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.

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.

Score: 6.5/10

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.

Score: 2.5/10

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.

Score: 3/10

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.

Score: 7.5/10

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.

Score: 7.5/10

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.

Score: 9/10

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.

Score: 7/10

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.

Score: 3/10

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.

Score: 2

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.

Score: 7

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!

Score: 7.5

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.

Score: 2

What’s your favourite EMA winner? Do you hope the EMA FRESH competition returns? Let us know down below!

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Apollo
Apollo
1 month ago

I’m still upset that Jelena Karleusa and Pabllo Vittar’s song (La Bomba) was denied by EMA for not being ”Slovenian enough”. They could’ve had the most memorable performance of the decade at Eurovision.

Red X
Red X
29 days ago
Reply to  Apollo

wow, Pabllo as a Eurovision artist would’ve been interesting.

Una
Una
1 month ago

I liked 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Delighted to know that there will be a national selection.

hhhhurricane
hhhhurricane
1 month ago

When i tell you i nearly choked at the 3/10 for Sebi. Slovenia, my beloved, look away and keep doing your thing

Alvaro
Alvaro
1 month ago

And so, another final selection and another Balkan country coming in the way! Yes!

Whisker
Whisker
1 month ago

Amen.

Sot
Sot
1 month ago

I’m sorry y’all but I really can’t describe Slovenia with ONE word. Just like Georgia, Lithuania and Moldova they’re always so diverse and I guess sometimes they fail to impress but I MUST give them the fact that they haven’t transformed to a 6th Sweden…

Leaf
Leaf
29 days ago
Reply to  Sot

Moldova is basically the same every year.
Same team, same gimmicks, same sponsor.

Bird Lover
Bird Lover
29 days ago
Reply to  Sot

its not that you cant describe. They are in that “whatever” category of eurovision countries.. where they never really shine at the contest, the broadcaster just shows up for the exposure and that is it… there’s no particular huge effort by their delegations nor do the citizens of those countries care either. Czech Republic was one of them, but now they are kinda into eurovision and actually try at least I would not say Moldova is in this category though (most eurovision memes are always somehow related to moldova over the years) so moldova is far from overlooked, i would… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Bird Lover
BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
29 days ago
Reply to  Bird Lover

I don’t think Moldova goes eurovision to win. They go to have fun. As Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, I can’t see them wanting to foot the bill to host Eurovision.

Slovenia is very hit or miss with me. Sometimes I might like their entry, but I’m gonna be honest, since i got into Eurovision starting from 2016, I have only liked 1 or two entries AT MOST. They either don’t make an impact on me, or they really annoy me. Let’s hope we get some good options for Slovenia next year.

Teddy
Teddy
1 month ago

EMA has always been interesting for mixed reasons. The winners have been extremely questionable at times. Manuela winning over Raiven and Omar Naber over the 8 other songs that weren’t as lifeless as “On my way.” I hope some of them, especially Raiven, make a return this year

Last edited 1 month ago by Teddy
kir
kir
1 month ago
Reply to  Teddy

Raiven gives me Samanta Tina vibes. And we all know where this ended up.

Teddy
Teddy
29 days ago
Reply to  kir

Samanta would have stood a chance if her staging wasn’t so bad. Slovenia usually doesn’t miss that badly so I’d have hope 🙂

Sot
Sot
1 month ago
Reply to  Teddy

Raiven is loved by juries and hated by the public. And I mean HATED. So she’ll never represent Slovenia if nothing changes

Croatia
Croatia
1 month ago
Reply to  Sot

After all, Raiven won the audience vote in Popevka, even the president of public television himself presented her with the award

in my opinion, now she has a chance for success for Slovenia, it’s not Raiven from a few years ago, now classical music is playing in her soul

Last edited 1 month ago by Croatia
Sot
Sot
29 days ago
Reply to  Croatia

So something changed! I really wanna see Raiven compete

Croatia
Croatia
1 month ago

The participation of Slovenia in Eurovision is a surprise to me, especially when it is Prime Minister Janza who wants to destroy public television.

Hopefully Raiven will come back to ema after winning a popevka on public tv rtv slo thanks to viewers’ votecomment image

Man in a Hamster Wheel
Man in a Hamster Wheel
1 month ago

Sebi is probably my favorite ESC song of the last decade. So there’s always hope for Slovenia.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
1 month ago

not a 3/10 for sebi… yikes

Lorenzo Celli
Lorenzo Celli
1 month ago

They should go for something risky but original like Hvala Ne and Sebi

Nils
Nils
1 month ago

I really love the unpredictability of Slovenia’s entries. Unlike many other countries, they never stuck to some sort of formula or pattern in their choices.

Luc
Luc
29 days ago
Reply to  Nils

Indeed, I love the randomness of their entry choices!

Bird Lover
Bird Lover
29 days ago
Reply to  Luc

slovenia is far from random. They either give us something in the national language or give us something where they dont want to qualify that year (on my way, red and blue, hallelujah). stop acting like slovenia is this unpredictable mystery country at the contest
they are as predictable as albania sending rock or a screaming woman

Last edited 29 days ago by Bird Lover
BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 month ago

That’s 31 countries confirmed for Eurovision 2022, eight or nine left to go. Good luck Slovenia, I hope we see you in the final next year

Milan
Milan
1 month ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

That’s why I skip the reviews and go straight to comments 🙂

Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago

I am going to pretend that I did not see Deban’s review of on my way and Angus’ review of sebi xxxxx

willchrisiam
willchrisiam
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashton

That Deban’s review makes it a lot clearer to me why we never had similar reactions to new entries.

bigcity
bigcity
1 month ago

One of the coolest countries in the contest that I look forward to <3 even if the EMA winner isn’t my fav there are always some great ones in the selection