Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
Eurovision 2024 _The BalkansPhoto: EBU

For my next blog, I decided to do the Balkan entries. This year, there are only four entries. Those Balkan nations that aren’t present, I hope they come back soon. One thing about the Balkan entries is that many of them are among some of the most memorable Eurovision entries. Each of the countries I review here have some songs that have stood out. Let’s see what this year’s crop of Balkan entries have for us:

ALBANIA

Performer: Besa
Song: “Titan”

Possibly the two words you can describe Albania’s entries in the past five years are ‘female’ and ‘dramatic.’ Besa delivers the drama again here. This song has a positive message of a woman who will stay strong after a hurtful relationship. It’s dramatic but it also feels like three songs in one. The first part is solemn with no drumming, the second with drums making it feel intense and the last chorus feeling like a dance song. The message doesn’t get lost in the changes. 

ESC Chances: You may remember a month before Eurovision 2023, “Duje” was last in betting odds, but it eventually qualified for the Grand Final. Lesson learned that year is don’t underestimate Albania’s entries. Mind you, singing in Albanian helps. “Titan” is not last right now but it is not ranked in a qualifier position. If Besa performs well and she has excellent staging, I can see this being another qualifier. If she does, “Titan” will be the first English-language song from Albania since 2015’s “I’m Alive” to qualify.

CROATIA

Performer: Baby Lasagna

Song: “Rim Tim Tagi Dim”

For a long time, Croatia has had a struggle to get into the Grand Final. Things changed last year with the love-it-or-hate-it Let 3 and “Mama SC.” The juries marked it low but the televoters loved it. This year, Dora brings us Baby Lasagna. I have to say this song really stands out. It has a power metal feel with a catchy song about a farm boy chasing the urban life. It’s very easy to soak up the energy of this song. You can rock to it, you can dance to it, easy to get hooked on. Also it’s always nice to see a nation get their first-ever Eurovision win.

ESC Chances: Eurovision hasn’t been too kind to Croatia as its own nation. Sure, they made the Croatian band Riva a winner in 1989 with “Rock Me,” but for Yugoslavia. On its own, the best Croatia has done is two fourth-place finishes in the 90’s and its last Top 10 finish was in 2001. This song has a lot of buzz going for it right now! Already many betting sites have it as the song most likely to win. The question is can the buzz go the distance with these weeks to come? Will another song overtake it with tricks up their sleeve? Or will Baby Lasagna go the distance? Only time will tell.

SERBIA

Performer: Teya Dora

Song: “Ramonda”

Serbia’s entry this year is Teya Dora who’s had an active singing career since 2017. Her career took off last year with the song “Džanum.” The song gained notice in many Tik Tok videos of protest after the two gun massacres in Serbia that occurred this past May and left a total of nineteen people dead. The popularity of that song helped her win her national final with the song “Ramonda.” This song starts soft with the drama and intensity growing, leading to a soft ending. The lyrics themselves have a strong message of hope in this world, even with feelings of hopelessness. The hope is symbolized in the sprouting of the Lilac Ramonda, Serbia’s national flower, at the end. I found this song moving..

ESC Chances: Ballads arehit or miss at Eurovision. Songs with a message can also go far if the message is delivered well enough. This song comes at the right time. These past twelve months have seen the war in Ukraine continue and terror flare up in the Holy Land and Serbia’s gun massacres that I just mentioned. Most of the victims of the two massacres were under 18. I know the Balkan nations will really embrace the message. The song can do well if the staging delivers the message properly. I see it qualifying easily with a possible Top 10 finish.

SLOVENIA

Performer: Raiven

Song: “Veronika”

One thing about this year’s Eurovision entries is that many songs are in the nation’s predominant language and many also include aspects of the nation’s culture. Slovenia’s song “Veronika” is unique that it includes a person of Slovenia’s history and folklore. The person is Veronika of Desenice who was accused and ‘executed’ for witchcraft in the 15th Century. The song is described as ‘dark alternative pop’ and Veronika is portrayed as someone powerful. An aspect Raiven compares herself to as she deals with her lover. The song definitely has a mystic feel that’s quite intense.

ESC Chances: One thing about this decade is that songs in a nation’s language is getting growing appeal. The Balkan nations are the ones who most commonly have songs in their own language. I can see people embracing the dramatic feel of this song. I can see it qualifying and doing very well as long as it has the right staging. I’m sure there will be a lot of people who will want to see the settings from the video staged again at Eurovision.

And there you have it. That’s my review of this year’s entries from the Balkan nations. All four are different and catchy in their own way. It would be interesting to see how the Eurovision crowds rank them.

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