Nearly every year the countries that once made up Yugoslavia give us something to talk about — whether that’s a high-energy dance number, a soaring ballad or something totally crazy and outré. Well the sun is surely shining as this year they’re serving all of that and more. So we just have to ask: Which Ex-Yugoslav country has the best song at Eurovision 2017?
And yes: We’ve deliberately avoided the phrase “Balkan” since definitions vary, as our dear readers are always quick to point out!
Croatia: Jacques Houdek with “My Friend”
Croatia is riding a high after Nina Kraljic made the grand final in Stockholm. And they haven’t looked far for their 2017 contestant, handpicking Jacques Houdek — Nina’s coach on The Voice.
Jacques’ “My Friend” is a song of twos. The style? Torch song and operatic ballad. The language? Italian and English. The range? Super high and super low. The duo? Jacques and….Jacques. Yes, this is a duet for one.
Macedonia: Jana Burceska with “Dance Alone”
Macedonia doesn’t have a good track record at Eurovision. In fact, you might say that it’s pretty bad, as they haven’t made the final since 2012.
Well enter Jana Burceska, perhaps the biggest surprise of Eurovision 2017 who has brought one of the most contemporary, on-trend songs of the year. Mixing EDM, synth-pop and the 1980s with aplomb, her track “Dance Alone” is at once vibrant and moving: The video tells the poignant story of an old woman looking back on her past life and love. Even if she can’t move like she once did, she’ll still dance alone. And we’re dancing with her.
Montenegro: Slavko Kalezic with “Space”
It takes a bold performer to spend three minutes shirtless in his music video, while whipping a hair extension around and wearing leather pants. And Slavko Kalezic is nothing if not bold.
One of the most talked-about performers of the year, he pulls the discotheque firmly into 2017 with his wild number “Space” which is turning heads and making eyes pop. He promises big staging for Kyiv and we’ve no doubt he will deliver.
Serbia: Tijana Bogicevic with “In Too Deep”
Tijana Bogicevic sang at Eurovision 2011 as a backing vocalist. And now she returns to claim her spot centre stage with “In Too Deep”.
The song is a great slice of modern pop that works with electro-xylophone and plenty of drum ‘n bass. In the video we see her spinning in a hoop and serving face. Might she repeat the feat in Kyiv?
Slovenia: Omar Naber with “On My Way”
Slovenia sat out the final in 2016, but they’re hoping Eurovision 2005 veteran Omar Naber can take the country back to the Saturday night show.
He’ll try his best with the Broadway inspired number “On My Way”. Do you think his way is to the final or to the airport for an early flight home from Kyiv?
Those are the songs and those were our first reactions. What were yours? Let us know by voting below. You can vote for as many acts as you’d like, but you can only vote ONE time. Be sure to click the box next to each of your favourites before pressing submit.