It is Thursday, and not just any Thursday because it is XTRA Throwback Thursday. Over the coming weeks and months, we will take you on a journey through Europe and beyond, a journey through the history of the contest. This week I will be looking at the country that can be considered to be Balkan royalty, being the only Balkan country to have won the contest. Of course, I will be looking at the Balkan nation that is Serbia. The focus will be on the theme ‘That’s so Serbian’.
This week’s theme: That’s so Serbian
Serbia has proven to be a dark horse when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest, having won in their debut year (2007). The song ‘Molitva’ by Marija Serifovic was a beautiful and emotional song, with a ‘girl power’ stage presence that was breathtaking. However, that is not the song that I will be looking at today. The one song that for me represents Serbia and evokes so much passion is their 2008 entry by the beautiful Jelena Tomasevic.
‘Oro’ which was composed by two time Serbian representative Zeljko Joksimovic is what you expect in a Balkan ballad and 100 times more. The vocals are faultless and the way that Jelena sings could make anyone cry (regardless, if you speak Serbian or not). Achieving 6th place with a total of 60 points, is still underrated in my book but 2008 was a very competitive year, with so many brilliant songs. Jelena’s performance which she performed on home soil, in Belgrade created a beautiful atmosphere that viewers at home could hear and feel from hearing the cheers and chants for Jelena. Therefore, it is only fair that everyone has the opportunity to relive the magical moment again as part of this week’s XTRA Throwback Thursday.
On another point, in recent year’s Serbia have not been afraid to experiment with their entries. They have sent songs in English and gone for more mainstream pop songs. Some results have paid off (Bojana in 2015 who came 10th) and some have not (Tijana 2017 failing to qualify). Maybe now, is the perfect time for Serbia to go back what has proven to work for them and send ‘Balkan ballads’ to Eurovision again. Or even better, just internally select Jelena Tomasevic again!
What the others had to say….
Of all of the songs that Željko Joksimović has wrote, this one has to be my favourite. It’s beautifully understated, unlike his other songs which he seems to like to go really over-the-top with. The melody is haunting and I can feel the emotion of the song, despite not speaking any Serbian whatsoever. I can only really fault it on the stage outfit, it’s like she looked in her wardrobe and thought “Which is the most boring nightie that I can wear?” But, the song is just fantastic. More of this please, Serbia!
Of all of the songs that Željko Joksimović has written, this one has to be my least favourite. (Almost quoting Luke…hihihi!) I do wish though, that Serbia would go back to sending Balkan ballads. I also wish they would bring Željko back to write another masterpiece. However, I see no reason to bring anyone else back. Željko should just do the entire thing himself, like he did in 2012 in Baku. To me, “Nije ljubav tsvar” is his best entry by far, and I still haven’t quite recovered from its result back then. He is one of the singers who have ended up in my Eurovision cd collection, and I would love (duh!) seeing him back on the Eurovision stage. More of Željko please, Serbia!
Next week, Simon will be looking at this year’s host country Ukraine. The theme will be ‘Uniquely Ukrainian’ where you can and be sure to reminisce about the crazy, innovative and unique entries that the Eastern European country has to offer.
What are your thoughts on Balkan ballads? Are you a fan of Jelena Tomasevic’s Oro? Should Serbia return to sending Balkan ballads? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!