Eurovision · Music

Eurovision 2017 In-Depth: Into Deep Space (Serbia & Montenegro)

We are stepping up the pace, I’m sacrificing chances to write about anime and history for this but it’s not a cour that’s grabbed my attention much and history can be fine with one a week and let’s get this all done before the semis start. This time, Serbia and Montenegro, two countries that naturally go together but have both sent very different entries.

Serbia – Tijana Bogićević – In Too Deep 

I think Serbia are in many respects a mini-Russia in Eurovision. Certainly more agreeable in attitude to the contest, and more willing to take risks, but at the centre of a large bloc of countries, the most consistent in results of that bloc, and occasionally eclipsed by their more flamboyant neighbours in the name of trying to get a good result. If the shoe fits…. or should I say Cipela? To be fair, Serbia have had a couple of great entries, courtesy of one Zeljko Joksimović who represented them on their debut when they were still partnered with Montenegro, and again in 2012 when Serbia was just Serbia, netting them a medal position each time. Both Lane Moje and Nije Ljubav Stvar are beautiful. As is Oro, I love a good Balkan ballad and Serbia are probably the best of the whole lot at providing them. But in recent years they’ve eschewed that in favour of something that’s a bit less standout, pop songs. Moje 3 was rather anonymous, and while I ended up loving Goodbye, it was never quite as momentous as I wanted it to be to truly put it in the BBB (Big Balkan Ballad) category. Bojena shocked a lot of my friends (in a good way) but I found it a bit of a racket until the dance part came in.

And so I currently have a bit of an impression of Serbia of being this midtable, inessential country, despite the fact that they clearly have so many good entries like that in their history, and I didn’t even mention their winner Molitva, the winner that probably brought back Eurovision from the brink of ceaseless novelty (novelty is normally good but there was just a bit too much). Anyway, tangent aside, while In Too Deep is a good pop song, there’s not much to distinguish it from radio pop, Katy Perry, all that sort of stuff. And to an extent I come to Eurovision to escape that stuff. It’s only because In Too Deep is a fairly good example of this type of music that I’ve allowed it in my affections this long.

It’ll probably do fairly well, Serbia seem to be coasting a bit, not too concerned with huge results like they were in earlier years. It does take a truly inept song for them to not qualify, they’re not quite as invincible as Russia, but I think Tijana should be fine. If she were from Macedonia, not a chance, but under the Serbian flag, I think she can be relied upon to get them a reasonably safe qualifier. Opening the semi might not help though, it’s reasonably safe but there is that tiny sliver of doubt that something a bit less than essential could end up working against them. Probably nothing to worry about though, you all carry on with your day.

Montenegro – Slavko Kalezić – Space

Like with Bulgaria up until this year (and as such Montenegro turning on me would cut to my heart), Montenegro’s attitude to the contest has been beautifully insane, send whatever the hell one pleases like and to heck with the results. Not even qualifying until 2014, and only qualifying with their slightly subdued (but atmospherically beautiful, both Mojot Svet and Adio) takes on the BBBs, I still like every single one of their entries. That’s not a record most countries have with me. And yes, that even includes Soviet broadcast tape Euro Neuro, I find that one slightly infectious. Igranka was a criminal miss and I also really enjoyed ‘real music’ band Highway last year.

So they have a record to keep up. Thankfully, Space did not disappoint, and has delivered in the absolute best way. Featuring a slightly slimmer Jason Momoa lookalike, with a wonderful lock of hair and a build that screams fabulosity, Space is the obvious ‘gay power’ track this year. And everything about gay power pop as a genre (see: Scissor Sisters) is rather incredible. The campness, the outrageousness of the music, it is infectious to the max and this will absolutely be a moment in the semi, I can’t wait for it, it’s been one of the tracks that has been set near the top of my rankings for ages and I hope that everyone, even those awful homophobes, can get on board with this. It’s just so much FUN.

Sadly, in a semi as tough as semi 1 this is, and with many of their potential friends in this semi likely to have other, more important duties, as well as the unpredictability of the juries, who may mark him down for vocal imperfections, and Space may just go the same way as the last Montenegrin entry to incorporate space into their package (the astronauts for Igranka). They’re sadly not a country you can count on to qualify and though 2014 and 2015 may have reversed some of that, it’ll be an uphill battle for poor Slavko. Though, his camp persona may net him votes from over the field and surrounded by the downtempo and slow Belgium and Finland, he may have an outside shot. Don’t count him out but don’t be expecting to see that beautiful red and gold eagle flag announced through either.

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