The Wiwi Jury — our in-house team of music unprofessionals — is reviewing and rating the 37 competing songs in Eurovision 2023. Next we review Serbia, who have chosen Luke Black with “Samo mi se spava”.
Is it game over for the rest of the competition? Read on to find out what we thought!
Luke Black – “Samo mi se spava” (Serbia Eurovision 2023)
Review: Luke Black – “Samo mi se spava”
Luis: Everything everywhere and all at once, just like the Oscar-winning movie. Luke Black creates a videogame on stage and you just want to explore its whole world. There are so many inputs in this performance, and there’s so many things to like. “Samo mi se spava” is a very experimental piece, which doesn’t feel like it’s solely created for the stage: it’s still good enough to play by itself, without the visuals. Yet another year where Serbia has gone outside the box, and what a great idea that’s been.
Diego: Serbia knows how to deliver the most unique entries year after year. Luke’s incredible performance is bringing a post-zombie apocalypse videogame world to life. Meanwhile, the song is giving a haunted rock-metal vibe with a meaningful and strong message. “Samo mi se spava” is no doubt one strong contender.
Tom: I love that Luke Black is different and he is not trying to be like anyone else. “Samo mi se spava” is just a bit too alternative for me. I just don’t enjoy this type of music. The creepy laughter, the constant whispering and “hellos” – it’s all a bit unnerving and I feel that I have launched myself into a strange horror film. Kudos for being different, it’s just not for me. Serbia also find themselves in the ‘tougher’ first semi-final and I would be surprised if this qualified.
Simon: I don’t want to sleep, because I love the avantgarde direction that Serbia has taken in the last few years. Luke Black’s presence fits the description of avantgarde perfectly, the heavy electronic beat in the chorus goes right into my veins, and it doesn’t hurt that Luke is an absolute sweetheart in interviews. It probably doesn’t have the catchiness of Konstrakta’s entry, but the clever staging combined with Luke’s mesmerising vocals have catapulted this song to the top of my ranking. Not all the way to the top, but in the range of hoping for a repeat of last year’s top 5 spot.
Oliver: Eerie and dreamlike, “Samo mi se spava” is one of the most experimental tracks on this year’s Eurovision playlist. Luke Black showcases imaginative musical ideas and clever songwriting, using modal passages and witty wordplay to invoke a sense of mystery. At times, the mix is cluttered. There’s one too many ingredients in the pot for any of the flavours to stand out on their own, leaving some of the elements feeling underdeveloped. And with incohesive styling, the Serbian stage show needs some fine-tuning to secure its spot in the final. Never forget, sometimes less is more.
Serbia Eurovision 2023 ranking
In the Eurovision 2023 Wiwi Jury, we have 20 jurors but only have room for five reviews. The remaining scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.69/10
What do you think of Serbia’s Eurovision 2023 entry? Share your own score and review for Luke Black’s “Samo mi se spava” below!
Too high score for this, sorry.
So Tom gives Poland a 7 and this a 3. What planet is he living on?
I find that lately, the past few years, my music taste has branched out to more alternative styles and this song doesn’t disappoint. It’s edgy, it’s dark and it’s somewhat post apocalyptical. It may not appeal to the masses, but it will stand out for being different. I think it will do well in Liverpool, especially in the semi final that is 100% televote. My current 4th.
Two official remixes for SMSS by COMANAVAGO (they also worked on original version)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE-fhwJ8dGk Better for me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySdqoVWO0QQ For runway catwalk
Oh so quirky. Overrated
I feel like this entry might have the same fate as Portugal 2019; amazing, but too ahead of its time to appeal widely.
Not really a good comparison, considering the fact that Serbian song has a very commercial beat, while Portugal’s drum section sounded quite messy and over the top. Also, Serbian national final performance was already much ahead of the Portuguese 2019 one, and that was a staging done with money of Luke Black’s pockets, so ESC staging will be even better (already said by him in an interview).
This one has grown on me. The first time I saw it I thought it was terrible but appreciated that it was different. However, after a few viewings I really love the entire performance, and I am into the lyrics as well. I still feel like the song asks too little of Luke Black’s voice, and it’s hard to pretend to be enthused with his singing performance with the way it is written (regardless of his actual talent). It isn’t a song that I care to listen to, but I do love watching the life performance all together.
Following Konstrakta’s steps (and claps), Serbia stuck to the experimental vibes and I really hope this new avant-garde wave keeps paying off to them. It’s true that “Samo mi se spava” isn’t as insanely catchy and deeply thought-provoking as “In Corpore Sano”, but it shares an alternative charm and offers a similar level of intrigue and mystery to the viewers. The dystopian video game nature of its staging can also make it stand out, trusting they’ll refine the visuals for Liverpool and Luke will keep working on this persona he’s playing. 8.5
Before we forget, let’s acknowledge how close Serbia were to disaster this national final season. Despite having one of the best selections of any country, many of the better songs were left in the semi finals and the most mediocre offerings were pushed up the scoreboard. Before we get into the brilliance of “Samo Mi Se Spava”, I do feel the need to point out that Serbian jurors thought Tijana Dap?evi?’s “Mamim” was a better choice, whereas one more televoter wanted to go with Chegi And Bra?a Bluz Band’s “Svadba Ili Kavga”. Somehow, despite this level of self-defeatism, Serbia somehow… Read more »
I’m in when it comes to dark and original songs that are not cut© from others. The theatrical aspect of the staging really adds to the pack. I like it is different. You don’t need too sing loud to be a good singer and that’s what you call stage presence. I’m not sure about how the audience or the jury will react, but it should qualify just for being unique. Serbia is my 13th. 8. San Marino (7.25) 10. Ireland (7) 11. Armenia (7) 13. Serbia (7) 14. Moldova (7) 15. Estonia (6.75) 17. Australia (6.75) 18. Cyprus (6.75) 19.… Read more »
Im from Serbia and this song is pure crap. He has no voice, its loud and non attachable. Its not radio friendly, its not stage friendly, he is not stage friendly, its gay over the top, its annoying on so many levels, and I couldnt care less if he doesnt qualify.
Is it possible to be hetero over the top? Funny, I never hear that complaint.
Honestly his comment is not great in my mind, but you know what he means with gay over the top, and no there is no hetero over the top, but aren’t we at a place where we can say things without touching all emotions everywhere.
I like his stage presence even though he is very “gayish” in his movements , which is fine, why should it not be 🙂
It is very possible, just look all those annoying glam rock/metal bands of the 80’s for example, extremely vapid and over-the-top.
I am from Serbia too. Really feel sorry for you, so much hate inside there! What happend?
hahaha Robin is NOT a Serbian name, so get a life, spammer!
Non attachable? It’s borderliner ASMR, especially with earbuds.
I’m from Serbia as well and I love the song. Who hurt you and why are you so hateful?
Super sto ovako kenjas po nasoj pesmi. Majmuncino!???
I’m also from Serbia – a 61 yrs old woman – and honestly, I’m ashamed of you right now. “Gay over the top”… oh my God, the sheer stupidity of your comment! You don’t have to like this song (De gustibus, etc.) but aren’t you just a little “homophobic over the top”?!
I have good feeling that this might not qualify to shock to many people. I just don’t see people voting for this. Greta Salome 2.0.
Alongside Finland, probably the most original , innovative entry this year- the staging has the potential for elevating this to the finals…..there is a ‘Stranger Things’ feel to this whole idea……..vocals aside (and they are not bad)- this could be a dark horse.
This music is not to my taste, and there is no hope in the song whatsoever. My cousin likes this one though, so that’s something. I like Luke’s style and the choreography of the live performance, but that’s about all.
There is some hope in that at least somebody recognizes what’s going on, making the listener feel less alone?
I wish that was reflected in the music, but it really isn’t. Sorry.
Oh, well. At least expressing this hopelessness through art will help Luka secrete it from his system. Maybe the listener too.
The hope comes through more in the staging, with Luke unplugging the others from their Matrix-like state.
Yes, I see that. 🙂
My #7, with a 9.5/10 rating. This entry is simply amazing, it shows a sophisticated and avant-garde, artistic nature, I absolutely love Luke’s whispering, melodic voice, the lyrics are incredibly deep, exposing the fact that we’d rather choose to sleep so to escape from the harshness of our world’s reality, a world that is on fire and everyday’s major problems (personal, socially humanitatian, economical or environmental etc.), especially criticising the younger generations for their lack of motive or even apathy, and the portrayal of the message through the videogame-like music (much experimentation with alternative, dark pop, EDM, some rock and… Read more »
It *feels* like the entry of a country that’s on the track to winning the contest within the next couple of years.
Of course Cinan gave it a 10 . Get a grip and stop asking for money .
This guy cannot sing live
Why shouldnt he give it 10/10? – its the same as me…. People actually do LOVE this entry! I love love love “Samo mi se spava”! 10/10 from Norway!
I can’t really wrap my head around this entry. It’s obvious Serbia enjoys its success from last year’s entry which is why they opted for another entry that is very bizarre and out-of-the-box. While I like that the entry does something unique, it’s a little too estranging to me, to a point I don’t really find myself wanting to listen to this on my own time. I don’t dislike it when it comes up, but it’s not really my kinda thing. I appreciate it’s there though, and I get that the fandom loves it.
It’s a 6/10 for me.
I’m sorry Tom, but no, this song is amazing. If Serbia’s national final is any indication of pre-staging, this will be an amazing performance. His vocals are always on point as well (which can’t be said for all performers this year). My 5th place 9.5
But he can’t sing live . What are you on about
This is the modern, aesthetically challenging, socially aware Eurovision content I crave. I’m absolutely tickled that Serbia saw Konstrakta’s success and said “let’s do that again!” It’s tapping into something really primal and animal in the human condition– the “freeze” variant of the fight or flight response in response to threat. And the threat here is nothing less than all the insoluble problems of the contemporary world. I find this song so relatable despite its strangeness that it’s almost frightening, and I sense I’m not the only one. My 6th place, 9/10.
The Serbian maestro, channeling his inner Robert Smith, continuing right from where Konstrakta left off last year for one of the greatest back-to-back combos from any country ever in ESC history. One of the only 2 maximum 5/5 ratings I’m offering this year, because those are not meant to just be given out like candy, it has to be a significant entry and Samo Mi Se Spava absolutely fits that bill and more. I think the greatest compliment would have to be that, unlike most songs we get in the contest, everything here feels thoroughly thought-out and creatively put together,… Read more »
While this is being compared to Konstratka’s experimental entry from last year, Luke Black’s entry fails to have the participative quality that made Konstratka’s entry so enjoyable where people voted for it. Luke Black’s entry is one that makes me want to watch but I don’t connect with it as much maybe because there’s more musical interludes and fewer lyrics, and once he sings the words come out mumbled breathy & sleepy. I think it’s going to have a hard time qualifying. And dare I say it again, not qualifying like experimental fan favorite Portugal 2019 with Telemoveis.
My second place. Hypnotic, weirdly odd, amazing. I oddly feel like there isn’t that much singing in this song. Still slaps. Stands out. I should totally write songs like this.
I am from Serbia and I am happy with our choice this year, especially because Luke actually represents a lot of similar emerging music artists from our country, but I think that quality of the song is not enough to do well in Eurovision. His national final performance was creative but messy and if RTS and Luke want to keep Serbia in the top 10 (the song has that potential), his performance in the Semi must be top notch and elevated to another level compared to his national final feat. The only artists that showcased Eurovision-ready performances this year are… Read more »
Agreed with Ari. (And a tiny side note, Blanca keeps experimenting with the stagings, as we witnessed in all the pre-parties, while Loreen cannot use that heavy ceiling in NF. So to speak, I bet even for them, it will be different on ESC.) The problem for ‘Samo mi se spava’ is that the studio version is well produced and built on multiple layers, which, however, is simply impossible to perform live. It thus heavily relies on the visual in order to achieve the overall feelings, probably much more than any other entries. Any flaw can do more drawbacks. I… Read more »
I love the synth hook but the vocals aren’t so memorable. The draw is unkind, position three with Loreen and Kaairija in the second half. It will do well to qualify but I hope it does.
This criticism could have been more constructive and elaborated. Giving it 1/10 is fine, but the comment could have been nicer.
Yes, you are.
Marcin, so much hate towards Serbia all the time. So sad
This is crazy in all the right ways and I’m here for it. I remember when I first watched this I was left staring at my screen with my jaw dropped and dancing to the beat, and then I listened to the song 15 times in a row to digest it. The melody and the atmosphere is mesmerising and it’s channeling extremely well the message of the song being in a dreamy state of denying to deal with the pain out there in a “world on fire” while you end up being controlled by the same nightmare you’re trying to… Read more »
I am not Wiwi Tom, but seems the score and taste goes with the name. Really tried to get it and understand why many people call it “mesmerizing”, but it just not working for me. Good luck Serbia, I do not doubt it will qualify with all the support it has.
The more I listened to it when it won PZE23 the more I thought:
“Potential dark horse for winning potential?”
Serbia, you have went out of your way to go to Eurovision with a video game/isekai anime packaged on the stage in the most haunting and dark way.
Round of applause and standing ovation to Serbia and Luke Black and his team!
Initially, my reaction to Samo mi se spava was more in line with Tom’s. I can appreciate that Serbia are going for something different, something unique and I do find the concept interesting, the whispery and growl like vocals didnt quite work for me (almost like an Asmr quality and I’m not a fan of that at all). The staging is quite interesting. At first, I didnt quite get it, what does sleeping (or the lack thereof) have to do with video games? Is it like a simulation? The styling, I won’t go into too much because it was a… Read more »
6) Serbia – Well this is definitely the same thing as last year for me: Was very confused at first but then after a few listens, everything clicked and now I absolutely love it. Luke has one of the most interesting (in a good way!) voices this year, and his dirty Joker-ish laugh near the end? I died and went to heaven. My top 5 are ones I adore, and Serbia’s entry this year definitely comes close to it. I’d love to see it do as well as Konstrakta, maybe even more. THANK YOU Serbia, for once again doing something… Read more »
This is my dark hore.
I needed few listens to get used to the song, but it’s great.
Dark hole, as well? 😛
This one I dont like.
I think this one is the biggest grower for me, almost entirely due to watching interviews with Luke. But I did think from the beginning that it’s a good, bold entry for Serbia, just like last year, and I hope they get rewarded for it.
SERBIA – After opening up the doors to full musical creativity last year, the sky was the limit for Serbia. I was excited to see where they’ll go next, and thankfully, they managed to fulfill those high expectations. Luke Black is a charismatic young creative who drew me on another art project with a deeper meaning. The apathy of modern people towards everything that’s going on around them. It’s told in a way that neither judges or praises them for it, but rather states the fact, offering resignation or rebellion as a possible response. The sound is very punchy, industrial… Read more »
Please pass me on that lobster phone because I want to give some votes too! 😉
Throw some votes at it from me, too. 😉
it wasn’t my no.1 fave in the national selection
Chegi’s Svadba Ili Kavga and Filip’s Cujemo se Sutra were my top 2 <3
I think this could be the dark horse of Eurovision 2023,eventhough i hate that it’s a prorussian country..
Even though our government today does indeed sit in like six chairs trying to avoid conflict with anyone (EU, China, Russia, Arab countries etc.) and Serbia does have certain special relationship to our Slavic roots (we have pre-Yugoslav era good relations with Russia, but as well with Britain, USA etc.) Serbian people when it comes to mentality and cultural behaviour are not even close to being tied with Russia, or any other country in particular, except ex-Yugoslav and other Balkan countries. If you ever decide to visit Serbia, you will see that on your own. Also, that shouldn’t have to… Read more »
3. Luke Black – Samo mi se Spava (Serbia) – 9/10 – deliciously offbeat, Luke delivers a slick vocal over a deep bass, sharp drums and inventive electronica. On top of this we have an engaging visual and theme which wonderfully captures the imagination of sleep. This is such a dreamy ride.
We’re back on track, Kosey. After treating Piqued Jacks with more leniency than everyone else, we now also agree on Luke. Curious to see how I will like your favourite.
Nice to get the occasional agreement! Same rating, same ranking. Next!
3rd place: SERBIA: I couldn’t be happier that Serbia chose to go alternative and theatrical once again. The theatrical performance is impeccable (I hope it stays the same or similar for Liverpool or at least be of the same high level). The song discusses how people can be pushed towards apathy in the troubled in many ways today’s world and does so in a purely artistic way. The song also has musical merit: the instrumental during the chorus is mystical, dark and similar to a lullaby (an idea that goes well with the message of the song). In some ways… Read more »
Once again, we agree. Serbia has a phenomenal song. I’ll make sure you get to vote in the finals, because I’ll go hard on the telephone in the semi. 🙂
Do the best you can! Really liked your review as well. A fundamental part of the content of the song is exactly what you mentioned: It doesn’t take sides: it just states the fact that people can be driven to apathy and just want to sleep while the world is burning. I also want to highlight the musical quality of the song. While the main selling point is of course the artistic, theatrical staging, the song is also really deep musically and sometimes gets overlooked. For me Samo mi se spava is even better than In corpore sano (also loved… Read more »
I love both In Corpore Sano and Samo mi se spava, musically and lyrically. The difference is only in that I grew so much on Konstrakta’s entry during and after the Serbian NF, while I fell in love with Luke’s at first listening. Both are in my top 5 of each year, which makes them the only country to have that consecutive distinction (Estonia is close, but while Stefan is my 2nd, Alika is my 8th, so it’s *almost*). I am really impressed by both Serbian selections, generally speaking. Even the musical genres I don’t like are well-produced and mostly… Read more »
Yes I agree that both are great. Sweden has achieved the feat of being in my top 5 both in 2022 and this year for me. Italy has actually been in my top 5 from 2017 to 2021 consecutively but didn’t make it there in 2022 so the record was halted. Though they returned in my top 5 this year 🙂
I really like Sweden both in 2022 (my 9th), and 2023 (without big spoilers, it’s within my top 15). Thinking about it, Italy holds almost the same distinction for me too in those same years. 2019 and 2023 narrowly miss out top 5, but both are 6th, so it’s basically the same level. 2022 is lower to me too, but still well within top 20. 🙂
Italy have been in my top ten every year since 2014, now. What a sustained period of excellence!
Surprisingly, if you combined this year and last year, the country that has the best average ranking for me is….Slovenia. o.O
Clearly not on Konstrakta levels and it shows, even if it did caught my attention instantly, unlike “In Corpore Sano”. I’m always rooting for the experimental and different to do well, it’s much more exciting to take risks, too bad very few countries every year dare to do that. Luke is a great performer, he gives just the right amount of weirdnes without it being creepy or uncomfortable. In fact, it’s mesmerizing. I can’t wait to see what their staging plans are for ESC. The song is on a very thin line. Only if everything is done correctly, will it… Read more »
My favorite Serbian entry
Piano, voice and a lot of intriguing synthwork are enough. The piano is giving us the ominous melody, the voice proves itself to be extremely versatile, from talking to whispering to throat singing, Luke Black shows that he knows how to handle his vocal apparatus to the biggest possible effect. Although a lot is going on, the backing track never gets overcrowded, each sound is clearly discernible, and the synth bass is providing the dramatic base for it all. An outstanding track, a cool club sound and a great performer continue down the path Serbia started on last year. Breaking… Read more »
I am so happy that Serbia is your winner. It’s such a special entry. It’s in my top 5 this year. Love it!
Amazing winner to have Tibor! To be honest I am afraid that Luke might be borderline. It may not be as divisive as Conan Osiris, but still it’s a sort of entry that might go both ways for first-time listeners. Its early running position is also worrying although it worked for Konstrakta. If it qualifies I am also curious what the juries will think of it. Unfortunately I can’t vote in the first semi final, but it’s comforting knowing that there will be many of us voting there. In the final if everything goes well, I will also be voting… Read more »
I mean, you’d think that entries like this would be more jury friendly, but Conan was actually tanked by the juries and treated much friendlier by the televote. On the other hand, the juries saved Eugent Bushpepa in 2018 by putting him 3rd, while the public only placed him 11th, so I’m never sure, if televote or juries are the ones I should be warier of … 😉
I’m glad that you two like my choice for winner, it was high time for something from my top 5.
Of course, “Mall” wasn’t a very avantgarde entry, but I will forever be grateful to those who helped him out of this hellish first semi.
I think the general jury voting pattern is first of all rewarding radio-friendly songs and then look for big voices and great vocal performances in general. That would explain them saving Eugent in 2018 (who also happened to be in my top 5 of 2018 so I am also grateful he qualified and finished higher than expected). On the other hand, they have the tendency to bury everything experimental and alternative (though they did help Georgia qualify in 2016 which was also in my top 5 of its year). We will have to wait and see what they will think… Read more »
That’s funny how we have gone polar opposite on this song. I really can’t stand “Samo mi se spava”; the music is bleak, the distopian near future is unhopeful, and it has been done at Eurovision before in a more memorable way. Wow, it’s out of character for me to be so negative; I need a different coloured mask!
Oh, pish-posh, your mask is fine. But when has this been done in a more memorable way?
Iceland 2019, perhaps?
Interesting, I don’t even think they are that similar. 🙂
There’s so much to like about this and so much that you can talk about. The idea of it being both futuristic and having that club sound, instantly brought to mind images from science-fiction such as from one of the clubs in the game, Mass Effect, or something like that. This song definitely feels bigger than just being a Eurovision entry and having so much more potential usage than almost anything else this year. Like I said in my review (that was late), this was extremely close to being my winner as well, and only, a couple of songs that… Read more »
Yeah, my top songs are almost always incredibly close to each other, your winner is definitely also in the mix for me, as I already pointed out. 🙂
Right now, Serbia is fighting head to head with Armenia to be my 5th place and close the gap to the 4th (still to be reviewed), but it’s for sure a wonderful winner to have. Serbia decided to fight Portugal for the spot of most alternative kid in the playground and I’m loving it. 🙂
Your winner is also still to come, isn’t it? I guess I already know what it is. 🙂
What if I say I still don’t know who my winner is? 3 countries will get my top grade. But I don’t know to decide between them, the same way I never firmly decided between “De Diepte” and “In Corpore Sano” last year.
Oh, it will be even more interesting for me to see, who is up there for you – next to the one entry I was expecting to be your winner. 🙂
song is decent but combined with that performance, total knockout, very mega super bowl quality vibe of staging, superb music video feel performance <3
the voguing after ”hello, game over” i personally am in love with that choreo move
very quirky but also very different quirk as last years Konstrakta (whom is one of his friends too)
My personal number 3 this year, I can’t get enough of him. He’s mesmerizing on stage and for sure will do well in May.
This one is all about the performance. The song on its own isn’t much, but I love the video game style staging. It’s unique so will qualify
Sorry, but it’s insane to me that the song could be dismissed as not much on its own.
Ok, this is a joke right? But don’t worry, juries will bury this…weird act
Weird being an insult is something I never understood. Yes be normal basic and bland all the time yes that’s ideal.
They will not, but rest assured that they’ll get the opportunity to, because Serbia is qualifying. 🙂
I love this and I’m excited to see the staging – which I think will elevate it even more
A real masterpiece for me, very avantgarde and experimental. Maybe too ahead of it’s time. We shall see, but fingers crossed for a great live performance and top 5 finish in the final.