Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — travelled to San Marino and journeyed to the top of Monte Titano. While taking in the vast San Marino countryside, we discussed Serhat‘s song “I Didn’t Know”. Did we want to be inside his mind? Or was ignorance bliss? Read on to find out!
Serhat – “I Didn’t Know”
“I Didn’t Know” reviews
Robyn: I was already a fan of the original version and its deliciously weird video, but I’m even happier now that Serhat has gone disco. His classic sprechgesang performance style remains, but now he’s being assisted by a chorus of disco divas bringing some melody for those who don’t get spoken singing. But most importantly, “I Didn’t Know” is so far removed from being a “Eurovision song” that it makes all the wannabes seem trite and formulaic (take that, Denmark and Ireland). San Marino is giving us a boldly original performance.
Angus: This is just horrendous. Serhat’s scratchy voice is painful, the song almost comically bad and the lyrics unbearable.
David: I’m mixed on this one. The song sort of gets you. It doesn’t reach out and grab you but it does hold your attention throughout. I think if they work on it, both the song itself and the staging, it could be quite good. But at present it’s potentially quite good but so far merely decent. And the leather straps on his head give him a Dr. Evil vibe which I think detracts.
Bogdan: I’m in that weird minority that liked the first version of the song. Nonetheless, I like the disco version more, because it is more Eurovision friendly (read: camp) and is unlikely to bore its audience to tears. It will be very interesting to see what said audience — and jury members — will make of the ’70s homage. Either way, Serhat gets points for originality and utter balls.
Deban: Note to Serhat: Eurovision is a song contest. “I Didn’t Know” is spoken word over a dated disco beat. The original version is befitting to a perfume advert, whilst the revamped version could pack punters into provincial swingers lounge. A massive improvement from my original rating of 1/10, but either way, its merits fall short of what is expected on the world’s biggest music stage.
Diego: I didn’t know there would be an entry from San Marino that I liked worse than last year’s “Chain of Lights”, and yet, I was wrong. If you enter a song that is a complete mess to the Eurovision Song Contest, and you decide to put it to a disco beat, you won’t have a better song, and probably Serhat was not aware of this fact. His deep-bass/broken voice won’t help the mix get any better. Sorry San Marino, but you’re the weakest link.
Jason: “I Didn’t Know” is one of the strangest things ever to happen to modern Eurovision. The ’70s disco beats, the softly
spoken sung proclamations of love, Serhat himself — it’s all a little bit mad. At the same time, it’s absolutely genius. It probably won’t qualify, but it will be remembered. You can’t understand how devastated I am that the disco version is the one going to Stockholm. The original was on a whole other level of crazy, and its music video will remain one of my favourite things for a long, long time. I hope he wears the leather monocle holder on stage.
Padraig: In a somewhat surprising twist of events, San Marino’s decision to go disco has seen my rating treble. Whereas the first “I Didn’t Know” lacked any sense of self-awareness, this version revels in its awfulness and injects some much needed camp into this year’s contest. The beats are dated, the lyrics are beyond cringey, and Serhat’s vocals very much remain an acquired taste. However, one does get a sense that we’re now laughing with the entry rather than at it.
William: When Serhat unveiled the original version I laughed at him. When he revealed the disco version I laughed with him. This throwback is in on its own joke, elevating it from dated trainwreck to vintage chanson. From the hand claps to the percussion to the hyper-sexualized and breathy vocals, everything smacks of 1970s discotheque. But this isn’t a party: the song’s strength comes from dousing dance in melancholy. Lyrically, his addiction to a certain someone is poetic. It borders on madness and self-delusion, as when puts a positive spin on his own isolation: “I didn’t know that you wished for the moon to provide me the light.” Perhaps San Marino’s best entry ever.
Zakaria: This song has awkward written all over it and even though I’m a disco lover, the new version is as awkward as the old one. What San Marino clearly didn’t understood is that even when you have the best song of all-time (which they don’t), if you don’t send someone who can actually SING, the result will undeniably be catastrophic… which is the case now.
William C: When rumours spread about this replacing the irreplaceable monocle, i.e. the original version, I laughed, but at the same time, I hoped it would be true. When the announcement was made, I was over the moon with joy. This version is a million times better, which isn’t saying much, however, I genuinely like the more upbeat version. Serhat has won me over, but I can’t see how the televoters will take it.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 11 reviews. The remaining 29 scores are below.
The highest and lowest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average score. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 0 and a high of 8.