Eurovision 2018 rehearsals are mere days away. And earlier today, Serbia officially saw off their representatives Sanja Ilic & Balkanika. To mark the occasion, the national broadcaster RTS organised a special press conference in the centre of Belgrade.
Many media representatives from Serbia and abroad were in attendance, including our very own Jovana Radojevic.
Tijana Bogicevic — who represented Serbia in 2017 — was also present to hand over the country’s flag to her successors.
The group’s front man Sanja Ilic shared the group’s aspirations for Lisbon: “We have done everything we could to make this as good as it can get. The costumes will be great, the performance will be great, singing would be perfect. We have the best and the most beautiful ethno vocalist with us, Danica Krstic.”
Alluding to two jubilees which RTS will celebrate this year — the sixtieth anniversary of television in Serbia and also ten years since the Balkan nation hosted Eurovision — Ilic said:
“In a way we fit this jubilee of RTS. My father worked at RTS and I am a child of RTS. I am really glad that we are representing Serbia at Eurovision this year precisely, when that jubilee is being celebrated.”
And while his name forms part of the group’s title, Ilic will not appear on the Altice Arena stage. Instead, a new singer Iva Banicevic will join them as an additional female vocalist.
The Serbian delegation also took the opportunity to announce that Milan Gromilic — a well-known dancer and choreographer — and Gorcin Stojanovic — a famed film, theatre and TV director — would serve as the act’s choreographer and performance director respectively.
Thankfully, the afternoon wasn’t a complete gab-fest. Balkanika unveiled a new promotional version of their entry “Nova deca” — sung in English with a reggae arrangement. They tried to record the original track with English lyrics, but it “just did not work” with that style of music.
Sanja Ilic & Balkanika — “Nova deca”: English / reggae version LIVE
Before alarm bells start ringing, the group will sing the original version in Lisbon. But before then, we can expect the official music video to premiere at some point tomorrow, Friday.
Today’s proceedings were overseen by Duska Vucinic Lucic, the head of RTS’s PR department and Serbia’s Eurovision commentator. Olivera Kovacevic, the head of the entertainment programming department, also spoke.
Kovacevic stressed the importance of participating in Eurovision. It is one of the rare opportunities for Serbia and RTS to step out on an international stage. She also underlined that Serbia would continue to take part in the contest despite possible financial issues. RTS will always try to do whatever they can with the budget they have.
What do you think? Are Sanja Ilic & Balkanika ready for the final stage of their Eurovision adventure? Do you like the new arrangement? Let us know in the comments.
Photo credits: Slobodan Saric, Radio Television of Serbia