Eurovision 2018 previews countdown: #25 SERBIA – Sanja Ilić & Balkanika – “Nova deca”

There has been a long gap between our first Balkan country in the countdown and this second on the list. Appropriately, those two countries were once one unit and had a couple of years in the contest as Serbia and Montenegro. After a few years of singing in English, Serbia have returned with a Serbian-language song. Can they make a swift return to the grand final, after narrowly missing out last year? 

I quite like this one – I always like a bit of ethno folk dance in the contest, and this certainly represents the Balkan region in a more upbeat way than Montenegro is this year. Sanja Ilić is the founder of the band whose aim is to “preserve, revitalize and modernize Serbian medieval and Byzantine music traditions”. In the main picture here, Sanja is second from the right and in the music video, he’s on the keyboard at the back. The main male singer (with a notable beard!) stands out for me in this performance.

Serbia have landed in the weaker semi-final, but have been given a bit of a poor place in the running order, going on third. Montenegro and Slovenia will definitely give them some guaranteed votes, but I do wonder if this song has a wide enough appeal to qualify them. It takes a little while to get going, and the strongest part of the performance (in my view) is the male singer and he doesn’t start until quite a way into the song. It’s one of a cluster of songs in that semi that are within a chance of qualifying but also could easily not qualify. Only a month or so till we find out!

Official music video (live performance in Serbian national final):

Serbia at the Eurovision Song Contest:

Flag of SerbiaFirst entered: 2007

Appearances (excluding this year): 10

Best result: Winner 2007

Last year’s result: 11th in semi-final (did not qualify)

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