It looks like 2017 really is the year of non-English music.

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s Spanish-language anthem “Despacito” has swept the charts, even in the United Kingdom — a country where the last non-English single to sit at the top of the charts was PSY’s “Gangnam Style”. That was five years ago, people. A whole five years ago.

Even in the Eurovision bubble, non-English music is having a moment. You’ll know that Salvador Sobral’s winning Eurovison song for Portugal — “Amar Pelos Dois” — was the first entirely non-English winner since Marija Serifovic’s “Molitva” in 2007. That’s right: an entire decade has passed since Marija took the crown for Serbia (and in Serbian).

Now RTVSLO hopes to ride the wave into 2018.

As evrovizija.com reports, a new language rule will be introduced in time for EMA 2018, requiring that singers perform in Slovene or a recognised minority language during the selection process.

It’s not yet clear whether those acts who advance to the EMA final can then choose to perform in a language of their choice (aka English) in the final or at Eurovision, as in the Icelandic selection process Songvakeppnin.

Since English is out of the question in the pre-selection, which languages will be allowed on the stage at Slovenia’s Eurovision selection? Performers can choose from Slovene, Croatian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Romani and Serbian.

Quite the range. Representing Slovenia next year could be the next Il Volo, and they could sing about anything from ein bisschen Frieden to ein bisschen Freude…

Although some could be surprised about the change that may well become a death sentence on the scoreboard, perhaps Slovenia has brought a welcome decision to a Eurovison that sometimes feels too anglicised. In 2017, thirty-five songs were performed entirely in English, with just Belarus, Hungary, Italy and Portugal performing entirely in their own language. In 2016 only three songs were sung entirely in a non-English language.

Either way, it shall certainly be interesting to see whether the new rule makes a difference to Slovenia’s placing in the contest.

Slovenia’s highest scoring entry, Maja Keuc’s “No One”, scored 96 points at the 2011 contest with Maja performing entirely in English. This year, Omar Naber failed to qualify for the finals with his entry “On My Way”, finishing in 17th place in the semi-final.

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aleena
Guest

what does its mean?

joff
Guest

RTVSLO did understand too late to have made the wrong choice?
Raiven è stato il migliore nel 2016 e anche nel 2017

Skol
Guest

Being Slovenian, I like the comedy value of your article. We are far away from the years 1961 and 1962 when Slovenian composer chose Serbian singer to win former Yugoslav pre-selection. Considering Rebeka only won in 2008 because most people voted against the gypsies…

HapryDarper
Guest

I’ve always thought Love Symphony would make good music for a magicians act!

Education Sentimentale
Guest
Education Sentimentale

Great decision! I hope other countries will follow.

Couldn’t we “Celebrate Diversity” every year by hearing all the different European languages? If something in English wins, so be it. I think it would be worth a try. Now that we had an overkill of (way too often bad) English maybe there’ll be more appetite to hear something else. This year’s non-English songs success was clearly above-average.

Sash Animenkos
Guest

because this year it was CELEBRATION OF DIVERSITY))))))

Helene
Guest

Celebrate diversity has nothing to do with forcing artists to sing in one specific language. Europe is mixed with many languages and people are moving from one place to another. Celebrate diversity is to let all kinds of artists paricipate in all languages within the national selection.

Aaron GR
Guest

I like seeing rule changes and experimentation at the national level. As the world and Eurovision evolve, you have to try new things and see what rises to the top of the pile.

This isn’t “copy and paste.” This is understanding that Portugal tried something unexpected, and it worked.

Denis
Guest

That doesn’t mean it will work for Slovenia

AngieP
Guest

It’s the “Portugal effect” here! Slovenia saw Portugal win with a non english song and they decided to go for Slovenian next time.

Using this process is not surprising. Iceland has the same system too and the winner can choose if he/she wants to keep it like it is, or change it to English. Same with Albania, if I’m not mistaken.

I’m always in favour of countries singing in their language so it’s good news for me. However, the song should be good too. A song is not only the lyrics.

Hope Slovenia finds what’s missing and starts getting better results!

Étoile
Guest

I think countries should sing in their language totally or partially. Europe is an old continent with lots of culture and our mother tongue is a part of it.

Education Sentimentale
Guest
Education Sentimentale

Hear, hear!

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Raiven is going to have a field day! I hope they don’t translate whatever entry they select to English.

May
Guest

Love it! All countries should do this!

Denis
Guest

Nah, have you heard Russian?
Singing in national languages only benefits Romance languages plus English. Go back to that rule and the top 5 would consist of France Italy, UK and Ireland. Every year, like it used to be in the past.

Is that much fairer to other countries?

L'oiseau
Guest

We had a winner in Serbian in 2007…

James
Guest

Denis: A Romance language song hasn’t won the contest since the final decade of the language rule, with the drought brought to an end by Portugal this year.

Denis
Guest

yes, that’s what I wrote: It used to be like that in the past.
And that’s probably what will happen again if the rule is re-introduced. Same countries over and over again in the top 5. Like it used to be

blaubeere
Guest

I heard russian Songs and even have some on my MP3 Player. It’s a beautiful language like every other.

Min
Guest

russian https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pvaSjU2nJM
danish https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5MPeuF7F0w
german https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcP2kV6tGj4
polish https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtQdOf86iCs
just some examples for all of those beautiful european languages which are not romance, Denis..!

Education Sentimentale
Guest
Education Sentimentale

Why do I have to think of “A Fish Called Wanda” now? 🙂

But seriously: I’ve heard Russian and honestly don’t see what the problem should be. It can sound wonderful or not so much, depending on the singer.

iWonder
Guest

I think this is a good thing. It’s grea to hear all the different languages on Eurovision. I think every country should sing in their own languages. Even Sweden!

oggy
Guest

& Also Azerbaijan. Please Azerbaijan use Azeri, not English again.

Christian
Guest

What about the Prekmurje dialect? Nika Zorjan sang in Prekmurje in the 2017 NF.

Jr esc nl
Guest

I guess the dialect just falls under the category “slovene”

Helene
Guest

Quality have nothing to do about which language that is used. It is only one way to express yourself. It is the quality of the whole package that makes a winner; the artist’s vocal ability, personality, stage performance, novelty, freshness, if the performance stands out in the competition, staging with some help from neighboors. To force language rules on our multicultural societes seems like a step away from what Europe is today.

Helene
Guest

I forgot the most important factor the quality of the music in itself!

Twisted French
Guest

Good news!!! I’m totally fine with a song in Slovene or another language!! Eurovision is one of the only occasions we have to hear songs in another language!! Of course if we want we can, but still, I think it’s good!! All languages should be represented with pride!! 🙂

Geo
Guest

Here we go… Next year we’ll see many ballads sung in the country’s native language. Who will stand out? Modern pop-dance songs, coz up-temp songs always do well in Eurovision (Slovenia shall look at their own example, no far than 2015 when Maraaya – Here For You passed the semifinal with no problems (#5 in semifinal and ranked #14 in the grand final, which was great, considering the fact that 2015 was a good year, with many great songs)…

Pablo
Guest

Well, it’s not as different as what Hungary did in 2013?

I say it can be a nice change of pace, and would offer new different povs and deals.

And I mean, the last time Slovenia qualified was with a song that was half-Slovene.

Ugnius
Guest

The last time Slovenia qualified was with a song entirely in English actually…

Azaad
Guest

This seems convoluted. And if competitors have the option to switch to English, it means the final might be made up entirely of English songs, many of which wouldn’t have been composed in that language.

Liam Lindsay
Guest

Just internally select Maja Keuc for 201 we all know that she can slay the pack

Mattias Sollerman
Guest

Although I can only applaud this initiative, I must admit I’m grateful to live in a country where such excesses will never be allowed. A quota is fine, but ultimately I tend to prefer songs in English.

Mark
Guest

More rules don’t help creativity.

Flynn
Guest
I don’t think the rulie is going to help, Slovenia is unfortunately one of those countries that will come low year after year because they’re awful at getting televotes even when they have good songs like No One. Minus Croatia, even it’s ex-Yugoslav allies seem to consistently rank Slovenia lower than all the other ex-Yugoslav and don’t seem to get the eastern vote unlike the others. It’ll be nice to hear a song in Slovene or one of the minority languages, especially if they manage to get into final since it’s been quite sometime since some of those languages have… Read more »
Sash Animenkos
Guest

I totally disagree with you. Look at Moldova – a small country which rarely gets votes even from its neighbours. However, if you organise your publicity/promotion smartly, and properly, you’ll be No 3.

Denis
Guest
It’s a odd rule indeed! The “let’s copy last year’s winner” trend is still a thing, I see. It never works. The problem isn’t the language, it’s the songs. Language alone won’t automatically lead to top 10 place. Slovenia had great songs in 2011 and 2015 that gave them good results, sung in English! And 2017 had a great selection, unfortunately they wet with the dullest of songs. Even in Slovene it would have been a dud! Just because Portugal won with native language doesn’t mean it will work again. If Slovenia thinks this somehow might give them an advantage… Read more »
Education Sentimentale
Guest
Education Sentimentale
Maybe they don’t think they will automatically be successful thanks to a different language. Maybe they just realized that it’s not an absolute necessity to sing in English in order to have any chance at all. This year all non-English songs qualified and the all-over result of non-English songs was well above-average. Of course you’re right, the problem isn’t the language, it’s still the song and –probably even more important — the presentation. But you haven’t explained: Why wouldn’t a great non-English songs get a good result, too? Purely statistically speaking, I agree though, that it’s very likely that next… Read more »
Denis
Guest

I’m not saying it wont’ get a good result, I’m saying they shouldn’t rely on thinking national language will get them a good result.
it worked for Portugal, it doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. Besides the best results Slovenia got was by songs in English, it’s odd they abolish that now.

Sash Animenkos
Guest

I totally disagree with you. Look at Moldova – a small country which rarely gets votes even from its neighbours. However, if you organise your publicity/promotion smartly, and properly, you’ll be No 3.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

This is such an odd rule to introduce. There was no shortage of good Slovenian songs at EMA 2017, and three made it to the final. This included fan favourite Raiven with “Zazarim”.

The problem this year was that the national juries strangely favoured a dull song performed by one of Slovenia’s biggest singers. If “On My Way” had Slovenian lyrics, it would still have been a dud.

James
Guest

It’d probably be a borderline qualifier as voters would likely share to Slovenia the same appreciation to the contest’s theme this year of “celebrating diversity” they have to Belarus, Portugal, Hungary and Croatia, where semifinal entries sung/half sung in a language other than English have all qualified to the final.

Here’s the link to Omar’s “Tam Nekje”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GccoPort3i0

🙂

Jo
Guest

Yes. The problem in Slovenia was the selection. Some countries think that Eurovision is the X Factor or The Voice.
There’s also Serbia. After failing to qualify in 2013, they’ve started to send songs in English: Top 10 in 2015, barely qualified in 2016, disqualified in 2016.

Hada
Guest

I *might* make sense in that English can be seen as an easy way out, so if you’re forced to sing in your national language you have to find other ways to make an international audience pay attention to your song. Of course that’s in an ideal world. Who knows how it goes in real life.

Education Sentimentale
Guest
Education Sentimentale

I absolutely would have preferred “On My Way” in Slovenian or another (for me) incomprehensible language.

Not understanding those super clichéd lyrics would have made the song so much better!

Alex
Guest

I mean, Maja Keuc’s song was in Slovenian before it was at Eurovision, and that was the country’s best entry of the last decade (except for maybe Here for You).

I was a huge fan of Šaltinka in 2015 too, although obviously it wasn’t better than Maraaya’s entry.

Nathan Anthony Pace
Guest

I think it will probably work a bit? Remember JESC 2015?

Kris
Guest

That was a great song and a great singer……She would have done great even if the song was in English.

Justin K.
Guest
The language may help it stand out, but it comes down to the song itself. I don’t think it should be like Songvakeppnin where they’re ‘forced’ to sing in a national/minority language only to have the ability to change it in the final or at Eurovision–in fact both selection processes would probably go a lot better if they allow either national/minority languages or English, but to keep it as such throughout the process. Iceland’s failed to reach the final three years in a row, and I think the difficulty lies in the song needing to work in both Icelandic and… Read more »
Ugnius
Guest

Estonian language has won their NF in 2009,2012 and 2013 actually…

Justin K.
Guest

At this point it’s 4 years–that’s a while. Although the best part: every year Estonian won in the last ten years they made it to the Final. 🙂

Swedish was represented in 2012 by Finland, and Albanian and Icelandic were last seen in 2013.

Norwegian 2006, Finnish 2015 and 2011 (tbh, I forgot about PKN), and Sweden/Denmark hasn’t chosen a National Language entry since the language rule change. Granted they all have strong musical scenes where they can stick with English reliably, but after a while their music ends up sounding the same since the Swedes write practically everything for the Nordics…

Jo
Guest
I’m not so optimistic about the language. Portugal and Italy were the only two countries the finished in the Jury Top 10 without singing in English. Last year, France was the only one to do the same. Italy in 2015. In 2014, nobody did (not even Ruth Lorenzo). Therefore, the juries only pay attention to non-English songs when they are favourites to win. Saying that, one thing I don’t understand about some countries: they send bad English songs with terrible lyrics and bad performances. If it is to stay in the semis, why didn’t they send something in their own… Read more »
Jak
Guest

Hungary also finished in top ten this year. Only France in 2016? Last year’s winning song was %60 in the Crimean Tatar language. Bulgaria’s refrain was in Bulgarian. This year’s winner in Portuguese. Worth to try imo.

Jo
Guest

I wrote JURY TOP 10. Hungary was Top 10 overall because of the televoting.
1944 has only few sentences in Crimean Tatar and If Love Was a Crime has only one sentence in Bulgarian. Also, 1944 was one of the favourites, which is the idea of my previous comment.
I think you should read my post again because you didn’t get it.

James
Guest

Crimean Tatar lyrics is the selling point in 1944, as it is the chorus.

Sokratis
Guest

Funny how the year that Portugal allows English into their national final, they win – and loser so/so countries, like Slovenia (who by the way had their best results in recent time through English) go the opposite way because of the result. And it’s insulting allowing 8 languages, but not English. And lets face it, their national jury destroyed their chances this year – not the language

Jo
Guest

Portugal was a loser so/so country before this year. So who knows?!

James
Guest

Do you think BQL would have fared better?

Jo
Guest

Semi-Final 1, even Finland didn’t qualify. Georgia spent all its GDP on the stage and didn’t either.
BQL’s fate would probably be the same.

Kris
Guest

BQL would have been top 8 in televote.

James
Guest

Kris, or get Triana Park’ed.

Jo
Guest

Maybe with the televoting, But I don’t see the juries backing that song. Could’ve been like “Verona”.

Crno Bel
Guest

It’s good. At EMA 2016 and 207 the non English entries we’re WAY better than the English Entries that went on to win. Hoping maybe this means we can see Raiven or Nika slay at ESC 2018.

Chicken Kyiv???
Guest

Once again the trend of “copy what did well last year” continues. It never works.

I’m more than certain more acts than usual won’t be in English in 2018, but an English song will win and normal service will resume in 2019.

Jo
Guest

Yes. I think the pattern will remain. Once in a while a non-English will win.

Sparrow
Guest

Language has never been the problem, it’s about song quality. Pair a solid song with a great performance and you have a winning combination.

Jo
Guest

For the televoting I don’t see any problem. For the juries it works differently though (like Hungary this year).
Another observation: Loin d’Ici did very bad with the juries, but why Where I Am and Running on Air did so much better?

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

The juries tend to vote for very generic stuff, it is known.

Evan
Guest

Or an OK song with a different performer with heart-touching back story performed well…..That works too!! Three of the past 4 years winners have been determined by the performer and their background rather than by the song itself.

Sashko
Guest

Yes, I hope this starts a continental trend!!!

mocosuburbian
Guest

YES
this is so exciting, I hope more countries do this, i forgive them for omar naber
like fact: people feel the music they’re singing more if the lyrics are deep and in their own language. slovenia’s looking good for my top 10 next year