We’re coming close to the end of our series listing the reasons why love all the competing countries at Eurovision, but we still have a few countries to flatter before we’re through! Today we head to Belgrade to lavish compliments on the Balkan nation of Serbia.
Serbia has taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest independently since 2007 (more on that particular year later), but of course, they have competed as part of Yugoslavia between 1961 and 1992. Serbia also competed as the union of Serbia and Montenegro before their independence. Since then, we’ve had Balkan ballads galore and fantastic upbeat songs that we can’t forget. Here’s a top 10 of reasons why we love Serbia at Eurovision!
1. First-time success!
The song “Moltiva” by Marija Serifovic won Eurovision in 2007, which happened to be the very first time Serbia had competed as an independent nation. The title translates into English as ‘Prayer’, and is an example of a powerful Balkan ballad. The power of the performance came in its simplicity with no major gimmick or particularly crazy outfits — something that was otherwise a common theme of ’00s Eurovision. Belgrade hosted the following year, with an appearance from Novak Djokovic in the show.
2. Zeljko Joksimovic
“Lane Moje” is considered one of the most famous songs in modern Eurovision history, with many fans citing it as the reason they really got into following the contest in the first place. Zeljko Joksimovic performed the song representing Serbia and Montenegro, and he later returned to the contest in 2012, coming third for Serbia with “Nije Ljubav Stvar”. Zeljko has composed many other songs for the contest such as Hari Mata Hari’s third-place entry “Lejla” in 2006, and most recently “Adio” by Knez for Montenegro in 2015.
3. Two of the most memorable Barbara Dex winners EVER
Let’s face it, when we saw Moje 3‘s performance at the national final, we knew they would be in contention for their Barby D early on. The outfits got even weirder and they brought sugar-sweet realness to the 2013 contest in Malmo. They didn’t qualify but is still a WTF-fan-favourite years later and a fabulous guilty pleasure. As for their Barbara Dex win in 2010? Milan Stankovic knows how to rock a bowl cut and THAT jacket. Both deserved winners, but both remembered fondly!
4. The Serbian language
In 2015, Serbia sent their first entry in English, a move that shocked avid fans all over the continent. Before that, all entries had been entirely in Serbian, and we were gifted with one of the gorgeous Balkan languages. To date 73% of Serbia’s entries have been entirely in Serbian, with the delegation going back to the native language in 2018 with “Nova Deca”.
5. Traditional sound
To go along with the Serbian language, the country has sent songs with typical Serbian elements to it, such as the strong Balkan ballad, or even the staging style. The typical sound consists of plenty of flute and a strong vocalist belting out an emotional track. The songs tend to do very well at Eurovision, with four top-ten finishes out of eight grand final appearances.
6. Bojana preaching body positivity in 2015
Bojana Stamenov, the queen we all deserved in the 2015 contest held in Vienna. “Beauty Never Lies” spread the message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that we are all gorgeous in different ways. What a return to the contest, after a year off in 2014!
7. They aren’t afraid of other bold topics
Sanja Vucic ZAA represented Serbia in 2016 with the song “Goodbye (Shelter)” which tackled the issue of domestic violence against women. Sanja presents the song from a first-person perspective about someone finding the strength to break away from an abusive relationship, and was paired with meaningful staging where dancers depicted the storyline.
8. Fierce females!
Serbia have had some of the most epic women representing them at the contest, singing everything from powerhouse tracks to cheery pop. Kicking it off with Marija in 2007, they’ve since brought us Jelena Tomasevic with “Oro”, Nina brought ’60s vibes in 2011, and the most recent solo woman on stage was the fabulous Tijana Bogicevic with “In Too Deep”.
9. The staging and song in 2009 was… something
OK, so “Cipela” by Marko Kon and Milaan was Serbia’s first non-qualifier and it was certainly a weird choice after the sheer quality in 2007 and 2008, however it had its charms. The song is a sarcastic poke about a woman who won’t be with the protagonist as they have no money. The staging was a green-hued pixel-themed oddity, which if you speak Serbian makes sense, otherwise not so much.
10. They brought Beovizija back!
There’s nothing we’re more certain of than that Eurofans love as many national finals as possible. Serbia brought back Beovizija back after having switched to other formats from 2010. In between, there had been Beosong and Odbrojavanje za Beč and three years of internal selection to serve as methods of choosing Serbia’s song, but the original show came back, with “Nova Deca” being the winning song. Broadcaster RTS has confirmed the show will be used again in 2019.
That’s what we love about Serbia, how about you? What’s your favourite song from the ex-Yugoslav nation? Let us know in the comments below!
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