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Euro hit Tina

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2006-05-19

Tina Karol

Tina Karol

Ukrainian singer Tina Karol has confirmed her place in the Eurovision Song Contest final, which takes place in Athens on Saturday.

The 21-year-old secured her spot with a strong performance of her song, Show Me Your Love, which won over fans across Europe in the semi-final on Thursday, landing one of 10 remaining places in the final.

The daughter of a Jewish engineer, Tina – whose real name is Tatiana Liberman – was born on January 25 1985 in the Magadan region of Russia. Her musical career began when she was a teenager, taking part in Jewish and Israeli music festivals both in her home country and abroad.

"For four years, I performed with the dancing ensemble at the Kiev branch of the Jewish Agency, and my repertoire included songs in Hebrew and in Yiddish," she recently revealed.

She also made her mark in a series of charity concerts all over the US, as well as performing for the Ukranian Armed Forces and going on peacekeeping missions to Iraq and Kosovo. However, little is actually known about her Jewish background – and Tina hasn't given much away.

"There was a period in my life when I was deciding on my religious beliefs, but now I think I've found my stand on this," she says. "I believe in God, but I don't identify with any particular religion."

However, Tina faces competition from other Jewish hopes in Saturday’s event – including teenage singer Liel.  The 16-year-old Israeli singer is a big star both at home and across Europe, and is probably best known for performing with former president Bill Clinton – and she's hoping to add Eurovision success to her list of achievements.

However, she's not representing Israel, as you might expect, but is in fact one member of Six4One, a multi-national group representing Switzerland (which also features members from Bosnia , Malta and Portugal among others). Their song, If We All Give A Little, will start the contest on Saturday and is being tipped to do well.

And what of Israel themselves? Well, their participant isn't actually Jewish, but is in fact an African-American who lives in Jerusalem and is currently undergoing conversion to Judaism. Eddie Butler previously sang for Israel as part of the band Eden in 1999 (when the contest took place in Jerusalem), and this year is back as a solo performer with the ballad Together We Are One.

Caroline Westbrook is editor of Eurovisionblog.com  - a blog dedicated to Eurovision.