Serbia: RTS confirms the return of original national final Beovizija

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It’s the Balkan nation that won Eurovision on its debut in 2007. Now Serbia‘s broadcaster RTS has confirmed the return of Beovizija, the national final that selected Marija Serifovic with “Molitva” for Eurovision 2007. The Beovizija format was last used in 2009.

The news was confirmed by RTS’s entertainment editor Olivera Kovacevic. Speaking to Blic news, she confirmed that entries are now open for the national final.

From the submitted entries, a shortlist of 12 finalists will be selected by a panel of music editors from RTS. The finalists will then perform at the grand final of Beovizija some time in February 2018. The winning entry will be chosen by a combined jury vote and televote.

Kovacevic also spoke of the importance of openness in the contest, and the need to select a jury with integrity. The jury won’t be selected until February, meaning there’ll be less opportunity for shadowy figures to make “protections and connections” with jury members. She said, “We will try to get competent people in the jury and let their credibility answer for their vote.”

Beovizija and Serbia at Eurovision

Beovizija was founded in 2003. From 2007 to 2009 it was the national final Serbia used in its first three years competing as a newly independent nation.

The first winner of Beovizija was Marija Serifovic with her highly emotional ballad “Molitva”. It was a clear favourite with both the jury and televoters in the national final. Viewers in Europe felt the same — the song went on to win Eurovision 2007.

In 2008, the winner of Beovizija was another clear favourite, Jelena Tomasevic with “Oro”. The song — written by two-time Serbian entrant and that year’s host Zeljko Joksimovic — also did well. It placed sixth and received a rapturous response from the home crowd.

The following year, there was a difference in opinion between the jury and televoters. Viewers preferred Fame Academy rock band OT Bend with “Blagoslov za kraj”, while the jury favoured Marko Kon & Milaan with “Cipela”. The accordion-rich “Cipela” won the national final by two points and went to Moscow. While it placed tenth in its semi-final, it missed out on making the grand final, due to the jury picking the act from neighbouring Croatia as its wildcard.

From 2010, Serbia used a variety of other national final formats and internal selection to pick their Eurovision acts. In the past two years Serbia has sent internally selected English-language pop songs, a stark contrast to the strong Balkan flavour of the Beovizija winners.

With Portugal’s success at Eurovision 2017, this could be a sign that Serbia is again willing to embrace its own popular music styles and language.

What do you think? Should Serbia return to its earlier style of entry? Can Beovizija produce another Eurovision winner? Sound off below!

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