Now that the National Finals season is finished and all songs for Eurovision 2016 have been selected we now have a period of around 3 weeks where we wait for the rehearsals to begin in Stockholm. What better way to fill the time than to look back over the 60 years of Eurovision at some of the best and worst entries that countries have sent to the Eurovision stage. There are 43 countries going to Stockholm to take part in the 2016 edition of our favourite musical extravaganza and we continue our journey with Serbia who have won the contest once and finished third once and been in the top 10 another twice. They have never finished last but have failed to qualify from the Semi Final on two occasions. This has all been achieved in only 8 participations. You can check out the previous articles in the best and worst series for Ireland HERE ,Spain HERE, Austria HERE, Bosnia & Herzegovina HERE, Iceland HERE, Belarus HERE, Denmark HERE, Georgia HERE, Germany HERE, Cyprus HERE, Finland HERE, Belgium HERE, Hungary HERE, Switzerland HERE, Ukraine HERE,Moldova HERE, Estonia HERE, Norway HERE, Italy HERE, Slovenia HERE,The Netherlands HERE, Armenia HERE, Azerbaijan HERE, San Marino HERE, Israel HERE,Albania HERE and Poland HERE.
So this year Serbia are represented by Sanja Vučić ZAA with the song ‘Goodbye (Shelter) ‘. We will have to wait and see if it turns out to be more of a best or worst song for Serbia but the overall reaction is fairly positive so far. You can catch up on our recent article revealing some things we didn’t know about Sanja HERE.
So my selections for best and worst entries are based on a combination of actual results and personal taste. Now Serbia have only eight entries to choose from making the task a lot easier. There are some great songs from Serbia over the years but I am struggling to find any bad ones. It is likely I will highlight all eight entries here.
We only have to go back a short while to find our first song that is one of the best for Serbia. The year was 2007 and we were in Helsinki to see Marija Šerifović singing the song ‘Molitva’.
Now this was the debut entry for Serbia after they had split ties with Montenegro whom they had jointly competed with in the past. Marija was a fairly young singer who was chosen to sing her song at a preselection show. Now the song was recorded in various other language versions and was presented on stage with minimum gimmicks or pyros. Marija was backed by 5 female backing singers who went on to become the group Beauty Queens. The staging was described as a daringly lesbian chic-tinged act. It became the first non English song to win since 1998 and it was also the first time a ballad has won since televoting became the standard and the first one of the so-called Balkan Ballads that came to prominence since the late 1990s to win the contest. It won both the Semi Final and Final with 298 and 268 points respectively.
So moving along we look at one of the worst entries for Serbia. We were in Malmo in 2013 to see Moje 3 perform the song ‘Ljubav je svuda’.
Now the song was a dance track that was performed in Serbian. Several versions of the song were added to a digital download including karaoke and pop rock versions in both English and Serbian. The group Moje 3 wore extremely colourful costumes in their performance. It was all a bit of a mish mash of clashing colours. Inevitably they won the Barabara Dex award after the show which is presented to the worst dressed act. It went on to finish in 11th place in their Semi Final with only 46 points therefore narrowly failing to qualify for Serbia for their second time.
So now we move back to look at another best of entry for Serbia. We were in Baku in 2012 and the performer was Željko Joksimović with the song ‘Nije ljubav stvar’.
Now the song was yet another classic Balkan Ballad written and performed by the Eurovision maestro of the genre Željko Joksimović. It was his second time at Eurovision as a performer having competed for Serbia & Montenegro back in 2004 when he placed 2nd. It was also his fourth time at Eurovision as a composer having also written the entry for Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2006 placing 3rd and the Serbian entry in 2008. He also co hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 in Belgrade. He went on to marry Jovana Janković his co host in 2008 in January 2012. The song was 2nd in the Semi Final then 3rd in the Final with 214 points.
Our next song that has to be considered one of the worst was in the year 2009 and we were in Moscow to witness Marko Kon & Milaan singing ‘Cipela’.
This was a song that had the accordion prominent throughout. The song was recorded in several different language versions prior to the contest with the help of various OGAE fan clubs. Marko Kon is a Serbian pop singer and producer who has fluctuating musical styles from ethnic pop to folk and to death metal. Milaan is a noted Serbian accordionist. The song went on to finish 10th in the Semi Final which under current rules would have qualified for the Final but back then only the top 9 qualified with the 10th spot going to a jury pick and this year they picked Croatia(who had finished 13th) over Serbia. It amassed 60 points.
So onto our next song that was one of Serbia’s best. It was in 2015 and Vienna was witness to seeing Bojana Stamenov perform with the song ‘Beauty Never Lies’.
Now starting with the song it was sung in English and was the first time a Serbian entry was not performed in Serbian. The song started as a moody Balkan Ballad then shifted up a number of gears and became a heavy dance number. It was also enhanced by a costume change and waving flags to enhance the differing moods of the song. Bojana was a larger than life character who was very popular with the fans. Her normal musical repertoire consists of soul, jazz and R&B music. The song qualified in 9th place for the Final and went on to finish 10th with 53 points.
We now arrive at another song for Serbia and it’s another of the better ones. In 2010 we saw Milan Stanković in Oslo with the song ‘Ovo je Balkan’.
It was a song sung in Serbian and was an uptempo Balkan pop folk song. Milan went on to moderate success in his homeland after appearing at Eurovision and he prefers to sing in a pop folk style. The song managed to finish 5th in the Semi Final and then 13th in the Final with 72 points.
So I have mentioned 3 best of songs above but also have to mention this one for Serbia as all being a great entry too. It was 2011 and we were in Dusseldorf to see Nina perform the song ‘Čaroban’.
Nina was a relative newcomer to the music scene when chosen to represent Serbia. Her full name is Danica Radojčić. It went on to finish 8th in the Semi Final and 14th in the Final with 85 points.
My last song for Serbia was yet another good entry and competed on home soil in Belgrade in 2008. Jelena Tomašević feat. Bora Dugić performed the song ‘Oro’.
The song was written by Željko Joksimović who also hosted the contest that year. Yet another of his classic Balkan Ballads. This is the third song that the title song is named after a folk dance, after ‘Hora’ from Israel for the Eurovision Song Contest 1982 and ‘Halay’ from Turkey for the Eurovision Song Contest 1984. Jelena is a popular and strong singer in Serbia. She was accompanied for the performance by the flautist Bora Dugić. As host country it went straight into the Final where it finished 6th with 160 points.
So there we have it folks, my little delve into Serbian Eurovision history and some of the best and worst moments over the years. Do you agree with all or even any of my choices? Feel free to comment below.
This series will continue with another look at songs over the years for each and every country competing in Eurovision 2016 so keep coming back for more reflections of the best and worst that Eurovision has had to offer us.
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland