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🇷🇸 #SERBIA – LIVE BLOG of Pesma za Evroviziju 23​ from 21:05 CET

Добро вече Европо и добро јутро Аустралија! Tonight Serbia decide their entrant for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, coming to us live from Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine – it’s time for Pesma za Evroviziju 23!

Sit back and relax, and let Eurovision Ireland’s own James Scanlan entertain and inform you. As always, feel free to tell me what you think and give your opinions about tonight’s Final and who your favourites are! I might even shout out to you in the blog!

Tonight’s show comes to us live from the Serbian capital Belgrade and RTS Studio 8. Milan Marić and Dragana Kosjerina will be overseeing tonight’s show as hosts, while their colleagues Kristina Radenković and Stefan Popović get to hang out in possibly Eurovision’s most fun Green Room!

16 songs have made it through the 2 semi finals and are still in the running to be Serbia’s entry at Eurovision 2023. They’ll be performing in the following order:

  1. Stefan Shy – Od Jastuka Do Jastuka
  2. Boris Subotić – Nedostupan
  3. Nadia – Devojka Tvog Dečka
  4. Duo Grand – Viva La Vida
  5. Nađa – Moj Prvi Ožiljak Na Duši
  6. Frajle – Neka, Neka
  7. Hurricane – Zumi Zimi Zami
  8. Chegi & Braća Bluz Band – Svadba ili Kavga
  9. Dzipsii – Greh
  10. Luke Black – Samo Mi Se Spava
  11. Filip Baloš – Novi Plan, Drugi San
  12. Princ – Cvet sa Istoka
  13. Filarri – Posle Mene
  14. Gift – Liberta
  15. Empathy Soul Project – Indigo
  16. Zejna – Rumba

Tonight’s winner for Pesma za Evroviziju 23 will be selected by 50/50 combination vote split between a panel of jurors and the Serbian public. The winner will then fly the Serbian flag in Liverpool at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023! Can they achieve another Top 5 placing? Let’s find out!

If you want to watch along with all the fun yourself, you can watch on YOUTUBE from 21:05 CET / 20:05 GMT. The show is scheduled to finish at 00:05 CET/ 23:05 GMT, but we’ve all watched enough national selections now to know that live TV rarely runs to schedule… I’m pretty sure Una Voce Per San Marino is STILL going!!  

You know the drill: Just refresh this page to get the comments, points of view and all that Eurovision Ireland goodness you know and love!

LIVE BLOG STARTS HERE!!

Prerano si! You’re too early! Pesma za Evroviziju doesn’t start for hours yet! But, if you’re still in the mood for something Serbian, why not learn a few Eurovision phrases (at the bottom of the page) in Serbian or take a look around the host city Belgrade with Europe in a Day! 🇷🇸

You’ve got about 20 minutes till we go live in Belgrade! Grab your pljeskavica and rakija and get yourself settled in for all the fun of Pesma za Evroviziju!

For those of you trying to keep track of all tonight’s live finals, 🇲🇩 Moldova are sending Pasha Parfeny to Liverpool with “Soarele şi Luna” – nice one, Moldova!

If you’ve just joined us, we’re still waiting on the YouTube link from RTS to start. Show should be starting any moment now, so hopefully the link will start soon too! If not, this is going to be an interesting night…

And we’re live in Belgrade! ‘Ajmo!

Interesting… Serbia are taking a look at the UK’s illustrious history at the contest and sort of feels like they’re suggesting this is why the contest is being hosted in Liverpool…

James Newman’s double 0 points shocker in 2021 made for brilliant, albeit harrowing TV! Like when Ancient Romans used to go to the gladiator fights…

Making Your Mind Up, the UK’s winning entry from 1981 sung with an ever so slight Slavic accent… this is genius!

It’s not just me, they’re singing the same verse over and over, aren’t they?

Our Serbian hosts wondering if that colourful performance they just took part in was a fever dream or not…

A quick look over some highlights of the contest’s incredible almost-70 year history, including our first winner Lys Assia. If she were still with us, she would have been 99 earlier this week.

Urgh, Brazil by Bebi Doll from Yugoslavia in 1991… a particular low point, if you ask me!

Serbia’s hosting of Eurovision in 2008 was iconic for so many reasons… first show with 2 semi finals, debuts from Azerbaijan and San Marino, and also what is likely to remain Russia’s only win at the contest.

Milan and Dragana in the hall, Kristina and Stefan in the Green Room – the Serbian Green Room always seems to be the most lively of any national selection!!

Time for song #1!

Stefan Shy – Od Jastuka Do Jastuka

In a striking blue tracksuit, Stefan is just over that line of “look into the camera, loveable not desperate”… though I think that might be nerves more than anything. The song has a strong Latin feel to it in terms of its beat and even its staging feels like a nod to the bordellos of Argentina with its shadowy figures in the windows. Staging wise, Stefan doesn’t do much, in the musical interludes it’s almost like he’s waiting for his next line, which doesn’t look as smooth as it could. It’s a decent song and has a bit of a sultry swing to it. Curious to see what else is on offer tonight!

Boris Subotić – Nedostupan

This is quite a change in pace! All in white, Boris has a very strong voice and sells emotion well. Starting out from singing from inside a glass box is giving me flashbacks to Sweden 2011 and Azerbaijan 2013, but musically it’s very modern – although I’m wondering if I can hear a slight twang of the traditional at the edge of my hearing? I enjoyed that, was a very strong performance – but if Boris could connect more to the camera, I think that would take it over the top into contending for winning tonight.

Nadia – Devojka Tvog Dečka

Nadia is giving us a bit of a rock vibe, but unlike a lot of rock bands at these shows, she is connecting beautifully with the camera! Brava! She sings with connection and has quite a delicate voice, which juxtaposes nicely with the harsh sounds of drum and guitar. I quite enjoyed that, a well trod genre but a good example of it!

Duo Grand – Viva La Vida

At first I wasn’t sure if I was watching a national selection or some very arty perfume advert!! The women on the screens behind the vocalists were the focus of attention for quite some time before the camera pans to the two chairs on stage. What starts as very operatic and showy then has a rough gear change into quite a driving rock beat, before fumbling into high opera and back again… there is a lot going on here and I’m not sure if it’s brilliant or too much to work… hmmm… it’s over and I’m not sure if I’m sad about that or relieved!!

Over to the Green Room, where someone remarks that Serbia has never received 0 points at Eurovision… I won’t say that’s a way to tempt the Eurovision Gods, BUT…

While the contestants discuss their favourite Serbian Eurovision entries, someone in the YouTube chat thread asked “When will we know the winner?” – we’ve only had 4 songs, you’re in for a long night my dear!! XD

The Green Room seems quite tame for the moment, but once there are 12 acts in there, it usually gets quite lively – I remember when I lived in Serbia, Belgrade is legendary for its party nights!

On with the show!

Nađa – Moj Prvi Ožiljak Na Duši

The moment this started, I was put in mind of Croatia’s Mia from last year, a simple guitar chord with gentle but heartfelt vocals. Nađa’s voice is full of emotion and she comes across with the right level of demure with a hint of vulnerability. Musically there are some quite powerful key changes in there, which prevents the song from feeling plodding. Overall, I really liked that, both as a performance and as a song! Brava Nađa!

Frajle – Neka, Neka

When shall we three meet again? Joking aside, when the moody lighting (see above) lifts, these ladies are dressed in a very vivid red and deliver quite a folky tango sounding number with plenty of violin rifts. It’s like a cool mix of Latin and traditional gypsy music, which I’m really enjoying! Although it’s quite a static performance (until their shoes come off!) there’s plenty of armography to keep the audience focused. That was a lot of fun!

NOTE – My laptop decided to crash and has taken the last 10 minutes to reboot! Oops! I saw part of Hurricane’s performance, but missed everything since – hopefully normal service has been resumed!!

Hurricane – Zumi Zimi Zami (a few thoughts)

As I said, I missed most of the performance, but what I saw was suitably bonkers, colourful and eye-catching – could Hurricane became Serbia’s Eurovision representative for a 3rd time? (Yes, we will count 2020!) Though the lyric “release your stress and make a mess” made me balk… yuk… XD

Do not adjust your sets…

Told you the Serbian Green Room is the best party!!

We seem to have gone to a break in Serbia – see you soon!

And we’re back! Can you believe we’re already half way through the songs? Have we seen the winner yet?

Dzipsii – Greh

Dzipsii has quite a unique vocal quality that makes this song memorable. Sounds like they are straining at times, but I’m not sure if that’s part of the style. There’s a really disco feel to this, which contradicts the moody red and black lighting. It’s a very confident performance with the glittery jumpsuit, which feels quite daring for Serbia. Not sure this is the right choice for Liverpool, but a memorable addition to tonight’s line-up.

Luke Black – Samo Mi Se Spava

Well now… I’d gathered from internet chit-chat that Luke Black is one of the favourites going into tonight and it’s definitely different. Sung in a mixture of English and Serbian, Luke starts off laying on what looks like a giant shell, overlooked by a metal monster with glowing eyes and backing dancers dressed like post-apocalyptic ninjas… as performance art, it’s memorable… I said the same about Konstrakta last year and she went on to win! Could Serbia be eyeing a similarly striking performance for Liverpool?

Filip Baloš – Novi Plan, Drugi San

Up-tempo, cramming as many syllables into a sentence as he can, Filip exudes Neo in the Matrix with his trench coat! With backing dancers copying his staccato dance moves, this feels very 1980s nightclub and has a repetitive hook that works really well and I can see a large arena getting behind this. I’m impressed, we seem to have hit a run of songs with great potential!

Princ – Cvet sa Istoka

I’m so glad I caught this screengrab at the right time!! Dressed like he’s just stepped off the boat from Westeros, Princ is giving us a very traditional sounding offering, plenty of Balkan strings and traditional patterns on the screen behind him. Vocally he’s strong and carries the song well. This is the kind of thing I love, my one concern is Moldova have just this evening selected something very similar… is going after the same set of votes from an international audience wise? I really like it though, I miss songs like this at the contest!

Another trip to Europe’s most buzzing Green Room for an impromptu chorus of Molitva from the contestants who’ve already performed tonight – some winners give you chills even after years and Serbia’s debut win is definitely one of those! ❤

Filarri – Posle Mene

A very choreographed and slick routine from Filarri – yellow and black leather is definitely going to catch the attention of many an audience member! He’s easy on the eye and confident down the camera, which will work in his favour. Musically, the song has a bit of a techno feel and perhaps isn’t ground-breaking, but he sells it well. And if Eurovision has taught us anything, it’s that selling a song is half the battle!

Gift – Liberta

Quite a frenetic performance here, plenty of movement from both the band and the cameras (made catching a screen grab a nightmare!!) There are moments when the vocalist connects well with the camera, but because it flies around so much, these glimpses are fleeting. It’s got a touch of that madcap fun to it with some solid guitar rifts – and the word Liberta in blood red at the end was a cool touch. I think there are more Eurovision-ready songs on offer, but still a decent addition to tonight’s line-up!

Empathy Soul Project – Indigo

Interesting band name! Never mind Indigo, these guys seem to have lost all the colours all together! The only problem with visual gimmicks like this (no colour, blurring lines to make it look slightly trancy) can have the opposite to the desired effect. .. ie, it ends up being distracting, which I feel like this is. Vocally it’s quite shouty for my liking, but if you’re into this kind of music it must be an enjoyable example.

Zejna – Rumba

We already have a Cha Cha Cha heading to Liverpool courtesy of Finland, will we have a Rumba from Serbia too? With a costume change in the first 30 seconds, plenty of chanting and noises rather than actual lyrics, this is pure Eurovision gold – is it deep and poetic? Nope. Is it going to make an arena go wild and dance along? Naravno! What a way to finish the show!

Serbs should do love an accordion… and the Green Room, as predicted, has descended into an all out party! So much more fun than some of the other Green Rooms I have had to watch doing these shows!

While they interview the last few contestants in the Green Room, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for the result from Iceland, as we should get that any moment now…

Another ad break here in Serbia – then I’m guessing we go onto the votes (and possibly an hour of interval acts!)

Every time I check the finish time in Iceland, it jumps back a further 5 minutes… as we say, when does live TV ever run to plan?!

We’re back in Serbia and being introduced to the jurors casting 50% of tonight’s votes, including Nevena who has sung at Eurovision twice herself in 2013 and 2019.

Tri… Dva… Jedan… SAT! The voting lines are now open for the Serbian public. That clock in the top left hand corner counts down how much time is left.

While Serbia starts voting, I’m going to organise my thoughts and try and predict the outcome tonight – brb

Serbia put on quite the show and I’m impressed – plenty of musical styles on offer, and several that could do well. Luke Black and Filip Baloš immediately spring to mind as artists who could be getting that ticket to Liverpool, but I’m very mindful that Hurricane have proved they’ve got what it takes in the past, and I think they easily be going back to Eurovision a third time – though as mean as it sounds, I always prefer newbies getting their first shot at Eurovision rather than someone having their second or third go *cough* Loreen *cough*. Special mentions to Princ, Frajle, Filarri and Zejna too for well choreographed and fun songs as well.

I’ve enjoyed quite a few songs tonight, though suspect it’ll be Luke Black, Filip Baloš or Hurricane. Is now a good time to mention I was COMPLETELY wrong last year and Konstrakta walked it after I said it was too niche? 😛

We have a result at last in 🇮🇸 Iceland! It’s Diljá and “Power”

Still 6 minutes to vote in Serbia – ‘ajde!

GOTOVO! Serbia, your Eurovision 2023 fate is sealed 😉

While the votes are scrutinised, a little montage about The Beatles… I’m sure they won’t be mentioned that often in Liverpool… perhaps just once every 15 seconds…

And now we know all about The Beatles, a quick* medley… (*this will almost certainly not be the case)

Someone in the YouTube Chat Thread asked if this was Sasha Bognibov… I can see why they’d be confused!

For a moment there, I thought we were done… but nope, Let It Be… and of course, the classic, All You Need Is Love

We’re due to finish in 10 minutes, I think that’s a tad optimistic…

I was hoping we’d jump straight into results, but we’re having another ad break!

Here we go with the Jury Votes!

First juror Lena gives 10 to Nađa, 12 to Luke Black

Second juror Dragan awards his 10 to Nađa too, and also 12 to Luke Black

Nevena of Eurovision fame gives her 10 to Stefan Shy, 12 to Filip Baloš

Fourth juror Slobodan gives 10 to Princ and 12 to Nađa

Nothing to Hurricane yet, I’m noticing!!!

Fifth juror Aleksandar awards his 10 points to Luke Black and his 12 to Nađa

The full results of the jury, Nađa in the lead with 52, Luke Black 2nd with 49 and Filip Baloš in third with 41

Televote time!

1 point to Hurricane (ouch)

2 points to Nadia

3 points to Chegi & Braća Bluz Band

4 points to Stefan Shy

5 points to Zejna

6 points to Nađa, who is still in the lead

7 points to Filip Baloš

8 points to Dzipsii – that’s a surprise!

10 points to Luke Black, putting him in the lead

12 points go to Princ, but it’s not enough to dislodge Luke from the top of the scoreboard!

Luke Black wins!

She pulled much the same face I would about being handed a large plastic lobster!

I’ll have to find out what this lobster thing is all about!

Well thank you Serbia, we’ll see Luke Black in Liverpool! Thanks for reading along tonight, hope you’ve enjoyed my persepective on things!

Thank you Europe, and good night!

Author: James Scanlan
Source: RTS

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