Serbia won with Molitva in 2007, their first appearance. After failing to qualify for the finals in 2013 and sitting out in 2014, can they come back strong?
Song Title: “Beauty Never Lies”
Artist: Bojana Stamenov
Semi-Final: First, Position #9
Last year’s entry: None
After winning the contest in 2007 with “Molitva,” the last song to win in a language other than English, Serbia has stayed true to their roots. Every one of their entries has been sung in Serbian, and I agree with Mike, that warrants a few extra points. The past few years have been a mixed bag, though — after failing to qualify for the finals in 2013, Serbia sat out 2014. Will Bojana Stamenov bring back the Serbian passion that led to their early success?
Well, let’s start with the really obvious change: the song is now in English1 and tells a completely different story than the original entry. It’s worth noting that the new lyrics were written by American songwriter Charlie Mason, who also wrote last year’s winning entry, “Rise Like a Phoenix.” As much as I can appreciate the uplifting content, and I understand why the switch to English is tempting, I’m disappointed that yet another country will be singing in English. That leaves us with all but six entries using English (a seventh, from Romania, will be sung in both Romanian and English).
Because the staging of this song was tied to the original lyrical content and wouldn’t fit with the changes, the official video takes a crowd-sourced (read: cheaper & faster to produce) approach. Music videos that incorporate fan-created content are generally great at one thing and one thing only: demonstrating how hard it is to perform on camera in a way that seems effortless. In this case, though, Stamenov and her team get extra points for staying somewhat true to the lyrics: “Finally I can say, yes I’m different and that’s okay.” It doesn’t matter that these folks aren’t trained performers, it just matters that they have connected with something in the music and wanted to share that with others.
Even with these two rather large changes, the best parts of this entry — Stamenov’s awesome voice and charisma, the well-structured song, an energetic and interesting backing track — remain steadfast. I’m a little concerned that Serbia probably has to come up with a whole new staging concept, but they’ve had great designs in the past and I don’t expect that to cause too much trouble. As a result, I have no doubt Serbia will return to and make a strong showing in the Grand Final.
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