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XTRA Throwback Thursday: Sweetly Slovenian

It’s Thursday, so we all know it’s time for another special XTRA Throwback Thursday! In the upcoming weeks and months, we’ll take you on a journey through Europe and beyond, a journey through the history of the contest. This week, we’re focusing on the Balkan nation of Slovenia, in honor of their Reformation Day that will be celebrated on October 31st!

This week’s theme: Sweetly Slovenian

The Balkan nation made its debut in the Eurovision Song Contest independent from Yugoslavia in the year 1993.  1X Band sang ‘Tih Dezeven Dan‘, placing 22nd ahead of two countries with just 9 points. Being absent in 1994, Slovenia returned in 1995 to achieve their best result so far. This was achieved by Darja Svajger and her song ‘Prisluhni Mi’  which reached 7th place. The same result was achieved in 2001 when Nuša Derenda performed ‘Energy‘. Before 2004, the country achieved a huge range of placings in the final, from 7th to 23rd place.

However, since the Semi-Final system was introduced, Slovenia has not had immense success. The nation has only qualified for the final 4 times since 2004, such as in 2007, 2011, 2014 and most recently 2015. The nation has used the national selection process EMA since its first participation. This process has produced a number of entries to different levels of success, written in both English and Slovene.

Maja Keuc – No One

There are a number of Slovenian entries that have interested me over the years. These entries include ManuElla’s ‘Blue And Red’ and Maraaya’s ‘Here For You‘. However, we are celebrating the great nation of Slovenia. So this time I have chosen to discuss Maja Keuc’s ‘No One‘ performed in 2011, Slovenia’s most successful entry since the introduction of the semi-finals.

This song was definitely worthy of the high placing it achieved. Singing about how she was the only one for her lover, it was delivered with style, passion, and memorable choreography. Her vocal style is powerful and refined. The carefully thought out but not over-the-top performance was definitely a highlight of the year.

What others had to say…

Matt

I can’t say that this is on my Eurovision playlist, or that I find the song memorable. It’s a classic case of the singer being better than the song. And let’s make no mistake, Maja can sing! The song is powerful but perhaps missing a melodic hook. The scrolling wallpaper as a backdrop to Maja’s strong performance, whilst bright and colourful, does little to enhance the overall effect. That said, it was one of the better songs in 2011. If I was the Slovenian delegation, I would have been disappointed with 13th place after coming 3rd in the semi-final.

Wiv

Oh, I’m soooo happy you picked Maja Keuc and “No One”! This is my favorite Slovenian entry (closely followed by Omar Naber’s “Stop”). It is also one of the few songs to make it onto just about every playlist I ever make! Maja’s voice is just so strong and powerful, but at the same time smooth and soothing. A very unusual combination, and one I really appreciate. “No One” is one of those songs that work in any setting for me. Whether I’m curled up on the sofa with a good book and a glass of wine or heading towards the finishing line on a half marathon, it just fits. It is one of my favorites in what I consider to be a very good year. I really think it deseverd much better than 13th place.

Nathan

This is one of my all-time favourite entries. Possibly Slovenia’s second best after the queen Alenka Gotar with “Cvet z juga”, Maja Keuc really performs so ably with her extra special power and range. It is so easy to agree with my colleagues that this deserved much more than 13th in the final, especially after its third place in the semifinal, but running order certainly had a large part to play. It doesn’t often work in a performer’s favour to be directly after the winning entry. However, Maja deserved more and I hope to see her return one day. It’s always nice to see her pop up during Melodifestivalen to give the Slovene jury vote… maybe we will see more of her at Eurovision in the future.

Next week

On our next Throwback Thursday we’ll be moving on to the grand nation of Turkey! Wiv will be guiding us through the Turkic Eurovision powerhouse! Haydi Giledim!

But for now, let’s remember Slovenia’s ‘ No One’. What is your favorite Slovenian entry? Let us know below!

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