Elena The Balkan Girls
"The Balkan Girls" is the title of a song by Romanian artist Elena Gheorghe and was the Romanian entry in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. The song was selected in the Romanian national final Selecţia Naţională 2009, which Gheorghe won. The song was performed at the first semi-final of the contest on 12 May 2009 and went through to the final on 16 May 2009, where it finished 19th with 40 points.
The song was written by Laurenitu Duta, along with Ovidiu Bistriceanu, Alexandru Pelin and Daris Mangal, in the fall of 2008, and it was Elena Gheorghe's entry at the 2009 Selectia Nationala. "The Balkan Girls" passed the pre-selection and the semi-final. On January 31, 2009, in a live show, it was decided that Gheorghe won the National Final and she will be the next Romanian contestant for Eurovision Song Contest. There are two different versions of this song; The first one was presented in the Romanian final, the second one premiered once with the physical release of the single, on March 10, 2010.
Most of the Romanian critics said that "The Balkan Girls" is an interesting song and Elena's voice is also good, but it doesn't fit with their preferences for the Eurovision Song Contest. Also, some show-mans from Antena 1 said that the lyrics aren't any good, and that the idea of "Balkan Girls as Party Girls" isn't that good for ESC. After Gheorghe's show in Moscow, many Romanian journalists criticized her. Also, the UK newspaper "The Sun" published on the internet that Gheorghe wasn't singing on the stage, but Lucia Dumitrescu, the backing vocals.
"The Balkan Girls" entered the Romanian Top 100 on March 22, 2009 at number 57. The second week it reached the top 40; The next weeks the song got closer and closer to the number one, becoming the first ESC entry to peak #1, on April 19, 2009. It has spent two weeks at number-one, leaving top 10 in June. The song left the chart in early August, 2009.
For "The Balkan Girls" there are existing two music videos. The first one, released in early January, 2009 as a promotional video for the National Selection. The video was shot in a studio of TVR 1. In this video, Gheorghe appears in a pink dress, dancing along with her back-up dancers.
The second music video was shot in March, in Călăraşi, Romania and in a night club from Bucharest. It premiered on March 15, 2009. In this video Gheorghe's style is drastically changed from the one from the first video, wearing more make-up. In the intro, Elena is appearing, ridding alongside two of her back-up dancers. For the chorus, she jumps from an old bridge into a river. In the next scene Gheorghe appears dancing in a club, with other people. As of the lyric "I'll find a boy for a kiss" a young man is introduced to us. The guy is ignored by all of the girls attending the party in that club. In the end, Gheorghe is wearing a Cheetah Coat and is lying on a sofa in that club. The video was on the shortlist for the "Best Video" award at Romanian Music Awards 2009 and is one of the most watched ESC videos of 2009, on YouTube.
Gheorghe started a promo tour for Eurovision, in order to promote the song. She cancelled three shows, in Moldova, Greece and Turkey, for unknown reasons. She was present in Berlin, Germany, Amsterdam, Netherlands and she sung "The Balkan Girls" on the Preview party in London. She has also sung the song live on several Romanian TV channels, including TVR 1, Prima TV, Pro TV and Antena 1. Kanal D, a Romanian-Turkish TV channel organised a special event entitled "Elena vs Hadise", in order to promote The Balkan Girls and Dum Tek Tek. Gheorghe also appeared on TVR i, an international TV channel for the Romanians in diaspora.
Gheorghe performed live "The Balkan Girls" on the Selectia Nationala semi-final and final, and the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 semi-final, and final. The live Eurovision performance featured elements of old Romanian folklore (the deadly iele, akin to nymphs, fairies and rusalkas) represented by the dancers. Elena sang the song on several Romanian TV shows, on the London Preview party, the Romanian Preview [email protected], to promote it. She sang "The Balkan Girls" at RMA, Zilele Bucurestiului 2009 and Orange PrePay Party. The most recent performance of "The Balkan Girls" was on January 16, 2010 at the "Confidential Awards", on Antena 2.