Last year was a memorable one for Slovenia. The country enjoyed its best-ever Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, achieving 8 medals in total (including two historic golds, both from Tina Maze). And they extended their sporting prowess to music as Tinkara Kovach, their Eurovision representative in Copenhagen, became only the third semi-final qualifier to reach the Grand Final. Following that success Slovenia confirmed their Eurovision participation back in October and are gearing up for tonight’s EMA 2015 national final. In honor of that, let’s review Slovenia’s recent history at ESC.
Slovenia made their Eurovision debut in 1993, two years after becoming an independent country following the breakup of Yugoslavia. Since then, their Eurovision results have been a mixed bag, from the highs of 7th place in 1995 and 2001, to the lows of missing out on the 1994 and 2000 contests. From 2004 onwards, however, things took a turn for the worse. Slovenia’s semi-final qualifying record has been alarming. They have only qualified 3 times out of 11 semi-finals, including last year’s entrant Tinkara Kovach. It seems that Europe isn’t sharing the love in Slovenia.
2014: Tinkara Kovach with “Round and Round“, 25th place with 9 points
2013: Hannah Mancini with “Straight Into Love“, 16th place in the SF with 8 points
2012: Eva Boto with “Verjamem“, 17th place in the SF with 31 points
2011: Maja Keuc with “No One“, 13th place with 96 points
2010: Ansambel Žlindra & Kalamari with “Narodnozabavni Rock“, 16th place in the SF with 6 points
2009: Quartissimo feat. Martina with “Love Symphony“, 16th place in the SF with 14 points
2008: Rebeka Dremelj with “Vrag Naj Vzame”, 11th place in the SF with 36 points
– If Maja Keuc had gotten 12 points for every time she said “No One” to Europe, what would her final score have been?
216 (She sang it 18 times in her entry). This would have secured 2nd place in the Grand Final.
– Excluding 2009 when she was the main vocalist, how many times has Martina Majerle represented Slovenia as a backing vocalist?
3. 2007 with Alenka Gotar, 2011 with Maja Keuc and 2012 with Eva Boto.
– On how many occasions has composer Raay been involved with Slovenia’s Eurovision participation?
Twice, as a judge on Misija Evrovizija (Mission Eurovision) and composer of last year’s entry “Round and Round”.
– Since 2008, who have Slovenia awarded their recent “12 points” to?
In the Semi-Finals: Bosnia & Herzegovina (2008 & 2011), Serbia (2009 & 2012), Croatia (2010), Ukraine (2013) and F.Y.R. Macedonia (2014).
In the Grand Finals: Serbia (2008 & 2012), Norway (2009), Denmark (2010 & 2013), Bosnia & Herzegovina (2011) and Austria (2014).
Best Scoring Entry:
2011: Maja Keuc with “No One”, 13th Place with 96 Points
Maja Keuc rose to fame as the runner-up of the first ever series of Slovenija ima talent (Slovenia’s Got Talent). A year later, she competed on the EMA national final with “Vanilija”, the original Slovenian version of “No One”. With her powerhouse vocals and the decision to sing her entry entirely in English, this was no doubt Slovenia’s strongest entry since Nuša Derenda’s “Energy” in 2001. Thankfully, Maja cruised into the final, making it only the second time Slovenia qualified from the semi-final. She eventually secured the country’s third best result in Eurovision history so far.
Most Memorable Lyrics: “There’s no reason I should cry” There would’ve been tears from Europe if Maja had her own Kate Ryan moment.
Worst Scoring Entry:
2013: Hannah Mancini with “Straight Into Love” 16th Place in the SF with 8 Points
Due to time and financial issues, Slovenia’s national broadcaster RTVSLO announced there won’t be a EMA 2013 national final and opted to go internal instead. So on 1 February, they put their faith on Hannah Mancini, an American ex-pat who tried to represent the country in 2011. Unfortunately, Hannah’s live performance on the night all went horribly pear-shaped in Malmö. Despite the best efforts from three of the finest dancers from Slovenian dance group Maestro Crew, this was not enough to prevent Slovenia hitting rock bottom in the semi-final. “Straight Into Love” is currently the only entry from Slovenia to end up in last place at the Eurovision Song Contest so far.
Most Memorable Lyrics: “We’ll light the world up from the sky into the night” Sadly, that live performance resulted into the darkness of the exit door.
Although Slovenia have yet to win the Eurovision Song Contest, we simply can’t forget the two singers that have brought the country’s best result so far, Darja Švajger in 1995 and Nuša Derenda in 2001, both finished 7th in the final. And hats off to Alenka Gotar, who finally broke Slovenia’s semi-final hoodoo, with “Cvet z juga” becoming the first entry to qualify in 2007.
And here’s what Team Wiwi have to say on Slovenia’s recent performances:
Anthony: I agree with Eurovision fans saying that my Slovenia is underrated and gets ignored far too easily. So we haven’t had much to cheer about and Slovenia obviously may not have the best of Eurovision records. However, when the good times does come rolling in, it really does bring the feel good factor to the 2 million Slovenes. And seeing Tinkara Kovach qualifying to the final last year has done just that. Same goes to Maja Keuc for her stunning performance in Düsseldorf. Despite her mid-table finish, I’m pleased that Europe loved her as much as we do in Slovenia. As for the rest, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster seeing them attempting to qualify, only for them to take an early exit. Love Symphony getting outdone by Estonia’s Urban Symphony, our regrets on sending an entry combining folk and rock together, Europe failing to believe in Eva Boto and Hannah Mancini crumbling vocally on the night. So yes, it’s been quite a struggle for Slovenia and their semi-final qualifying record.
Sopon: Slovenia is a beautiful country, but it usually sends more than it’s fair share of lousy music. The one exception (which I know is outside of the 2008-2014 range) is Alenka Gotar’s “Cvet z Juga”, which was just epic in it’s presentation. The facial expressions, the light, and everyone’s vocals are mind-blowing in it, it really feels Gothic and scary and fascinating all at the same time. On the other hand, we have “Narodnozabavni Rock”, probably their most childish entry yet along with the most misleading: there is barely any rock in there!
Zach: Slovenia is one of the most criminally underrated countries at Eurovision in recent years, at least in my opinion. In fact, my favourite Slovenian entry is also my favourite Eurovision entry of all time. The stunning vocal powerhouse that is Maja Keuc. Beautiful with an awesome attitude to match, Maja WORKED that stage in Düsseldorf like it was nobody else’s business. Awesome yet minimal choreography, an awesome backdrop, the best backing singers I’ve ever seen/heard, and an amazing outfit to top it all off. The fact that this BARELY made the left hand side of the scoreboard still confounds me to no end. But she did Slovenia proud, and then some! A special shout out to Tinkara as well, I loved Spet, and the stage performance was really amazing! Least favourite is that mess from 2010. Random to a fault, it made no sense at all, and vocals were laughably bad. Thank goodness Maja came one year later and wiped our bad memories away.
Denise: Maja Keuc was amazing on stage back in 2011. A young girl with such a powerful voice, wow! I preferred the Slovenian version, but she had to be in the top 10 at least. Eva Boto is another young girl who gave all she had on the Eurovision stage. She wasn’t my favorite in 2012, but she had to be in the final instead of placing 17th in the semi-final.
Francheska: Maja’s queen, y’all. Woman Crush Wednesday every day, am I right? We could do without the backup singers (they just detract from the perfection which is Maja), but Maja had staging that worked perfectly otherwise. Everybody clearly sees her vocal abilities and attitude that she can belt out. How she managed to stay out of the top 10 is a complete mystery to us all. I do, however, take great offense to the mess which was in 2013. Hannah Mancini’s vocals were a mess, her song couldn’t have been a greater insult to my capacity of English if they included “like, you know” twenty times in it, and the dancers look like jazzercising Daft Punk. Eurovision’s as much about the “vision” as it is about the singing, and she failed both. Good lord.