Following Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv — and after a fourth straight non-qualification — Montenegro’s broadcaster decided to say adio. Its money, it said, would be better spent on purchasing five vehicles to bolster the safety of the broadcaster’s fleet.

Two years on and we’ve been blessed with good news. The Balkan nation that gave us Who See’s spacemen suits and Slavko’s flying hair braid is back in the game. And who knows. Maybe their Eurovision 2022 star will be ferried around Podgorica in some very nice wheels.

At the end of October, Montenegro’s broadcaster RTCG opened submissions for their song selection for Eurovision 2022. The process comes with the curious rule that demos must be submitted anonymously: CDs or USBs of the demos must be put in a large envelope, with details of the applicant’s identity sealed in a smaller envelope inside. It seems their quirkiness isn’t limited just to the stage!

As we celebrate Montenegro’s return in Italy, it’s time to look back on its wonders of yesteryear. Re-watch the country’s eleven previous entries below. Then vote in our poll to let us know which one is your favourite.

2007: Stevan Faddy “‘Ajde, kroči” – 22nd in the semi-final

Stevan won the country’s national selection in a landslide, earning the right to be the very first singer to represent the country at Eurovision following its independence from Serbia.

The song’s Montenegrin title translates as “Come on, step in,” but it seems Europe was fine keeping its distance. The song finished 22nd in the semi-final out of 28 countries.

2008: Stefan Filipović “Zauvijek volim te” – 14th in the semi-final

Stefan Filipovic again performed in the national language. “Zauvijek volim te” (I Love You Forever) is a pop-rock love song in which he asks his beloved to “be his again”. Europe wasn’t swayed. The song finished 14th out of 19 in Semi-Final 1, though it did earn 12 points from Bosnia & Herzegovina, 10 from Slovenia and 1 from San Marino.

2009: Andrea Demirović “Just Get Out of My Life” — 11th in the semi-final

For some reason, Montenegro favours male performers, but the one time they sent a female lead, they did quite well. In 2009, Andrea Demirović delivered the sassy bop “Just Get Out of My Life”. It narrowly missed out on qualifying, placing 11th in its semi.

The upbeat bop was all about Andrea setting herself free from Mr Wrong. Let’s just say the character she portrayed would not be into the lyrics of Måneskin’s “I Wanna Be Your Slave”. As she sings: “Just get out of my, out of my, out of my head, just get out of my, out of my, out of my bed, it’s beyond belief, but true, I became a slave to you…”

Of course, there is a lyrical twist in the very final bar of the song, which suggests she’s not as resolute in her decision as the preceding three minutes suggest.

2012: Rambo Amadeus “Euro Neuro” — 15th in the semi-final

In 2012, “Euro Neuro” offered indirect social commentary on the state of the European Union, the financial crisis and ecological issues. But did Rambo Amadeus also sneak in some commentary on Montenegro at Eurovision, when he sang “I got no ambition for high position in competition”?

His music video famously featured a donkey. So our reviewer Meows Kitty had her claws out after his first rehearsal, which came with a donkey of a different sort. She wrote: “I can’t make out any of the words that are coming out of Rambo’s mouth with the drums and blaring horns in the background. It’s just a bunch of random noise and rambling. The donkey that contributed to the fame of the song was also on stage, but it wasn’t a real one. I think the prop is completely useless if Rambo is not going to ride it.”

2013: Who See “Igranka” — 12th in the semi-final

Who See and Nina Žižić‘s “Igranka” might be best known as an amazing drum ‘n’ bass song performed by two astronauts and a space diva. But as our Robyn pointed out, hidden within the lyrics is a recipe for a delicious fish dish. The astronauts rap, “Grill garlic, parsley and fish, give me all so I can overeat”. It’s a simple but classic combination of flavours, perfect to highlight freshly caught Montenegrin seafood.

By the way, “Igranka” not qualifying (despite placing fourth with the televote) is the biggest robbery ever and we are still upset about it.

2014: Sergej Ćetković “Moj svijet” — 19th in the grand final

While some countries always send songs in English, Montenegro isn’t afraid to mix things up. Six of the country’s ten entries — including their two qualifiers — have been in Montenegrin, spanning rock, rap, and of course Balkan ballads.

Our Romanian blogger Bogdan was in love. At the time he wrote: “Although Balkan music is not my jam, I like ‘Moj Svijet’. Even without the cinematic video, the song transports you to that beautiful part of the world and makes you fall in love with its colours, rhythms and sounds. (Too bad it ends so abruptly.) Sergej sounds a bit like Zeljko and ‘Moj Svijet’ is similar to ‘Lane Moje’, which makes sense: it represented Serbia and Montenegro ten years ago.”

2015: Knez “Adio”  — 13th in the grand final

Montenegro has a reputation for their unusual entries, but they can also deliver an emotional Balkan ballad. Their two grand final qualifications have been with Balkan ballads, including Knez‘s powerful “Adio”, which placed 13th in 2015. Our Robyn was a fan. Here’s what she wrote ahead of Eurovision that year.

“There’s something very intriguing about this song. It has a great melody and Knez brings a certain gravitas to the performance. I’m thinking it might be the sort of song that really comes alive on stage. And I hope that the five women from the music video also make it to Vienna – they have a bit of the classic Montenegro weirdness without being too weird.”

2016: Highway “The Real Thing” — 13th in the semi-final

This was the year Montenegro sent an X Factor boy band. Except it wasn’t your typical X Factor boy band. Highway delivered the full-on stoner rock of “The Real Thing” in 2016. The band brought loads of rock attitude as they lurked in the darkness on the Stockholm stage.

The love was hard to come by with our reviewers, who ranked it 43rd of the 43 songs we reviewed that year. Antranig wrote: “Musically, I really like this song in the chorus — it sounds like it was made for a car-racing game’s soundtrack. However, their vocals are absolutely ghastly and it would probably feature on the soundtrack of my worst nightmares. Them singing “inside you” repeatedly almost warrants a phone call to the Montenegrin authorities.”

2017: Slavko Kalezić “Space”  — 16th in the semi-final

In 2017, Slavko took a break from his day job as an actor and graced us with not just his smouldering good looks but also his metre-long braid. With “Space”, he took us to his intergalactic garden of sensual delights and delivered some of the most memorable hairography ever. His skin-tillating music video left a lot of folks saying WTF. But I really admired his bravery. Here’s what I wrote at the time in our Wiwi Jury review.

“It takes a brave man to spend three minutes shirtless while whipping his six-foot hairpiece back. And Slavko is a very brave man. From his talk of wet dreams to his references to ejaculation, he goes where no Eurovision singer has gone before — and then he thrusts and slut drops to punctuate his arrival. Musically he’s managed to pull the discotheque into 2017, delivering a feel-good track that should draw votes from all corners of Europe. It’s Montenegro’s best entry to date and — in the vein of Conchita and Cleo — it could climb the scoreboard despite its divisiveness. Slayko, indeed!”

2018: Vanja Radovanović “Inje” — 16th in the semi-final

 

In 2018 Montenegro rebooted its national selection Montevizija following several years of internal selections. Vanja, the only male competitor in the field, wowed with his lovely voice — deep, smooth, resonant and imbued with emotion. That he pulled that off in a hotel conference room deserves some applause.

Even so, our Croatian blogger Anthony thought his song paled in comparison to the great ballads the country had sent in the past. He wrote: “Back to basics for Montenegro with their tried and tested formula — a good old vintage Balkan ballad sung entirely in Montenegrin….But ‘Inje’ lacks depth and ends up sounding a tad repetitive to even be considered in the same league as ‘Moj Svijet’ and ‘Adio’.”

2019: D mol “Heaven” — 16th in the semi-final

Our Icelandic writer Kristin gave it a 3 out of 10.

This is like the final soundtrack from a straight-to-DVD Disney film. Does anyone remember The Little Mermaid 2? No? Well, good, ’cause “Heaven” is the tune you’d hear in that! D mol are very accomplished singers and together they harmonise perfectly, but this song does them no justice. It’s dreary, sappy and forgettable. Montenegro has left the building. Thank you, next.

Australian Sebastian, however, saw charms and handed it a 7.5

I’m feeling the love for D mol – merely for the fact that they are trying something aurally different in a sea of familiar sounds. As a recorded track, “Heaven” sounds like a ’90s track, covered by the cast of Glee. And it is exactly those clean, youthful harmonies which bring so much joy out of this track. It might be dated, and we’ve seen the standard key change and dressed-in-white look all before – but it’s still a bop. Seeing a group this large on stage is something that’s sorely lacking at Eurovision.

Poll: What’s your favourite Eurovision entry from Montenegro?

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There is a light guiding my way
There is a light guiding my way
22 days ago

Euro Neuro is my absolute favourite, I just love the way it sounds too much to care about its supposed anti-EU message and all that, honestly.
But a bop “Just Get Out of My Life” comes close behind it (the live performance was a bit lacking), followed then by as great entries as “Igranka” and “Inje”. “Adio” and “Zauvjek volim te” are also among those I liked. The beautiful ethnic instrumental solo from “Heaven” deserves a special mention.

Savvas
Savvas
23 days ago

Montenegro back in 2009 was considered a favorite before the contest. I still remember getting home right before the results of the semi-final and seeing its disqualification. Pity!

lasse braun
lasse braun
24 days ago

team igranka here of course :)why this choice?
because this was very unique + an extra cool performance and brings the dub step (meanwhile out of order) to the ESC and has opened some doors p.e. latvia 2015 ect. :8

lasse braun
lasse braun
24 days ago
Reply to  lasse braun

2nd place is highway with the real thing – at third place together euro neuro & adio.

Marco M.
Marco M.
25 days ago

Is it just me or Andrea Demirovi? could be Nicole Page Brooks (from Atlanta, GA!)’s doppelgänger? OMG

Maya G
Maya G
25 days ago

Igranka is among the best songs in ESC history, and all jurors of that semi final must be shunned from the music industry forever.

Thanos
Thanos
25 days ago

Montenegro is a fun country at ESC and I am glad they are back. If you are interested watch my person top from 2009 onwards here in youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gvbX_AnOEc

Andi
Andi
25 days ago

Definitely Adio,it’s a masterpiece and my 3rd favorite of all times!

Meckie
Meckie
26 days ago

“Grill garlic, parsley and fish, give me all so I can overeat” – Robyn, it is clear you are not very good at Balkan rap scene, otherwise you would understand that typical metaphor in Balkan rap hip hop scene… Sheeesh… ?????

Bird Lover
Bird Lover
26 days ago

yall were not even born but 2007 is their best. I said what i said

Roodi
Roodi
26 days ago
Reply to  Bird Lover

no one remember that entry

Bird Lover
Bird Lover
26 days ago
Reply to  Roodi

clearly I do and its views suggest many other thousands do 🙂
You are here discussing it right now. Clearly you remember it too

Last edited 26 days ago by Bird Lover
Roodi
Roodi
25 days ago
Reply to  Bird Lover

Thousands wow that is many not.and yes i remeber that ugly guy

Jo.
Jo.
26 days ago

2013-2015, not keen on any other

Richard
Richard
26 days ago

Adio and Igranka by quite a margin, very different but equally wonderful.

Barbi
Barbi
26 days ago

The best song of all times was Daniel’s Popovic,, Julie”, and he represented Yugoslavia in front of TV Titograd, now Podgorica, Montenegro.

Last edited 26 days ago by Barbi
Bella
Bella
26 days ago

Honestly I never thought D Mol/Heaven was that bad. It was catchy and they looked endearing all singing together.

It was a typical schlagger-ish Eurovision song, if it had been sent by one of the Scandinavians I’m pretty sure no one would have bat an eyelash.

GojoSatoru
GojoSatoru
26 days ago
Reply to  Bella

Heaven itself wasn’t that bad despite being one of the the mass’ least favorites. But the live execution was just terrible.

Bird Lover
Bird Lover
26 days ago
Reply to  Bella

it was already full of Ralph Siegel cliches… but then they had the cringy high school musical type staging and performance with the high5 and stuff. cringe

Jonas
Jonas
26 days ago

I’m counting 1983, so I’ll say Daniel. Fourth in Munich.

Barbi
Barbi
24 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Me to.
He is the best performer in front of Montenegro studio, former SFRJ.
His composition was translated on more than 10 languages, and he was, on the BRAVO’s music magasin, above Michael Jackson and David Bowie, back in 1983.
He is still composing

Last edited 24 days ago by Barbi
Purple Mask
Purple Mask
27 days ago

Some great memories here. I can still feel the heat from Slavko’s shirtless performances in London at LEP. But I love “Moj Svijet” (2014) as a song, and it might be one of my favourite ever Eurovision entries not in an English language.
And of course, I was one of the very few who like D Mol. 🙂
Just a lot of memories.

Eurovision fan
Eurovision fan
27 days ago

The song was not so good, but their best and the strongest performance was in 2016 ngl. It really added some refershing energy to the evening and I think that performance deserved grand final. Better than Georgia.

Last edited 27 days ago by Eurovision fan
Neil
Neil
27 days ago

I think it’s kind of concerning that Igranka is my favorite entry. Jokes aside, it actually has character and is memorable and I would love for them to return next year

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
27 days ago
Reply to  Neil

That’s absolutely fine, no worries. We all have different tastes.
I don’t remember much about Igranka besides that she and the track were super loud… and the rapping as well. 🙂

Una
Una
27 days ago

My top: 1st – 2015 – best Montenegrin entry so far and one of the best in general in the contest *ever*. Iconic!! 2nd – 2017 – amazing song and *inuendo* – I listen to this one to this day. Legend!! 3rd – 2016 – a rock entry, how brave and unexpected!! 4th – 2019 – I appreciate the six young singers on stage 5th and 6th – 2014 and 2018 – classic entries 7th – 2013 – interesting show for an original entry 8th – 2009 – basic and inoffensive 9th – 2008 – kind of 80s 10th –… Read more »

Last edited 27 days ago by Una
Neil
Neil
27 days ago

I think it’s kind of concerning that Igranka is my favorite entry. Jokes aside, it actually has character and is memorable and I would love for them to return next year

Apollo
Apollo
27 days ago

I usually have an opinion of what direction a country should take for Eurovision. For example, Spain should go down the Rosalia (Spanish R&B) route, Finland should stick to rock and Iceland should continue to be as quirky as possible – but when it comes to Montenegro I have NO IDEA what they should do. Montenegro has tried every genre in the last decade and the only one that worked was Balkan ballad’s. But as we’ve seen from previous years, Balkan ballads can be hit or miss. I think Montenegro could do well if they sent a diva singing a… Read more »

Roodi
Roodi
26 days ago
Reply to  Apollo

Senidah has roots from Montenegro she is one of the biggest singers in the balkan

Bird Lover
Bird Lover
26 days ago
Reply to  Roodi

how does that remotely answer the fact that they suck at esc and their delegation does too?

Roodi
Roodi
26 days ago
Reply to  Bird Lover

yes they suck but atleast their songs are entertaining not like these boring songs portugal always sends or the screaming women Albania always sends

Apollo
Apollo
25 days ago
Reply to  Roodi

All Portuguese and Albanian entries have been lightyears ahead of Montenegro’s best entry.

Colin
Colin
25 days ago
Reply to  Apollo

You are saying that Luta e alegria is “light years ahead” of Moj svijet? Really? I respect everyone’s opinion, but I couldn’t disagree with it more.

Roodi
Roodi
25 days ago
Reply to  Apollo

please portugal and Albania sends boring safe ballads always they will qualify and then it placed in the rightside from the scoreboard.Montenegro entries are always memorable i rather be rememberd as non qualifier then being qualified and everyone forgets you.

Sot
Sot
27 days ago

Montenegro’s strongest years were BY FAR 2013-2016… They were also the years when they qualified either for juries, televote or both (Yup, Highway qualified in 10th place for juries!)

Guorga
Guorga
27 days ago
  1. Inje
  2. Igranka
  3. Moj svijet
Frifri
Frifri
27 days ago

The only ones i like and i really like them: Knez & Who See. Rambo was pretty cool as well.

Ria van de Velde
Ria van de Velde
27 days ago

For me the same top 3 as Colin,

  1. Adia
  2. Moj svet
  3. Inje

I don’t like the other entry ‘s from Montenegro.

Ria van de Velde
Ria van de Velde
27 days ago

I mean Adio

Roodi
Roodi
26 days ago

it looks like you like boring balkan ballads

Colin
Colin
27 days ago

My Montenegrin winners are Moj svijet and Inje, with Adio being my close third. All three are among my top favorites of their respective years, and I really love them. 🙂

I also like Igranka, and Just Get Out of My Life is kinda okay.

I don’t really like the rest, but I see that Euro Neuro was never meant to be traditionally liked (the semi-sensical lyrics are a middle finger to competing), so I can acknowledge its spirit.

Last edited 27 days ago by Colin
Purple Mask
Purple Mask
27 days ago
Reply to  Colin

“Moj Svijet” is one of my favourite non-English Eurovision songs. You probably knew that anyway. 🙂

Colin
Colin
26 days ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

Yeah, Moj svijet is absolutely beautiful. 🙂

Stanislav Zinakov
Stanislav Zinakov
27 days ago

Igranka! Best song of ESC 2013 for me (and Margaret Berger)

GojoSatoru
GojoSatoru
27 days ago

I am going to be honest, Montenegro is my least favorite Eurovision nation. Trough out time, I’ve only liked their most recent entry: Heaven by D Mol.

Even though I see Montenegro as my least favorite Eurovision nation, I hope they get the same fate as Portugal (aka doing poorly almost every year, but eventually winning out of nowhere).

GojoSatoru
GojoSatoru
27 days ago
Reply to  GojoSatoru

I like to correct my grammar, but the edit button can’t be used after a while: “Trough out time” should be “Throughout time”

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
27 days ago
Reply to  GojoSatoru

I like to see Montenegro qualify for the first time since 2015, but winning? That’s a long way off for Montenegro. I don’t know if they would be able to even afford to the host Eurovision.

Roodi
Roodi
25 days ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

If Ukraine the poorets country in Europe can host ESC than Montenegro definetly can host ESC

Aeria
Aeria
27 days ago

Sergej Cetkovic – Moj Svijet for sure

Last edited 27 days ago by Aeria
Whisker
Whisker
27 days ago

1 SLAVKO KALEZIC – SPACE

2 Knez – Adio

3 D mol – Heaven

Eugenie
Eugenie
27 days ago

Igranka and Euro Neuro. The second is criminally underrated.

Princess peregrine
Princess peregrine
25 days ago
Reply to  Eugenie

Agree. Rambo all the way. The backing track alone deserves 6 points.

There is a light guiding my way
There is a light guiding my way
1 day ago
Reply to  Eugenie

Me agrees too. Euro Neuro was gorgeous.

Kirby
Kirby
27 days ago

My favorites are Igranka and The Real Thing. Both should have qualified.