Slovakia’s Eurovision Journey
Similarly to countries like Romania and Hungary, Slovakia entered the Eurovision Song Contest when the 1990s happened. The country initially wanted to participate in 1993, but they were unable to get through the qualifying round that was required back in the day. This was the result of the interest of many Eastern European countries who had shown interest in joining the contest, meaning a selection had to be made of how many could join at once. However, they were able to join the contest in 1994, placing 19th out of 25.
Unfortunately, this first result prophesied the remainder of Slovakia’s Eurovision journey. Poor results led broadcaster STV to pull out of the contest in 1998, but they returned in 2009, armed with a national final. Their bad luck streak continued from 2009 until 2012, their last participating year. Yet, Eurovision fans are sure to recall some entries that they consider to robbed of a spot in the Grand Final. Slovakia was not afraid to experiment with different genres, rock fans may recall Don’t Close Your Eyes. Their 2010 entry Horehronie has become a Eurovision classic. Its high odds and love from fans before the contest have resulted in this entry being the textbook definition of ‘robbed’. We have not seen Slovakia at the contest since 2012, but surely most fans are eagerly awaiting their comeback. If you’re reading this, RTVS, we will not let you down this time!
Nothing can touch them?
Slovakia provided their first entry in English with Twiins, who sang I’m Still Alive in 2011. While initially Slovakia declined participation in 2010, Twiins got the opportunity to sing for their country through new broadcaster RTVS. The twin sisters Daniela and Veronica Nizlova were already experienced at the contest, as they were backing singers for Czech Republic 2008. They failed to qualify from the 2nd semi final, ending in 13th place due to a lack of televote support.
Personally, I think Twiins deserved a better place than what they received at the contest. I am not sure if this is related to nostalgia but this is one of the entries I can specifically recall seeing in 2011, and having it stuck in my head for weeks. It can also be due to the general low quality of 2011, despite semi final 2 being the stronger semi final with entries like Popular and Lipstick. However, the song itself is quite catchy and the staging was memorable. Of course, the vocals were not flawless, but I guess younger me was too distracted by the wind machine to notice. All in all, I am unable to pinpoint what exactly makes this entry an enjoyable one for me, but I do enjoy it.
I’ve seen what it can be
Despite their non-qualifications, Twiins were only 6 points away from getting that sweet 10th place in the semi final. It makes me wonder what small changes could have possibly created these points for Slovakia. The juries points were already in their favor, it was the televote that needed convincing. In my opinion, they could have improved by keeping up their streak of songs in their own language. While this was not a successful track record, I do believe that the cliché lyrics of ‘I’m Still Alive’ could have been hidden from the public through the beautiful Slovak language.
What does the team think?
I think that “I’m Still Alive” is excellent. Sure the main driving beat of this song is really cheap sounding. Sure they try to rhyme fire and alive. Sure the live performance isn’t anything to write home about. But there’s still some thing about it that is super catchy and super inspiring. Not to mention that the last time I watched the music video I cried because I miss sports that much, even hockey. It’s my favorite Slovak entry, and nothing else really comes close.
Sometimes, less is more… That’s something I’d like to say to TWiiNS as well. I mean… This is a perfectly decent song, but everything about this shouts ‘plastic’ to me. It doesn’t really feel genuine, sincere or honest at all. The girls can sing, but the fact that there’s two of them doesn’t really help them much, hence ‘Less is more’. Tone it down and spice it up. Make it less plastic and more sincere, make us feel something, because this sort of made me feel dead inside. Then again… Slovakia were really trying everything in their returning years… From the folkish in 2010, the heartfelt 2009 ballad to the loud rock in 2012… This sort of falls flat in the middle… However, please come back?
“I’m still alive” reminds of the years 2000, when most of the songs sounded like the same person created it. It is an absolutely normal song, neither bad nor good, and in my opinion this is one of the worst things you can have on Eurovision. You must stand out from the others in this contest and the only thing in this performance that stands out and regular watchers can remember is two beautiful sisters. This is not enough since the rest of the package is repetitive, unoriginal and flat as a pancake. Sorry for being harsh, Slovakia, but #JusticeForHorehronie!
It’s a by-the-numbers ballad of the time, a little lost for identity, but otherwise pleasant. The staging is bold and bright yet musically we are mostly left unguided through the three minutes; the opening lines showing us everything the TWiiNS’ song has to offer. A song of this style needs secure and smooth vocals to delivery some emotional lyrics; but “I’m still alive” has to make do without.
What is your opinion on ‘I’m Still Alive’? Which team member do you agree with? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates!