but he later abandoned the idea. A public opinion poll in July 2007 placed 'For Ours! Verka Serduchka' at 2% overall support.[18][19]

Eurovision 2016

In 2016, Serduchka gave the results from the Ukrainian jury in the Eurovision Song Contest.[20]



  • Я рождена для любви (Ya rozhdena dlya lyubvi, I was born for love) (1998)
  • Гоп-гоп (Hop-hop) (2002)
  • Чита дрита (Chita drita) (2003)
  • Ха-ра-шо (Kha-ra-sho - Good) (2003)
  • Жениха хотела (Zhenikha khotela - I wanted a husband) (2004)
  • После тебя (Posle tebya - After you) (2005) (released under the name Danylko: instrumental music)
  • Новые песни Верки Сердючки (Novye pesni Verki Serdyuchki - The new songs of Verka Serduchka) (2006)
  • Tralli-Valli (2006)
  • Dancing Europe (2007)
  • DoReMi DoReDo (2008)
  • Alles Gut Mamba (2011)


  • Контролер (Kontroler, 'Ticket collector') (1999)
  • Гоп гоп (Hop hop,[21] 'Jump jump') (2002)
  • Я не поняла (Ya ne ponyala, 'I didn't understand') (2003)
  • Всё будет хорошо (Vsyo budet khorosho, 'Everything will be fine') (2003)
  • Пирожок (Pyrozhok, 'Pie') (2003)
  • Горилка (Horilka) (2003)
  • Чита Дрита (Chyta-dryta) (2004)
  • Попала на любовь (Ya popala na lyubov, 'I Fell in Love') (2004)
  • Тук тук тук (Tuk tuk tuk, 'Knock Knock Knock') (2004)
  • Хорошо красавицам (Khorosho krasavitsam, ''Tis swell to be a belle') (2006)
  • Tralli-valli (2006)
  • А я смеюсь (A ya smeyus, 'And I'm laughing') (2006)
  • Dancing Lasha Tumbai (2007)
  • Kiss please (2007)
  • I am Eurovision Queen (2008)
  • До-ре-ми (Do Re Mi) (2008)
  • Essen (2008)
  • Dolce & Gabbana (2010)

Chart position

Year Single Chart positions Album
2007 "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" 6 2 28 31 6 74 49 53 48 52 45 Dancing Europe

Other songs

  • Переполох (Perepolokh) with Philip Kirkorov (2007)
  • Горбачев (Gorbachev) (2008)
  • Kafeshka (Café) with Philip Kirkorov
  • Kerubino (As Andriy Danylko)
  • Новогодняя (Novogodnyaya, (happy) new year). As Andriy Danylko, with Alla Pugacheva and various artists
  • Danylko Tango (As Verka Serduchka & Andriy Danylko)
  • Dolce & Gabbana (2009)
  • I Love You (2010)
  • Spy Party (2015)


  • The Best. Clips of various years (2009). Danylko also starred in the Russian New Year's Eve movie- The New Adventure of Aladin in late 2011.


Danylko in the image of Verka Serduchka, starred in a cameo role in the film "spy", which premiered May 22, 2015 in New York in (in Ukraine 4 June 2015 ). In the film loud Verka Serduchka performs the " Eurovision" in 2007, the year song «Dancing Lasha Tumbai» in the streets of Paris in which the main characters will conduct a gunfight.


  1. "Danylko become Serduchka because of school girlfriend" (in Russian). 2003-12-04. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Ryzancheva, Elena. "Interview with Verka Serduchka-Danylko" (in Russian). <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Danylko's biography" (in Russian). <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Verka Serduchka went to the Eurovision-2007 song contest". (in Russian). Retrieved March 17, 2007. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. ""No to Euroserduchka!" - protest action of an FM radio station" (in Ukrainian). NTN (Channel). Retrieved May 10, 2007. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Fawkes, Helen (April 2, 2007). "Eurovision act angers Ukrainians". BBC News. Retrieved May 11, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Eurovision: Verka Serduchka will disgrace Ukraine" (in Ukrainian). Korrespondent. Archived from the original on March 20, 2007. Retrieved May 11, 2007. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Russian Channel One Takes Offence at Verka Serduchka". Ukrainian Newspaper (in Ukrainian). Retrieved May 21, 2007. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Ukrainian drag queen a front-runner at Eurovision". Agence France Presse. May 12, 2007. Archived from the original on December 14, 2009. Retrieved December 14, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "60 SECONDS: Verka Serduchka".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Raeside, Julia (May 10, 2011). "Six to watch: memorable Eurovision moments". London: The Guardian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Lewis, Pete (April 27, 2014). "Ukraine: Verka hits Hollywood in spy movie".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Данилко обижается, когда его считают извращенцем (in Russian). 1+1 channel. Retrieved July 15, 2013. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Andriy Danylko: "I had a difficult experience living together with a woman..."" (in Russian). Retrieved May 13, 2007. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Данилка заскочили за пристрасним поцілунком з "мамою" Сердючки. ФОТО (Ukrainian)
  16. (Ukrainian) "Gogol Bordello" не буде на "Євробаченні", а Сердючка вже у фіналі, Табло ID (August 20, 2010)
  17. (Ukrainian) Сердючка передумала їхати на "Євробачення", Табло ID (October 13, 2010)
  18. "Socialists Lose Their Rating". Ukrayinska Pravda. 2007-07-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Ukraine's election campaign: mired in scandal". Russia Today. 2007-08-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Eurovision scoring 2016 from Ukraine
  21. Also transliterated as Gop gop

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tina Karol
with "Show Me Your Love"
Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Ani Lorak
with "Shady Lady"