Direct and to the point. That’s how Slovenia’s broadcaster RTV SLO handled its confirmation for Eurovision 2022. In a post shared on social media, the broadcaster confirmed its participation with just two sentences.
“RTV Slovenia will participate in Eurovision 2022 in Italy. There will also be an EMA 2022.”
They punctuated the caption with a series of rockets, suggesting they’re ready to burn a path straight to the Eurovision final.
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Slovenia confirms Eurovision 2022 participation
Slovenia’s Eurovision entry has almost always been selected through Evrovizijska Melodija — or EMA for short. The show did not take place ahead of Eurovision 2021. Instead, the 2020 winner Ana Soklič was given an automatic pass to Eurovision 2021 since Eurovision 2020 had been cancelled.
The actual rules and format of the show will be revealed later. Last year’s national selection had a 12-act final. Ten of these acts were considered established artists and were selected by producers. The remaining two acts qualified through the new and elaborate EMA FREŠ pre-selection — a sort of wildcard round to EMA itself.
The contest saw 18 non-established artists competing for those two spots in the main competition (sort of like the old P4 Nästa competition for Melodifestivalen, or the qualifying rounds at the U.S. Open tennis tournament that Emma Raucanu went through to reach the main draw).Eighteen songs competed in nine duels over three weeks between 4 and 20 November 2019.
In any case, as we all wait to learn how EMA 2022 will unfold, why don’t we walk down memory lane to relive the past five winners of the contest? We’re including two reviews from our annual Wiwi Jury. These reviews were published after the national selection, but in the weeks prior to rehearsals at Eurovision.
2016: ManuElla — “Blue and Red” | 14th in the semi-final
William: “You were not a composer, I am not your song” — ManuElla is cutting straight to the chase! Her delightful ditty, which is all about ditching her man and getting her happy back, builds a bridge from Ljubljana to Nashville. The country-pop sound is a nice addition to the contest, as are ManuElla’s sultry sex goddess vocals. My one piece of advice: Don’t look so startled during your wardrobe change. You need to own your transformation on stage, just as you did when you said goodbye to Mr Wrong.
Deban: Manuella reminds me of Anna Rossinelli. That’s a plus! However, blue and red isn’t my favourite colour-combo, and neither is this entry. It lacks life shortly after it beats, only to rely on optical illusion, and costume-change gimmicks to revive itself later. In a sea of comeback stars and stellar compositions, Slovenia’s colours won’t stand out this year.
2017: Omar Naber — “On My Way” | 17th in the semi-final
Robyn: This is so frustrating — Omar easily has one of the best voices at Eurovision 2017, but he’s wasting it with one of the worst songs. And Eurovision is a song competition, not a singing competition. “On My Way” is so maudlin, so depressing, so dated, and not helped that at EMA he was styled like a teenage boy from the mid 2000s. He is throwing away his second shot at Eurovision with a dire song. The less I have to listen to “On My Way”, the happier I’ll be.
Deban: Omar’s vocal flourishes are a wonder to behold. “On My Way” captures much of this vocal drama whilst retaining a very strong melody. Warm, soothing, uplifting and soaring, Omar Naber’s voice is a fine instrument, and his self-composition bears the hallmark of a modern classic.
2018: Lea Sirk — “Hvala, ne!” | 22nd in the grand final
Luis: Let’s be honest: “Hvala, ne!” is a hot mess. An absolutely enjoyable hot mess, but still weird af. I’m not sure how Europe will respond to one of the sassiest women in this year’s field, almost rapping in Slovene over breaking beats. The best thing about Lea is how much she believes in her entry and how she sings it with conviction. That alone could perfectly lead her to the final.
Antranig: Never have I been more pleasantly surprised in my life than the day “Hvala, ne” won EMA 2018. This is the most attitude and personality Slovenia has served at Eurovision since the great Maja Keuc. Lea Sirk brings this to life and a little touch of female rap is certainly much appreciated at Eurovision. This is definitely my guilty pleasure of Eurovision 2018 and Lea has the potential to get Slovenia back to the grand final.
2019: Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl — “Sebi” | 15th in the final
Robyn: “Sebi” is an intriguing song. Zala is right in there with her ASMR vocals (something that worked for Lithuania last year) and a pleasantly meandering melody. The song is rich and luxurious and holds so much potential. The key to it all will be the staging. The audience needs to be right there. The national final staging — where Zala gazed at Gašper as he played his guitar, twiddled with the synth knobs and rocked back and forth — isn’t focused enough for Eurovision. If Slovenia can get that right, “Sebi” could do very well in Tel Aviv.
Angus: I won’t deny that Slovenia’s national final performance was visibly arresting. But part of the intrigue, and hypnotising quality, is that this plays against all the known rules of a successful Eurovision performance. And that’s where the problems lie with “Sebi”. The song has a very linear progression. Stripped of the performance the studio sounds cold. And because there’s virtually no eye contact with the camera, or between the couple or lighting on stage, it’s difficult to engage in. So while you can appreciate it from a distance, it doesn’t leave me with a great impulse to listen again or vote for it.
2020: Ana Soklič — “Voda” | Eurovision CANCELLED
Angus: Water can be the force that gives us life or the most boring thing on the dinner table. And unfortunately “Voda” falls into the latter category. Ana has an admittedly huge voice, but it is wasted on this banal ballad.
Ron: “Voda” is a beautiful, mysterious, dramatic song matched with the powerful vocals of Ana Soklič. The only disadvantage in its original version was the extremely slow build-up and the verses that were perhaps too long. But the revamp has smoothed out those flaws and polished it. I’m ready to drink.
2021: Ana Soklič — “Amen” | 13th in the semi-final
Julian: Oh Lord, what a voice. We already knew Ana’s big voice and her range but “Amen” definitely shows her voice at the next level! Beginning slowly, Ana had me with her first note singing. Going on, the song builds beautifully into a big chorus and a gospel choir supports her, elevating the song even more. While there a people who see “Amen” as a typical ballad — which it actually is — I would not underestimate Ana to convince listeners at home and in the jury to vote Slovenia into the final!
Luis: Ana Soklic’s abilities are out of the question. What is yet to be settled is whether this entry is a beautiful showcase for them or mere vocal masturbation. Musically, the instrumentation is grand albeit a bit empty. “Amen” follows a risky path: a message that’s so explicit will have its followers, but also its detractors. Religious imagery is a delicate topic, many will interpret this as a sermon, and it’s not certain this is what the audience wants on Eurovision night.
What’s your favourite EMA winner? Do you hope the EMA FRESH competition returns? Let us know down below!