Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessional — went to Serbia and visited the historic Belgrade Fortress. Deep inside its solid stone walls, we discussed ZAA Sanja Vucic and her song “Goodbye (Shelter)”. Did it make us want to say hello? Or were we happily waving farewell? Read on to find out!
ZAA Sanja Vucic with “Goodbye (Shelter)”
“Goodbye (Shelter)” reviews
Bogdan: Serbia is serving us a big diva ballad this year, but I’m not feeling it. It’s overly dramatic, from the make-up and lyrics to the delivery, bordering on downright ridiculous. I am not a fan of musical theatre and this is what “Goodbye” feels like. They need to turn it down a notch, or they risk overshadowing the song’s otherwise powerful message.
Angus: Category is: cinematic Bond theme ballad. Sanja’s expressions are theatrical, but her voice is the act. Homegirl can sing for days! Unfortunately she’s stuck with what feels like the neglected little sister of “Molitva”. The orchestral backing gives this some punch, but that aside the whole thing feels very emotionally hollow and Broadway. A lot of power without a lot of feeling.
Anthony: “Beauty Never Lies” defied my pre-contest expectations and Serbia’s tenth place finish was a pleasant surprise. So the pressure’s cranked up a notch on Sanja as Bojana’s Eurovision successor. Best known as the lead singer of her band ZAA, Sanja has clearly channeled her influences on “Goodbye” and delivered it with such expressive emotion. It’s a worthy contender to keep Serbia’s top 10 momentum going.
Cristian: This Serbian song leaves me cold. Maybe it’s her forced and bizarre interpretation but I’m just not connecting to it. “Goodbye (Shelter)” has good arrangements but the melody reveals a staggering mediocrity and lack of creativity.
Chris: Drama, and lots of it. Sanja’s performance borders on the distracting at times, but I have a feeling that they’ll tone that down just enough when we get to Stockholm. My concerns would be that we’ve not yet heard the song live, and therefore whether Sanja can really deliver with such ferocity for three whole minutes.
Maria: Sanja is so vivacious as a performer and sings this ballad with conviction. With a less theatrical aesthetic on stage and toning down the images of masks that look recycled from last year’s entry I can see “Goodbye (Shelter)” not only progressing to the finals but perhaps even surpassing Serbia’s commendable place last year.
Deban: Channelling angst, pain and tortured emotion, “Goodbye” immediately hits your conscience. I applaud Sanja Vucic for starting a conversation about abuse, and addressing it with conviction. She may look like Amy Winehouse in drag, but in this contest, she remains the voice of reason.
Diego: Serbia puts its bet on a strong pop ballad, leaving aside the Balkan/ethnic element that worked so well for them in the past. Sanja’s performance really hits the spot with both her dark soul voice and her acting, making this “Goodbye” a musical journey through pain and suffering from beginning to end. Serbia aims high again with a different formula.
Padraig: I loved “Goodbye (Shelter)” from the very first moment I heard it. Oozing class and sophistication, it’s easily one of my favourite Serbian entries for years. Whilst not ground breaking, it possesses many of the qualities that made “Rise Like a Phoenix” so successful. A sultry singer, a retro vibe and a gigantic cinematic climax. It gives me major feels – but not the right ones. I want to raise my fist in the air in solidarity, although I’m not quite sure why. It’s only when I listen closely to the lyrics that I realise the adversity she’s overcome. Everyone can see the anguish in Sanja’s face. She just needs to channel it through her voice instead.
Robyn: “Goodbye (Shelter)” reminds me a little of “Running” — a really catchy song dealing with the issue of domestic violence. Sanja has a strong, expressive voice, but there’s one really big problem: the performance is dominated by Sanja’s over-the-top body movements and facial expressions. It would be fine in a comedic cabaret show, but when the song is about a woman trying to flee an abusive relationship, the gurning and flailing strongly detracts from the serious message.
Sami: Sometimes putting a deeper message into a Eurovision song doesn’t work as planned, but in this case the message really comes through. You can see that Sanja is giving it her all, but some of her facial expressions made me laugh to the point I couldn’t take it that seriously anymore. I don’t see this standing out from the rest of the female ballads, but I still think it can reach the final.
William: While I appreciate the thoughtful subject matter and passionate delivery, something about this just doesn’t click. What starts out as a promising Balkan ballad morphs into a somewhat strange Amy Winehouse cover act. The gesticulation and shaking — no doubt meant to convey the horrors of domestic violence — is unfortunately comical and Sanja would be wise to limit her contortions. Despite my reservations, I have no doubt this will come to life live — Sanja’s voice oozes soul and power. Properly deployed — particularly in those key changes — it could win her major points.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 12 reviews. The remaining 28 scores are below.
William C: 7.5/10
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 2 and a high of 9.