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What have you got to say for yourself…Serbia?

Posted by Caroline on May 13, 2012

Mind your manners everybody, we are in the presence of Eurovision royalty – Serbia’s Zeljko Joksimovic to be precise. Yes, the man who came second in 2004 with the splendid Lane Moje and wrote Bosnia and Herzegovina’s giant-killing Lejla in 2006 returns to the Eurovision stage this year with the similarly fabby Nije Ljubav Stvar – but before he does that he faces the even more fearsome challenge of the Eurovision Blog interview:

So what prompted you to return to the Eurovision stage this year? Eurovision is always challenging for me. It inspires me in some very strange way. And of course, would like to have the best result.

Are you looking forward to going to Baku and what can we expect from your stage show? Yes, I am definitely looking forward to go in Azerbaijan and to see how they will organize the event as I believe that it will be something very very good. From my side, everything will be different then you saw till now , in a way that I am waiting to show you the performance.

Last time you took part in Eurovision you finished second, how do you plan to go one better this year? The song Lane Moje was a big hit, and I do believe that Nije Ljubav Stvar will be even better. Always believe that a good song is the best recipe for success.

What do you plan to do differently this time around, if anything? Many things and we are doing it. First, the song is different, performance will be and promotion of the song of course etc. But you will see very soon.

Which of this year’s other entries do you rate? I think that there are several very interesting songs this year and it will be a strong competition.

Here in the UK Eurovision is regarded by many as a bit of a joke, an attitude which a lot of us are trying to change. How is it regarded in Serbia?
Well, in Serbia people mostly love to watch it, and there are many fans especially after the event in 2008. It is considering as big family TV event and it is.

Why do you think so many people still love it so much even after all this time?
It is always new every year and in the same moment it has a sort of tradition.

Have you heard the UK entry and what do you think of it, and our somewhat older representative? Any chance of some points? (please…..:))
Who knows! But UK representative is known world wide and I wish him all the best at Eurovision stage in Baku.

And finally, tell me why Serbia should have the chance to host Eurovision in 2013 and which city would you choose to host it?
First, the song Nije ljubav stvar is very good song. Second we do want and we are ready to host it and I believe that here in Serbia ESC still means a lot.

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Interviews, Serbia | 2 Comments »

See anyone you recognise?

Posted by Caroline on March 14, 2012

Well you should do if you’ve been watching Eurovision for a while because this chap, Zeljko Joksimovic, finished in second place for the country once known as Serbia and Montenegro in 2004, singing the hauntingly beautiful Lane Moje. Since then he’s gone on to write the hauntingly beautiful Leilja for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which came third in 2006 – but we’re getting the impression he’d quite like to come first for once. As such he’s back for Serbia this year with this little number, Synonym, which was presented on a special show on Serbian TV the other night which featured Zeljko singing a back catalogue of his greatest hits before he finally got around to presenting his entry for Baku – and do we really need to tell you what it’s like? Just see above, basically.

The only main difference this time is he presented the song in English, and we’re still not sure if he’ll be going for that in the contest or sticking to his native tongue. Bit of advice here? We’d stick to Serbian if we were you, unless you really want the song to sound like something out of an overblown West End stage musical. Because in all other respects – and while we’re not entirely sure this will do as well as its predecessors – this is really very good indeed:

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Serbia | 1 Comment »

Just talk to us already: Serbia

Posted by Caroline on April 23, 2011

Let’s give a warm welcome to Nina, the first ever Serbian participant to tackle the Eurovision Blog interview. Young lady, we salute you (and your song’s not half bad either!)

Introduce yourself and tell us how you ended up representing Serbia in Eurovision this year!
Hi, my name is Nina and I am ordinary girl from Belgrade, student and singer. This year is magical year for me, as I ended up as Serbian representative on this year Eurovision Song Contest. This is big honor for me and I will try my best on Düsseldorf stage. I was selected on National Contest in Belgrade, after composer Christina Covac decided that I should be the voice for her fantastic composition called “Magical”.

Are you looking forward to going to Düsseldorf? What can we expect from your stage show?  Yes I am, really looking forward to this year Contest. My stage show will be very similar as the one that won Serbian Contest. It is retro, cheerful, fun.

Which of this year’s other entries do you rate? I rate all entries, really I do. Congratulations to all participants from Serbia and myself.

Which is your favorite Eurovision entry of all time and which is your favorite from your home country? Of course that I admire group ABBA and also I do think that Marija Serifovic from Serbia who won ESC 2007 is the best our song of all time.

Here in the UK Eurovision is regarded by many as a bit of a joke (something we are aiming to change this year with our entry). How is it regarded in Serbia? I think that some things are changing globally considering Eurovison. In last 10 years stage show was as much important as the songs. I believe that some new wave is coming up and that quality of the songs is now days something to consider and that is good.

Why do you think so many people still love it so much even after all this time?
Eurovision Song Contest has its specific charm and long tradition. It is unique and it is family TV show for all generation.

What will be the first thing you do if you win? Well I did not thought about it but I presume that I would share that emotion with my beloved ones.

Have you heard the UK entry and what do you think of it? Is it a bit better than our recent entries or are we going to come last again? Be honest……:) Yes, it is definitely better and I wish you all success and good results in final.

And finally, tell me why Serbia should have the chance to host Eurovision again in 2012 and which city would you choose to host it? Well, Serbia is changing on better every year. Belgrade is beautiful and it is capital of the country. Of course, maybe we could consider Novi Sad as host as well. We love to host big shows in our country and I just can say that it would be amazing to do it again after just 4 years.

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Eurovision News, Interviews, Serbia | Leave a Comment »

My Big Fat Weekend Round-Up (Part 1)…..

Posted by Caroline on February 27, 2011

Phew, what a weekend it’s been so far! Snacks have been consumed, drinks have been drunk and songs have been chosen by the bucketload.  And it all kicked off on Friday with Turkey revealing its entry for Dusseldorf. Now the law of averages dictates that since the Turks fielded a hairy man-band last year, 2011 should have been their year to send some winsome coiffeured diva singing a spot of ethno-pop – and as such, they have, er, fielded another hairy man-band. Yuksek Sadakat have come up with a decidedly retro sounding rock anthem entitled Live It Up, complete with guitars, bleepy keyboard breaks and somewhat dated lyrics which make lots of references to rock’n’roll and the radio. An acquaintance of ours claims to be ‘obsessed’ with this song, and while we wouldn’t go that far we do rather like its anthemic sound and pleasingly nostalgic feel, and we have no doubt it will breeze through to the final and stay there. But let’s be honest, the Turks could send a flatulent donkey playing the nose-flute for two and a half minutes and they would still make it to the final:

Also making a welcome return to the fray on Friday were Austria who bypassed the option of choosing a song by Sting’s son Joe Sumner in favour of  Nadine Beiler and her big ballad The Secret Of Love. There aren’t a lot of ballads around this year (well there’s Lithuania but the less said about that the better – more of that later however….) – possibly because so many were entered and flopped dismally last year – so this one could potentially stand out from the pack, particularly since Nadine has a strikingly good voice. But the song is as cliched as they come, right down to harmonies and appropriate key changes, and for all the world sounds as though it could have walked straight out of any mid-90s contest. Could be a popular one with the juries though, even if it does inspire fans across the continent to dash off for a toilet break:

Moving on to Saturday, the first of six countries to make their choice for L’Allemagne was Moldova, who in a ‘stick with what you know’ kind of way have once again chosen Zdob si Zdub to perform their song (you may remember them as the nutters who gave the country a smashing debut result in 2005 with Bunica Bate Toba, featuring a random pensioner playing the drums). This time around there’s no sign of grandma, and in her absence their song, So Lucky, doesn’t have nearly as much charm as their previous entry – but it’s not a bad little ditty nonetheless:

Estonia have once again come up with a fairly decent, contemporary sounding, could-do-very-well-indeed type of tune in the shape of Rockefeller Street by Getter Jaani. We promise to like this even more than we do already as long as she solemnly swears not to wear that dress in the semi-final:

Ukraine, meanwhile, provided an interesting viewing experience with an oddly subdued national final (where were the shrieking, appreciative studio audience?) which also featured a simultaneous English translation, at least on the bit that we saw. We particularly enjoyed the bit when the presenter, looking a bit lost and puzzled, told viewers, “We’re going to take a break for the news now…we’ll be back in less than 20 minutes.” Eh?????? HOW many minutes exactly?? And these people managed to organise and screen an entire contest? Or possibly they just fell victim to a spot of bad translation….but anyway it makes no difference because the winner, Mika Newton’s Angely, is about as dull a song as they could have chosen, and matters aren’t improved by the fact that she is engulfed by bizarre acrobatic dancers as she performs. Come on, this is Ukraine! We want to see mad glossy-haired divas cavorting about the stage or some other general weirdness, not this….!:

Serbia’s final featured a family of songwriters competing against each other for the Dusseldorf ticket – and eventually Kristina Kovac’s track  Caroban, performed by the elfin -haired Nina (is it just us or does she look a bit like a female Milan Stankovic?) triumphed. And actually we love this, with its distinctive 1960s tone, eye-strainingly colourful costumes and general goofiness. One for the final, we think – and anybody who complains it ‘doesn’t sound very Serbian, does it?” can bog right off this minute…..

Next up we have Latvia, whose voters bypassed the hot favourite Banjo Laura in favour of this little oddity, Angel in Disguise by Musiqq – or as we like to refer to them, Diva Fever of Riga. This isn’t actually a bad little song but the presentation is just baffling – you have a dance track on your hands, chaps, so why are you just sitting there? Either this is that trademark Latvian quirkiness that permeates every entry of yours, or you just don’t want us to know that you actually dance like a geography teacher at a sixth form disco:

And finally, we come to Denmark, and once again the Scandinavians have come up trumps with a corker of a song. New Tomorrow by A Friend In London pushes all the right buttons – big, scarf-waving harmonies, a chorus that sticks in your head and stays there, plus it’s very commercial and radio-friendly – and, we might add, one of our favourites so far. The only slight problem – from our point of view at least – is that A Friend In London just happen to be a four-piece boy band. Er……haven’t we come up with that idea already? We don’t want to put a dampener on the UK’s chances but if Blue don’t come up with something equally as good as this we fear that the Danish quartet just might wipe the floor with our boys…….

And on that note, we’re off for a long lie-down. Or at least until it begins all over again this evening with Slovenia and FYR Macedonia…….

Posted in Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Lost In Translation?

Posted by Caroline on March 19, 2010

One of the great advantages of singing your Eurovision entry in your native language (unless said language happens to be English of course) is that only speakers of that dialect will have any idea what you’re going on about. Technically of course this means you can sing about anything you want and the vast majority of viewers will just nod and smile and happily go along with it. Isn’t that right, Serbia?

(Scroll down to the English translation to see what we’re talking about. And we don’t know who this Ljubica is exactly, but frankly she scares us……….:) )

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Serbia | 1 Comment »

Curiouser and Curiouser…..

Posted by Caroline on March 17, 2010

Now we know we’re a little bit behind on bringing you the latest crop of songs, but they’ve all happened so fast and we’re so busy with actual – how shall we put this? – proper jobs at the moment that we’re fighting to keep up! Bear with us, we shall post everything as soon as we can, complete with salient comment. Starting with this oddball duo which weighed in over the weekend. The first song comes from Estonia, who surprised us all in 2009 after years in the semi-final wilderness, by producing one of the best songs in the contest (and they were duly rewarded with a top ten placing). But how do you follow a success like Urban Symphony? By, er, sending someone called Malcolm. Malcolm Lincoln, to be precise.  Doesn’t sound very Estonian to us. So we were relieved to discover that it’s actually the name of a group rather than an individual, a duo who have teamed up with backing vocalists Manpower 4 to give us this offering, an uber-quirky number called Siren. We’re not sure why we like this. The fact that in a year where everything is either very much ballad or uptempo this is actually neither? The fact it appeals to our indiepop sensibilities? That it’s physically impossible to dance to in a Radiohead Paranoid Android kind of way? Or simply that it sounds like nothing else in the contest? Oh yes, that’ll be it. Not sure how this one will do, or if it’ll even make it out of the semi-finals, since it might be just too offbeat for the tastes of your average Eurovision voter. But let’s hope not, for we maintain the final would be a richer place with this song in it. Meanwhile, rumours that Latvia are planning to send a singer called Colin in 2011, thus causing a collective nation to fall over in shock, have been staunchly denied…..

Also taking the path of all things weird and wonderful is Serbia, who we’re pleased to see have finally found their sense of fun after the string of very serious songs they sent to Eurovision in the beginning.Yes, Cipela might have been a load of old nonsense but it was entertaining – which pretty much sums up our feelings about this year’s effort. Ovo Je Balkan (This Is The Balkans) by Milan Stankovic is a daft but irresistibly catchy folk tune accompanied by mad dancing, ladies in headscarves and – oh yes – clothes falling off midway through the song.  It’s one of those ones you’ll either love or loathe, and the fact we’ve been walking around all week shouting ‘Balkan! Balkan! Balkan!’ at every possible moment (although generally under our breath on public transport) should give you some idea of where our loyalties lie. Stankovic himself does remind us somewhat of a Thunderbirds puppet, mind, with his uber-smooth skin and jerky dancing – but that aside, we have a sneaking suspicion this will sail through to the final. Mind you, we said that about Serbia last year…..

Posted in Estonia, Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Serbia | Leave a Comment »

Another Great Big Round-Up!

Posted by Caroline on March 9, 2009

There’s been such a recent flurry of activity on the national finals front that we just can’t keep up with it all. So let’s just round up some more of the entries into one handy, easy to manage post – beginning with Israel’s effort from renowned chanteuse Noa and Israeli Arab singer Mira Awad:

‘Pleasant’ is the word which springs immediately to mind, and we’re not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but the partnership is certainly an interesting one. Whether or not this gets lost in the mix on the night is another matter entirely.

We doubt, however, that the Ukrainian entry from Svetlana Loboda is likely to be forgotten in a hurry…..

Now it could be just us but we’re trying to decide whether this is a complete work of genius or a total crime against Eurovision. Either way there is so much to enjoy about it – the comedy moustaches, the seemingly spontaneous drum solo, Svetlana’s ridiculously OTT outfit, the way in which one of the backing dancers is holding her upside down over his shoulders like some latter day caveman – that we’re prepared to overlook the fact that for all intents and purposes it is a tuneless wail of a song. We are, however convinced that only a Eurovision country as popular and successful as Ukraine could possibly get away with something like this – in other words Andrew Lloyd Webber, don’t even think about doing something similar in 2010…..

And onwards to host nation Russia, this year represented by, er, a Ukrainian, Anastasia Prohodko:

Now a friend of Team Eurovision reliably informs us that this is “very Russian” – which is all very well except it will have a hard time appealing to anybody west of Kiev. Are the Russians trying really hard to ensure that they don’t have to host again next year or are we beng a tad cynical?

And so, onwards, to the first Slovakian entry in years, a duet sung by Kamil Miculcik and Nela Pociskova:

And the less said about that one the better. Except possibly that Kamil looks scarily like the kind of actor you used to see in,er,special 1970s movies for the single gentleman. On that note, let us move swiftly on to Estonia’s Urban Symphony:

Now we quite like this, and think it could even be the song to drag Estonia kicking and screaming out of semi-final doldrums for the first time ever. Our only reservation is, that since we already have Norway and Slovenia strutting their stuff with fiddles, could this be one violin too many? Hope not, because we actually think this deserves to qualify.

And finally, we have recent winners Serbia, this year fielding twosome Marko Kon and Milan Nikolic:

And, er, frankly we’re speechless.Yes, it’s certainly nice to see the Serbs letting their hair down a bit after a run of very serious songs, but there are ways of lightening the tone and, er, ways of lightening the tone. And we’re not convinced that entering a gruff-voiced Michael Moore lookalike (albeit one who appears to have stuck his finger in a live socket before coming on stage) accompanied by some random bloke playing the accordion is how to do it. Let’s just say it’s “catchy” and leave it at that, shall we……..?

Posted in Estonia, Israel, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine | 2 Comments »