Verka Serduchka

Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko (Ukrainian: Андрі́й Миха́йлович Дани́лко; Russian: Андрей Миха́йлович Дани́лко, romanizedAndréy Mikháylovich Danílko; born 2 October 1973), better known for his drag stage persona Verka Serduchka (Ukrainian: Вє́рка Сердю́чка, IPA: [ˈwjɛrkɐ serˈdʲutʃkɐ]; Russian: Ве́рка Сердю́чка), 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 his career in Ukraine. As a character actor, Danylko has also appeared in over a dozen television films and is also known for his cameo in the 2015 American comedy film Spy.

Andriy Danylko
Андрій Данилко
Danylko in 2021
Danylko in 2021
Background information
Birth nameAndriy Mykhailovych Danylko
Also known asVerka Serduchka
Born (1973-10-02) 2 October 1973 (age 48)
Poltava, Ukrainian SSR, USSR
GenresComedy, parody, pop, pop-folk, folk rock
Occupation(s)Comedian, singer
Years active1998–present
LabelsCD Land, mamamusic

Early life and educationEdit

Andriy Danylko was born to a working-class family in Poltava. His mother, Svitlana Volkova, came from the noble Khomentovsky family, a friend of whose family was a famous Ukrainian artist Ilya Repin.[1] In 1980, at seven, he lost his father to lung cancer.

Since childhood, Danilko showed talents in drawing and music: in 1984 he entered art school.[2] The talents of the future artist were early manifested in other areas as well: Andriy was the captain of the KVN school team, played as a schoolboy for the CPTU № 30 team, and also performed annually on the stage in the summer children's camp. In addition, at school Andrew became interested in theater, in the seventh grade he entered the local theater studio, was engaged in the theater studio "Grotesque", and was part of the theater group "Compote".[3] In 1991, he graduated from Poltava Secondary School № 27. An avid amateur performer since childhood, he graduated from the Kyiv State College of Circus and Variety Arts.


Early careerEdit

In 1990, Andriy Danylko began to create the character of Verka Serduchka, a flamboyant middle-aged woman from a rural family, working as a railroad sleeping car attendant. Danylko presented Serduchka publicly for the first time in a Poltava comedy competition on 4 January 1991. He invented the character's name by combining the randomly picked first name Verka and the last name of a former school classmate, Anna Serduk.[4][5] Danylko later gave his Serduchka character a "mother," played by actress Inna Bilokon, who had been Danylko's close friend since school.

After Verka Serduchka, Danylko created other characters, such as a police officer, a soldier and a female ballet dancer. He established the troupe "Danylko Theater" to tour the cities of Russia and Ukraine. In 2002, Danylko, along with his group, toured in the CIS and Baltic countries with the program "I am a Revolution" for the whole year. The following year he was awarded the title of Honored Artist of Ukraine soon after the Danylko Theater concert tour "I Was Born for Love".

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.[6] In 2001, Danylko made his first appearance in one of several musicals produced for television, mostly in female comic portrayals based on the Serduchka character (see Filmography). Several of these productions were shown in the New Year's Eve broadcasts of Russia-1 television.

Apart from pop and dance performances as Serduchka, Danylko has also performed ambient musical compositions under his real name, including the 2005 album После тебя (Posle tebya: After you).

Eurovision Song Contest 2007Edit

Verka Serduchka with her 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".[7] One of Ukraine's nationwide FM radio stations organized a protest action in February 2007 to express their disapproval of the selection.[8] Some Ukrainians and even members of the Ukrainian Parliament also expressed their disapproval, viewing the character of Serduchka as "grotesque and vulgar".[9][10]

Serduchka's song "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" was sung in two languages: German and English. 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 explained 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.[11] The Mongolian embassy in Moscow also said that "lasha tumbai" was total gibberish.[12]

In the final, "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" came in second with 235 points. The "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" single reached No. 6 in the French charts and went on to be No. 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 appeared to tell 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.[13]

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".[14]

Later careerEdit

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.[15][16]

Serduchka had planned to participate in the Ukrainian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. He automatically qualified for the final,[17] but withdrew his nomination in October 2010.[18]

Danylko appeared as the character Verka Serduchka in a cameo role in the 2015 American action comedy movie Spy, which premiered 22 May 2015 in New York City and 4 June 2015 in Ukraine. In the scene, set in Paris, Serduchka's open-air performance of "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" is interrupted by CIA agents Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) and Rick Ford (Jason Statham).[19]

Since 2016, Andriy has been a constant judge at Vidbir, Ukraine's National Selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. In the 2016 telecast of the Eurovision Song Contest, Serduchka announced the results from the Ukrainian jury. Bilokon, portraying Serduchka's mother, accompanied Danylko.[20]

2016—2019 – member of the jury of the talent show "X-Factor" on STB TV channel.[21]

Andriy Danylko out of drag in 2018.

For the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest hosted in Ukraine, a series of short video clips, titled "Verkavision", were produced that chronicled the fictional back story of the character of Verka Serduchka and her journey as a Eurovision "star".[22] Verka also appeared on stage during the final, and opened the televote.

In May 2017, Andriy Danylko announced that he had decided to "bury" Verka Serdyuchka's stage image.[23] The actor stated that he no longer wants to perform on the big stage in such a role. Despite this, Andriy continued his active concert activity.[24]

On June 28, 2017, on the Constitution Day of Ukraine, he gave a big free solo concert in Kyiv, as part of the Atlas weekend festival.[25] The event gathered a record number of spectators – more than 100 thousand people came to the square in front of the stage.[26]

In 2019, Verka appeared in the Eurovision Song Contest final hosted in Israel singing the previous year's winning song, "Toy", as part of the "Switch Song" interval act.[27]

In 2020 Verka released the EP Sexy.

In 2021 he became one of the star detectives of the Ukrainian adaptation of the international format "Masked Singer" on the channel "Ukraine" – the show "Mask".[28][29]

Also in 2021, in the image of Verka Serdyuchka, he became the host of one of the issues of the anniversary season of the travel show "Oryol i Reshka" together with Vera Brezhneva.[30][31]

Awards and recognitionEdit

In 2003, Danylko was honored with the title People's Artist of Ukraine.[32] In 2007, Verka Serduchka received the Barbara Dex Award for worst outfit in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007.[33]

Verka Serdyuchka's performance with the song "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" is one of the 8 brightest numbers in the history of "Eurovision".[34][35]

In 2016, Serduchka's costume from the performance at "Eurovision-2007" went to the ABBA The Museum (Stockholm), where in honor of the 60th anniversary of the competition was an interactive exhibition "Good evening Europe!".[36][37]

In 2020, the song "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" sounded in the British series "Killing Eve". In the fifth series of the fourth season, the main character of the series Villanelle dances to her at the annual harvest festival.[38]

Personal lifeEdit

In 2013, Danylko bought a Rolls-Royce that once belonged to Freddie Mercury, with plans to donate it to a museum devoted to the group Queen.[39]

Danylko has said in interviews that he does not engage in transvestitism outside of his public performances, with a distinction between his stage persona and his personal life.[40] He is reluctant to discuss his private affairs beyond this, though he has stated in interviews that he had a difficult relationship with a woman with whom he lived for eight years.[41] In January 2015, photos of Danylko intimately kissing actress Inna Bilokon were posted online by a friend.[42]


Studio albums


As performerEdit

  • (2001): Vechera na khutore bliz Dikanki, a musical remake of the 1961 movie of the same name: Danylko portrayed "Serduchka, the Village Moonshiner" and performed Horilka.[43]
  • (2003): Zolushka (Cinderella): the wicked stepsister Brunhilda. Songs included Ya ne ponyala ("I don't understand"), performed together with the pop trio VIA Gra.
  • (2003): The Crazy Day or The Marriage of Figaro, a musical remake of the Beaumarchais play: Cherubino (a male character).
  • (2004): The Fair at Sorochyntsi (Sorochinskaya yarmarka), an adaptation of Gogol's story. Songs included "Ti napivsya yak svinya" ("You're drunk as a pig") and "Ne kupish lyubov" ("You can't buy love").
  • (2004): Za dvumya zaytsami ("Chasing two hares"), a musical remake of a 1961 comedy: a double role as "Svetlana Markovna" and "Anton the Maniac".
  • (2005): "Три мушкетера" ("The Three Musketeers").
  • (2006): "The Adventures of Verka Serduchka".
  • (2007): "Очень новогоднее кино, или Ночь в музее" ("New Year's Movie; or Night at the Museum").
  • (2010): "Морозко" ("Jack Frost").
  • (2011): "The New Adventures of Aladdin", starring Oscar Kucera and Ani Lorak: "the Genie".
  • (2012): "Красная шапочка" ("Little Red Riding Hood"): the title role.
  • (2013): "Три богатыря" ("Three Warriors").
  • (2015): Spy: a cameo appearance as Verka Serduchka.

As composerEdit

  • (2009): Весельчаки (Veselchaki): a comedy about performers at a drag club.


  1. ^ (27 December 2012). "Андрей Данилко ищет свои дворянские корни (ФОТО)". (in Russian). Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Андрей Данилко именинник: украинскому артисту 44". Joinfo Новости (in Russian). 2 October 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Мама Андрея Данилко: «Когда сын начинал карьеру, я могла помочь ему разве что… старой юбкой, в которой он вышел на сцену в образе Сердючки"". (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Danylko become Serduchka because of school girlfriend" (in Russian). 4 December 2003.
  5. ^ Ryzancheva, Elena. "Interview with Verka Serduchka-Danylko" (in Russian).
  6. ^ "Danylko's biography" (in Russian).
  7. ^ "Verka Serduchka went to the Eurovision-2007 song contest". (in Russian). Retrieved 17 March 2007.
  8. ^ ""No to Euroserduchka!" – protest action of an FM radio station" (in Ukrainian). NTN. Retrieved 10 May 2007.
  9. ^ Fawkes, Helen (2 April 2007). "Eurovision act angers Ukrainians". BBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2007.
  10. ^ "Eurovision: Verka Serduchka will disgrace Ukraine" (in Ukrainian). Korrespondent. Archived from the original on 20 March 2007. Retrieved 11 May 2007.
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  15. ^ "Socialists Lose Their Rating". Ukrayinska Pravda. 31 July 2007.
  16. ^ "Ukraine's election campaign: mired in scandal". RT. 25 August 2007.
  17. ^ (in Ukrainian) "Gogol Bordello" не буде на "Євробаченні", а Сердючка вже у фіналі, Табло ID (20 August 2010)
  18. ^ (in Ukrainian) Сердючка передумала їхати на "Євробачення", Табло ID (13 October 2010)
  19. ^ Lewis, Pete (27 April 2014). "Ukraine: Verka hits Hollywood in spy movie".
  20. ^ "All the Jury votes of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest" – via
  21. ^ ""Х-фактор» по-новому: мочите всех!". МедиаНяня – таблоид для и про медиа. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  22. ^ "Verkavision Part II at the second Semi-Final of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest".
  23. ^ "У Києві прощатимуться з Вєркою Сердючкою". ФАКТИ ICTV (in Ukrainian). 25 May 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Kartina.TV Концерт 10-летия |". 5 May 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  25. ^ "Зірка із зіркою: Вєрка Сердючка влаштувала третій Майдан на Atlas Weekend". OBOZREVATEL NEWS (in Ukrainian). 29 June 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  26. ^ "Верка Сердючка на Atlas Weekend: "Друзья, я хочу випить за всіх вас. Якби не ви, не жила б я на Хрещатику" (фото)". (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  27. ^ "- YouTube".
  28. ^ "Данилко став четвертим детективом у шоу "Маска"". Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  29. ^ Цомкало, Анастасія (8 December 2020). "Андрій Данилко буде розплутувати загадки проекту "МАСКА"". (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  30. ^ "Брежнєва і Вєрка Сердючка стали ведучими шоу "Орел і решка"". Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  31. ^ "Вера Брежнева и Верка Сердючка с мамой стали ведущими шоу «Орел и Решка"". (in Russian). Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  32. ^ Sabrine Jaszi. "Verka Serduchka". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  33. ^ Floras, Stella (21 May 2007). "Verka wins 2007 Barbara Dex Award". ESCToday. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  34. ^ "Евровидение-2019: интересные факты и лучшие выступления". Tandem – Speak Any Language. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  35. ^ Миловидова, Настя (21 March 2013). "Верка Сердючка стала международным термином". Новости в 'Час Пик' (in Russian). Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  36. ^ "Костюм Верки Сердючки назвали одним из самых ценных вещей "Евровидения"". (in Russian). Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  37. ^ "У Стокгольмі відкрилася виставка про Євробачення". (in Russian). Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  38. ^ "Вот это прикол: Верка Сердючка звучит в нашумевшем британском сериале «Убивая Еву"". (in Russian). Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  39. ^ "Ukrainian pop-idol star buys Freddie Mercury's Rolls-Royce". 28 January 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  40. ^ Данилко обижается, когда его считают извращенцем (in Russian). 1+1 channel. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  41. ^ "Andriy Danylko: "I had a difficult experience living together with a woman..."" (in Russian). Retrieved 13 May 2007.
  42. ^ "Данилка заскочили за пристрасним поцілунком з "мамою" Сердючки. ФОТО". ТаблоID (in Ukrainian).
  43. ^ "Andrey Danylko". IMDb. Retrieved 7 August 2016.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by