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!

Sanja Ilic and Balkanica performing “Nova Deca” in Lisbon this year.

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.

Nina performing “Caroban” in Düsseldorf

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!

Read more Serbia Eurovision news here

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ovelha
ovelha
2 years ago

Serbia is one of my favourite countries at eurovision together with Ukraine and Italy, the only songs I don’t love are 2009 and 2015 (although I admit Beauty Never Lies is catchy) and they have. Oro is my favourite entry ever and In Too Deep is part of my Top 3 of all songs since 2008. Their track at the competition is interesting and they really know how to serve quality, no matter if the song is well or badly recieved by the fandom and/or the audience in general. Hope they can get back to the left side of the… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
2 years ago

They’re a weird country and I like seeing their weirdness on stage, whether it’s in the form of Molitva (which had a bizarre performance) or in the shape of Ovo je Balkan. Just no more basic pop songs, thx!

Meliris
Meliris
2 years ago

I like Ovo je Balkan and Cipela a lot, but also their ballads… yeah, I think Serbia might be one of my favorite countries in ESC (after Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine, it might just be that I have an east to south-eastern european taste as a western european)

Stevan
Stevan
2 years ago

As for Barbara Dex stuff, how were they in the competition for it since the nf when they weren’t wearing those cupcakes there? Also the nf name in 2013 was Beosong not Beoviszija nor Beovizija

pp77
pp77
2 years ago

My TOP 3 song from Serbia 2007 then 2012, 2015 than 2008, 2011,2016…
Deserved to go to final 2017
Don t deserved Barbara Dex 2010
Underrated in 2015 (juries votes) 2016 (especially juries votes) , 2018 (juries votes)

Polegend Godgarina
2 years ago
Reply to  pp77

Considering they have automatic 10s/12s from Slovenia, Croatia, (Bosnia,) Montenegro, Macedonia and Switzerland plus some from Italy and Austria no matter what because of neighborhood/immigration, I can see why the juries keep their scores low.

Joe
Joe
2 years ago

One of the strongest of the Balkans. No better way to hit the ground running than by winning in your debut (if we consider it a debut). Belgrade may have hosted a weak contest but they put on a good show nonetheless. Zeljko is the man, forever.
If we’re just talking Serbia independently, I’d say their best is Goodbye (Shelter) (I like Molitva but I never totally got into it). If we’re talking Serbia at any point, Lane Moje takes it hands down. Best Balkan ballad in all of Eurovision.

AngieP
AngieP
2 years ago

LOVE LOVE LOVE! There is only love in my heart for Serbia! I vaguely have some Eurovision memories before 2003, as I was really young, but the first sontest I actually watched was in 2004. So I’m one of those people who fell in love with Eurovision because of “Lane moje”. This was masterpiece which should have won back then, if you ask me! I love how they put the traditional sound in their songs! I love the language, which I tried to learn at some point using actually the lyrics of the entries. It’s also amazing how they managed… Read more »

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
2 years ago

Zeljko Joksimovic is a songwriting treasure. I especially like him because he gave us “Oro” and “Adio”. Of course, “Lanje moje” was the true winning SONG of 2004, but honestly, as a performer, he leaves me rather cold. “Molitva” was the last winner I personally agreed with. Well deserved. It is kind ironic how Graic won on the first attempt while Joksimovic was consistently denied a victory. I commend them for saying “Take it or leave it, we are doing our own thing”. I gladly left them in 2018, 2017 and 2013, which were all awful, but I am sure… Read more »

Ana
Ana
2 years ago

Zeljko! You’re the only one, you’re my only one – as Sergey used to sing 😀
My favourite song is Nije Ljubav Stvar but I love many more Serbian entries. I appreciate them for using their own language and their characteristic music.

Jo.
Jo.
2 years ago

Needs to spice up their entries, just a little bit.

Denis
Denis
2 years ago

Recently Serbia has lost it. I think they should move away from the traditional sounds for a while. Why not a dance hit? Or rap? I mean they tried generic pop and couldn’t even get that right..

Jo.
Jo.
2 years ago
Reply to  Denis

Eurovision needs more rap.

Roelof Meesters
Roelof Meesters
2 years ago

When you say Serbia you say gorgeous Balkan Ballads in the stunning Serbian language. Their 2007, 2008, 2012, and 2018 are a great way of showing culture and Serbia and Montenegro in 2004 and 2005 were also masterpieces! Apart from that, they do send catchy and modern songs in 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2017 (even tho their 2017 performance was bad) And I also like their 2016 entry it was great! 2009 and 2013 were also nice, but I see why they didn’t succeed.

Eastman
Eastman
2 years ago

Some of their older entries are classics but Serbia has lost their way in recent years. If you can’t even do well with generic pop, that’s a sign something is going wrong. They should go back to ballads like Molitva!!

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
2 years ago

Zeljko should come back (not as a performer as he doesn’t want to) and give us another masterpiece but a bit different from his 2004 and 2012 songs, would like to see Jelena again as well 🙂
Serbia is one of my favourite countries because when they really want to send quality, they slay!
Plus, they brought us one of the greatest winners of all time that is Marija with Molitva <3 (you guys have a small typo there, you wrote Moltiva xD)
And of course, songs in English are accepted but Serbian is super beautiful 😀

Roma
Roma
2 years ago

I like most of the Serbian entries in Eurovision. “Molitva” and “Nije ljubav stvar” are the best songs they have sent to the contest. I also really like their 2008, 2016, 2010, 2015, 2011, 2013 and 2018 entries. The only Serbian songs I disliked were “Cipela” and “In Too Deep”.