Melodifestivalen 2019: Anna Bergendahl, Nano, Lisa Ajax and Arvingarna win last spots for the final

Melodifestivalen 2019: Anna Bergendahl, Nano, Lisa Ajax and Arvingarna win last spots for the final

Anna Bergendahl

The line-up for next Saturday’s Melodifestivalen final is now complete. The last four acts qualified from tonight’s second chance heat, which featured triple Eurovision winner Johnny Logan and 2015 winner Måns Zelmerlöw as interval acts.

After four regular heats, eight acts had already qualified for this year’s Swedish final. Another eight acts had been given a second chance to make it. They fought in duels tonight for the last four spots in the final, which takes place next Saturday the 9th of March.


  • 1 Andreas Johnson vs Anna Bergendahl
  • 2 Vlad Reiser vs Nano
  • 3 Martin Stenmarck vs Lisa Ajax
  • 4 Rebecka Karlsson vs Arvingarna
  • 5 The show
  • 6 Final running order
  • 7 Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest

It takes time to prepare a whole new performance and therefore we only saw small changes that had been made from the first regular four heats. You can read more about those in our coverage of them:

First heat – Second heat – Third heat – Fourth heat 

Andreas Johnson vs Anna Bergendahl

Andreas Johnson came from second heat. With the song Army Of Us, he steps a bit away from the usual 60’s inspired sound and more into the 1990’s. This is his 7th Melodifestivalen appearance.

In first duel, he was up against 2010 Swedish Eurovision participant Anna Bergendahl. She qualified from the first heat with Ashes To Ashes turning the stage into a forest.

Verdict: This first duel is hard to predict. It’s two well established names who are both strong vocally. It’s two uptempo songs, though they don’t remind of each other. Johnson’s is quite British in the sound while Begendahl’s is more typical Scandinavian, and in particular Swedish. Personally, I would go for Army Of Us, but if it would be Ashes To Ashes I would understand it too.

Vlad Reiser vs Nano

Despite not being naked nor including rain on stage, Belarussian born Vlad Raiser qualified with the Swedish languaged song Nakna I Regnet (Naked in the rain) from the second heat. Just as in the regular heat he was wearing plastic on the arms, but there was still no rain in sight.

For his duel, he was up against Nano and Chasing Rivers, which is co-written by the legendary songwriters Swedish Thomas G:son and Danish Lise Cabble. The pre-recorded clips with Nano’s son is worth remembering this song for, although it was changed for this second chance heat.

Verdict: The younger generation will probably vote for Vlad, the older one for Nano. As we are, after all, talking about a potential song for Eurovision, best bet here will be on Nano. It’s the absolute strongest of the two… though we shouldn’t rule out that the young people will be able to relate to YouTube prankster Vlad.

Martin Stenmarck vs Lisa Ajax

2005 Eurovision participant Martin Stenmarck qualified from third heat. The title, Låt Skiten Brinna, translates to ‘let the shit burn’. All focus was on the song, which is about getting rid of the damaging and depressing thoughts holding you down.

Back for a third time in Melodifestivalen is Lisa Ajax. She qualified from fourth heat where her experience, despite her young age, and a great vocal took her to this Second Chance Heat.

Verdict: This is once again a really difficult one to guess. It’s two very strong songs where the songs are in focus. Nothing else on stage which can distract. Martin’s performance tonight did come out stronger, but don’t rule out the beautiful Torn, which near the end really kicks off.

Rebecka Karlsson vs Arvingarna

With the dancers in focus, Rebecka Karlsson qualified from third heat. The dancers; a boxer, a ballet dancer, a gymnast and finally a company manager gave a lot of attention to this song which tells you to be strong and don’t give up on your ambitions. Her songs reminds a bit of Anja Nissen’s Where I Am (Denmark 2017).

In 1993, Sweden was represented by Arvingarna and their Eloise. In their hope for a Eurovision comeback they took part in the fourth semi-final, where they received a really big applause from the arena for this song, which just brings you in a good mood.

Verdict: Just like the second duel between Vlad and Nano this is once again between two songs which appeal to each their audience. Arvingarna’s I Do is the typical Swedish sounding song. It’s catchy and easy to sing a long to, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Swedes vote for this, but my bet would be on Rebecka, who revealed that her middle name is “Eloise” as her parents named her after Arvingarna’s 1993 Eurovision entry.

The show

Nyköping, located one hour from Stockholm, was hosting tonight’s second chance heat. It’s the third time the city is used for Melodifestivalen – all three times for the second chance heat.

Aside from the hosts singing, 2015 Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw entertained as interval act. He performed his new single Walk With Me in duet with Dotter (Johanna Jansson). Dotter took part in last year’s Melodifestivalen – and this year, she is already qualified for the final as songwriter for former Alcazar member Lina Hedlund, who went straight to the final from third heat.

Walk With Me, which was released yesterday is written by Måns together with Andrew Jackson, Rachel Clare Furner, Ash Molton and Dan Goudie.

Sweden furthermore pulled on a big surprise when Johnny Logan suddenly entered the stage to perform his 1987 Eurovision winner Hold Me Now. That had not been announced at all. A well kept secret! In SVT’s schedule of the show minute for minute this was defined as a bit of music by one of the hosts.

The show ended with the result of the four duels. This has been used before in Sweden, but is different from last year where we got the result after each duel.

Final running order

In tonight’s show the running order for the final was also revealed.

  1. Jon Henrik Fjällgren – Norrsken
  2. Lisa Ajax – Torn
  3. Mohombi – Hello
  4. Lina Hedlund – Victorious
  5. Bishara – On My Own
  6. Anna Bergendahl – Ashes To Ashes
  7. Nano – Chasing Rivers
  8. Hanna Ferm & Liamoo – Hold You
  9. Malou Prytz – I Do Me
  10. John Lundvik – Too Late For Love
  11. Wiktoria – Not With Me
  12. Arvingarna – I Do

Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest

It has been a joy being a Swedish fan lately. The country is one of the most successful countries in the contest with six wins of which two are within the past seven years.

When Anna Bergendahl missed the final in 2010 with the song This Is My Life, she was the first Swedish participant to do so – and so far still the only one. The past five entries from Sweden all reached top 10 – in fact just one of them, last year’s 7th place didn’t go top 5.

The amazing results of course puts extra pressure on whoever wins the 2019 Melodifestivalen. In Sweden they are well aware of that they are only one victory away from a tie with Ireland’s seven wins, which today is still the Eurovision record.

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Individual awards for each Danish Melodi Grand Prix participant

Individual awards for each Danish Melodi Grand Prix participant

Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2019

With awards like best performer, most surprising performance, most addictive moves and so on, it’s possible to award each participant in the Danish final with an individual award which is just for them. Take a look at which awards the artists won.

In the Danish final, we only get to know the result for top 3. The remaining seven acts each end on a tied 4th place. We think they deserve each their award – something unique to them and their performance, so in best Award Show style we created 10 awards – but with the democratic way that they each win one.


  • 1 Best Voice
  • 2 Most Surprising Performance
  • 3 Best Voice Effect
  • 4 Best Performer
  • 5 Most Classic Eurovision
  • 6 Best Prop
  • 7 Best Wind
  • 8 Most Addictive Moves
  • 9 Best Smoke
  • 10 Best Energy

Best Voice

Let’s be honest, it does happen that acts gets chosen for Eurovision without mastering the ability to sing live really well. That wouldn’t be an issue with Rasmus Faartoft. He demonstrated such amazing vocals in the song Hold My Breath, that it makes him a clear winner of the Best Voice Award.

Most Surprising Performance

People like to be surprised, and if you add a little gimmick which no one saw coming, you get attention. This year’s surprise award goes to Humørekspressen. We all thought we knew how this would be performed, but everyone got a surprise when the band brought drag queen Tinus De Schunard on stage. With rainbow coloured confetti as well, they suddenly delivered a performance to match the LGBT enviroment. That we had not seen coming at all.

Best Voice Effect

From time to time participants use various voice effects in their songs. We have even seen two Eurovision winners use it. In 2000, Danish Olsen Brothers used a vocoder and last year Netta used a loop machine. For this year’s Danish final, LeeLoo brought her own DJ to the stage, a DJ who used a Talk Box. For that, LeeLoo wins the award for Best Voice Effect.

Best Performer

A great performer can make up for a less strong song. It has been seen beforehand that a song gets an enormous boost from having the right performer to deliver it. This year’s Best Performer Award goes to Teit Samsø. He delivered an outstanding performance, which made several wonder if he could – quite surprisingly – pull home a top result. He didn’t, but we would love to see him back at the Danish final for another attempt as he is a true top performer.

Most Classic Eurovision

As much as we like suprises from time to time, most of the time we just want things to stay the same. A classic Eurovision song with a just as classic performance is almost everytime a guaranteed success. Julie & Nina delivered that classic Eurovision better than anyone else in the Danish final – and earned a second place after winning the televoting.

Best Prop

Hamster wheels, burning latters and even a giant man etc. The use of props is quite big at the Eurovision Song Contest. We are still to see if it will used in Tel Aviv too or not, but this year’s Prop Award goes to winner Leonora. We’ll always remember her performance in the Danish final for the big chair.

Best Wind

Can anyone remember a Eurovision Song Contest without a wind machine? It’s such an integrated part that we of course need an award for Best Wind. The winner of that is Marie Isabell. Yes, others did use it too, but no one else so much as Marie did and as such she is the winner of the Best Wind Award.

Most Addictive Moves

Many Melodi Grand Prix and Eurovision performances have various moves which we all try to master – and we often don’t give up until we known them so well that we can do them in our sleep. The award for Most Addictive Moves in this year’s Danish final goes to Jasmin Gabay. The hand gesture which comes everytime she sings the three words in the title Kiss Like This made us all pay attention and try to do the same.

Best Smoke

A neatly placed smoke (or dry ice) can really set the atmosphere for a performance, but one has to use it right. For Simone Emilie’s performance it was used well. It matched the song, the backdrop and also it matched her short yellow dress. So Simone wins our Best Smoke Award.

Best Energy

Being a performer requires energy. No matter what kind of song you perform, it’s important that you appear fresh and ready no matter how tired you are. You also need to make sure that you don’t burn all your energy off on stage as press and fans will want you to have energy for them both before and afterwards. No matter when we bumped in to Sigmund, he had that extra energy, which just spread so many positive vibes around him. With no doubt, he wins our Best Energy Award.

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Six more acts complete the line up for Sunday’s Beovizija 2019 final in Serbia

Six more acts complete the line up for Sunday’s Beovizija 2019 final in Serbia

Nebojsa and Ana - Tonight's Hosts

There hasn’t been long to wait since six acts made the Serbian Beovizija 2019 final last night. Yes, tonight, the last six acts made it through, completing the line up for Sunday night’s final.

Serbia will take part in the first half of the first semi final on May 14. Twelve acts will sing their hearts out on Sunday, hoping to win the honour of representing their home land in Tel Aviv.


  • 1 The Show
  • 2 The Songs
  • 3 The Results
  • 4 Serbia In The Eurovision Song Contest

The Show

Tonight’s hosts were Nebojša Milovanović and Ana Babić. Nebojša is a 44 year old actor who starred in the films Bure Baruta and Lift. Ana ia a 32 year old Croatian singer, whose debut single, Preživjet ću” made number one in Serbai, ten years ago. She is now a Belgrade native. She wore a black gown and never ending necklace looking a little like Eva Peron before she dyed her hair blonde.

The show opened tonight to a flash back of Sanja Ilić & Balkanika winning last year, before the group came on to give the song Nova Deca a 2019 remix. A video was shown of all eleven past Serbian entries to get you in the swing. How many can you remember?

The interval act opened tonight with Jelena Tomašević and Lea Sirk singing Portugal’s winning song from 2017 Amar Pelos Dois. This was followed by Lea giving a reprise of Slovenia’s classic Hvala, Ne from last year. Jelena then did the 2008 Serbian entry Oro.

The washing hanging on a line could only mean, here comes Laka with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 2008 entry Pokušaj and sure enough here it came, with a different set of ladies doing the knitting. Bring Bosnia and Herzegovina back to the Eurovision Song Contest.

The last time FYROM made the final was 2012 and Kaliopi came next to remind us why Crno I Belo did just that. If the country has a new name in this years contest, then Kaliopi will forever be its last qualifier.

Then Sanja Ilić & Balkanika  gave us a rendition of old School Aska with Halo Halo, Yugoslavia;s 1982 entry, Oh how Eurovision has lost its mojo since these days.

Finally Emilija Kokić from Riva performed Yugoslavia’s only winning song Rock Me from 1989, while our hosts danced along.

The Songs

Sanja RioLjubimo se

Like last night an uptempo group opened the show and look how that turned out. A very colourful performance this was tonight, led by natural red head, presumably Sanja. This had a very electro dance beat and seemed to be a bit repetitive towards the end. However as it seems anything goes for this years Eurovision, who can dare to predict its chances.

MajdanBudim te

An un-plugged electric guitar is always the best give a way that there’s a backing track and here’s Madjan blatantly exploiting the infraction. This is a slam dang bang the guitar and drum rock type song, which some of the ex-Yugoslav countries have been prone to send in the past. Struggling a bit for a tune, but if early eighties is your thing, this is the song for you.

Goga StanićČudo

This is a bit more like it, with Goga in a chess board style dress, accompanied by four dancers, who are actually dancing and not slithering about on the stage posing for no reason. There is a constant pounding to this moderate paced dance like number though you’d be hard pressed to find any real rhythm to the song. However as a visual treat it ticks all the boxes.

Ana Popović –Lutaš

With a hairdo that looks like it needs a lot of looking after, Ana appeared on stage staring right into the camera to sing her simple ballad. With two backing vocalists behind her, halfway through the song they all get bored and totally change the tune. From there on it was anything goes with some powerful wailing with everyone all over the place.

LordRadnički sin

Two pirate like type dancers joined Lord on stage for another song that can’t make up its mind how many tunes it should have. All of this was very upbeat with a couple of traditional instruments thrown in for good measure. A little rap and some dungarees means there’s something for everyone in this song. Two complete strangers cam wandering in towards the end of the song, and they too burst into a dance routine. Stage performance perhaps more memorable than the song.

Nevena BožovićKruna

Balkan ballad slow again for this passionate ballad from Nevena. All in black with foot wear that was more laces up the legs than any sings of a sturdy shoe. This had the standard verse with outburst vocals in the chorus, while flames shot out behind the singer. Probably strong enough to merit a second hearing at the final. At this point of the show it was time to go enjoy a bar of chocolate from Slatka Kuca.

See alsoThe first six acts are sent through to the final of Serbia's Beovizija 2019

Gipsykord Boje

An accordion and piano opened this song, for what looked like a trio in the introductory video, but it actually turned out to be a full six piece collective of musicians. The lead singer wore an outfit to remember, all colours of laces from the ankles up, and little else. This song was a lot more lively than what had come before and was actually quite good, which will no doubt be its downfall.

Jana ŠušteršićViktorija

Jana opened her song staring into a large mirror in a jesters like cape and dress, while a piano banged away in the distance. Losing the cape, Jana continued in a white lacy dress, constantly promising to burst out into a big chorus, yet taking her own sweet time to get there. When she finally did it was of course a case of vocal gymnastics, before Jana sat down on that  blasted piano and played her way out of the song.

Lana & Aldo Pogledaj u nebo

The video wall here featured a lady presumably acting out the lyrics to this song in sign language. This was a group of old rockers who obviously had arrived at the studio and parked their motor bikes outside, for a quick exit if they don’t get the results they’re hoping for. Despite the appearance of the group though, perhaps best described as an aging Put from Croatia, this had some really good harmonies in the chorus. One to watch.

Dženan LončarevićNema suza

Best described as old school traditional this is the type of stuff Serbia excels at. Clearly the distressed lady on stage sitting knitting was upset, probably at the three dancers who were dancing round her stealing her wool. As Balkan as it can get, if we’ve to get drama at Eurovision this will be it.

Tina i Lola AmvonTvoje oči

Presumably mother and daughter this is another flash back to the Nostalija and Maxi and Chris Garten days, where it would have fit in perfectly. Daughter was dressed a bit more trendy than her mother, but mum could show her some strong vocals. Probably a little too sickly sweet to go much further, but the audience loved it, so that’s a good sign.

Tamara MilanovićReči nisu dovoljne

And so to the last song. In a very pink dress which want on forever, alas the Serbian heats were not to escape the slitherers and indeed four joined Tamara for no reason whatsoever. This is another ballad which Tamara wrung every note out of her body, but was a bit of a downer to end the show, rather than something more jolly. It stands as good a chance as all the others tonight.

The Results

The Serbian public were given twenty minutes to vote. Their preferences were combined with a Serbian jury. The following six acts qualified to the final.

Majdan – Budim te (position 2 in the final)

Jana Šušteršić – Viktorija (position 6 in the final)

Nevena Božović – Kruna (position 8 in the final)

Ana Popović –  Lutaš (position 9 in the final)

Dženan Lončarević – Nema suza (position 4  in the final)

Lord – Radnički sin (position 7 in the final)

Serbia In The Eurovision Song Contest

After a successful two debut years, Serbia failed to qualify to the final for the first time when Marko Kon & Milaan and the song Cipela didn’t receive enough points in 2009.

Recovering in 2010, Milan Stanković and Ovo je Balkan placed 13th, with Nina and Caroban placing one place lower in 2011.

In 2013 after failing to qualify again, the country took a sabbatical and dropped out in 2014.

Since then only Bojana  Stamenov has made the Top 10 when Beauty Never Lies just managed to creep in there in 2015.

Before a new entrant is announced, enjoy once more, Serbia’s shining glory.

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Eliot releases Wake Up Eurovision entry

Eliot releases Wake Up Eurovision entry

Eliot Vassamillet

Belgium is aiming for another top result this year with the song “Wake Up”. The song is written Pierre Dumoulin who previously pulled home a fourth place. Can Eliot with this song repeat – or even improve – it?

Back in the middle of January, broadcaster RTBF presented Eliot Vassamillet as their participant for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. The two broadcasters in Belgium RTBF and VRT take each their turn at Eurovision, and this year it is the French speaking Wallonia to take part.

Eliot is 18 years old, but not unknown to the population in his home country. He took part in the 2018 edition of “The Voice Belgique” where he was coached by French singer Slimane. Though Eliot was eliminated in the first live show, he managed to impress songwriter Pierre Dumoulin who saw such great potential in the young singer that he approach him for his 2019 Eurovision project. Pierre co-wrote the Belgian 2017 entry City Lights with which Blanche finished fourth.

Today, we finally got to hear the entry which Eliot will compete with at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel in May. Belgium has been drawn into second half of the first semi-final Tuesday the 14th of May. Take a look at it in the video below:

Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest

In the 10 years from 2005 to 2014, Belgium failed to qualify for the final a total of 8 times! Since that, things have been different with the country scoring top 10 results three years in a row after that. In 2015, Loïc Nottet scored a 4th place performing Rhythm Inside. Blanche repeated that 4th place two years later. Last year, Sennek however failed to reach the final.

The country is one of the “original” countries as they took part in the very first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. Over the years, Belgium have won once, in 1986 with Sandra Kim and her J’aime La Vie. Controversy followed as it later was revealed, she was younger than first claimed. Her being 13, makes her the youngest ever winner, a record which can not be broken as now participants must be at least 16 in the year, they take part.

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The first six acts are sent through to the final of Serbia’s Beovizija 2019

The first six acts are sent through to the final of Serbia’s Beovizija 2019

Beovizija 2019 Hosts

Serbia joined the fray tonight with the first of two semi finals of Beovizija 2019. Twelve acts performed tonight with half of them heading to the final on March 3 2019.

Tonight’s lucky contestants will be joined by another six tomorrow night. The eventual winner will be Serbia’s Eurovision Song Contest entry for 2019.


  • 1 The Show
  • 2 The Songs
  • 3 The Results
  • 4 Serbia In The Eurovision Song Contest

The Show

Before the competition got started, there was a review of some on the past Israeli entries – a tribute this year’s host nation. The charming hosts were Dragana Kosjerina and Ivan Mihailović.  Dragana wore an expensive looking red dress, while Ivan was very smart in his suit. The competition took place at RTS Studio 8 in Belgrade.

After the voting period closed we were treated to a rendition of Euphoria by past Serbian entrants Sanja Vučić and Bojana Stamenov, and Croatia’s own Jacques Houdek. Bojana then run through her 2015 Serbian entry Beauty Never Lies.

Jacques then did the Croatian 2017 entry My Friend. Jacques has co-written the Croatian entry this year The Dream by Roko. Finally Sanja Vučić sang the 2016 Serbian entry Shelter.

Or perhaps, not finally because the show still had Knez, Montenegro’s entrant from 2015 as a surpise guest, who came to sing his song Adio.

Yet another surprise was to come as the quartet the got together to run through a rendition of Serbia’s popular winning song Molitva.

When the singing was complete there was a flashback video to 2008 when Serbia hosted the contest.

The Songs

Funked UpZašto da se ne desi

This six piece, all in black, group live up to their name, with this funky uptempo opening number, which is probably heading to the final due to having a bit of life about it and probably a stand out before the competition really gets started. Shades of Level 42, this will be a great one to dance around to in Tel Aviv. A door separated our lead singing man and woman to begin with but of course they met up fine at the end. Illuminated drum sticks added to the presentation.

Aleksandra SekulićTugo

A Balkan string introduction and into a ballad that Serbia does so much better than anywhere else. Whether it’s the language that allows such melody or not, but the songs are silky smooth. Aleksandra had a red dress and boots on tonight and was accompanied by a saxophonist, and three female backing singers. A nice simple performance.

Osvajači Voda i plamen

Another six piece group who are usually more associate with rock, but tonight had a big power ballad. The lead singer has a velvet jacket on. The back wall video was full of fire, an old Eurovision favourite. The piano and electric guitar feature heavily in this song, which again was a pleasant Balkan tune, perhaps not a Eurovision winner.

Dunja Vujadinović7

Lots of images of Dunja could be seen from behind her during her performance. Dunja wore a white dress and featured many of our favourite Serbian words in this love song. A wailing violin accompanied Dunja during the song. This was another competent ballad but not outstandingly good.

Mr. Doo Do 100

More wailing strings and poor Mr. Doo looked as if he’d run into a lamppost while hurrying to get to the studio. Make up aside, the Doo was joined on stage  by two females in their rain coats and a male backing singer and guitarists, who na na na’ed through the song. A little slow, more for the visuals that the song here.

Saška JanksDa li čuješ moj glas

Dyed pink hair for another power ballad from Saška. Dressed in a white house coat and silver boots,Saška had two male dancers who slithered in front of her a few times. The beautiful language helped make the song listenable, but apart from a few power moments in the chorus, this was a little nondescript.

See alsoD-moll will represent Montenegro at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 with the song Heaven

Ivan KurtićBela

This was the first real ballad of the night by a male singer. Dressed like a gangster in his black suit and red tie, Ivan had someone like a mechanic working away in the background. It ended with a drawing of an angel. Plain and simple, very Serbian describes it all.

Sofija PerićAritmija

Again this another song that just fits in while on holiday at the Adriatic coast. It has a beach appeal. A backdrop of a busy city, probably Belgrade was featured in the background. Two mala dancers added, well nothing to the performance. This may stand a better chance of qualifying due to having a little more pace than some of the others.

Extra Nena –Još ti čujem glas

Next up was the one we were all waiting for, Extra Nena, the last ever representative of Yugoslavia in 1992. Extra still had her low deep voice but this song lacked the magic of her other entry Ljubim Te Pesmama. Nevertheless in her white raincoat Nena delivered a strong performance of a slow mournful number. Unlikely to be Serbia’s entry but still lots of good will all round.

EleonoraSamo lagano

This performance had a little more oomph than the others, with a very modern and appealing visual experience. Eleonora and her five vixens slinked around in front of some Hollywood legends. A chair in the middle of the stage acted as a bit of a stage prop. Probably more visual than musical but good enough for another viewing in the final.

Wonder Strings & Ivana Vladović Moja bol

Indeed strings did wonder away behind Ivana. This was probably the best tune of the evening, and sounds very similar to some of Yugoslavia’s best from the past. Very emotive. powerful chorus and musical interludes at just the right moment. Some one has being doing their Eurovision homework. So good it will likely fail to be the Serbian entry this year.

Nataša & Una – Samo bez straha

Hidden in silhouette at the start of the song Nataša or was it Una wasn’t in the mood for messing around. A woman with a purpose on this beaty number, was only beaten in attitude by rapper Una, or was it Nataša Natasa. This had enough about it to be a little different tonight to probably merit a place in the final. More shouty than musical ,but a fair enough attempt, to end tonight’s competition.

The Results

The winning six acts and songs were decided by 50/50 of a selected Serbian panel and televotes of the Serbian public.

The qualifiers are:

Aleksandra Sekulić ( position 12 in the final)

Saška Janks (position 1 in the final)

Nataša & Una (position 11 in the final)

Ivan Kurtić (position 10 in the final)

Wonder Strings & Ivana Vladović (position 5 in the final)

Sofija Perić (position 3 in the final)

Serbia In The Eurovision Song Contest

This will be Serbia’s 12th year at Eurovision since its debut in 2007, including an absence from the 2014 contest.

Serbia won in its first year with Molitva by Marija Šerifović, a song that is still popular in Serbia to this day. Hosting the contest in 2008, they did very well again when Jelena Tomašević feat. Bora Dugić placed 6th with Oro.

In 2012, Željko Joksimović placed third with Nije ljubav stvar, having already been a runner up in 2004 when he represented Serbia and Montenegro.

Serbia have done rather well at Eurovision usually, but as the years pass, they have now  failed to make the final on three occasions -nearly a quarter of their entries.

Last year wasn’t one of these times when Sanja Ilić & Balkanika finsihed 19th with Nova Deca.

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Ukraine withdraws from the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Ukraine withdraws from the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Maruv after winning national final in Ukraine

Things haven’t been easy for the Ukrainian broadcaster this year and today the broadcaster announced that the coming contest in Tel Aviv will be without a Ukrainian participant. This comes after a scandalous national final where hot favourite Tayanna withdrew, Maruv won, but was too Russian friendly and finally several other artists said no to take her place.

Maruv won the democratic voting in this year’s Ukrainian national final. During the show, the broadcaster announced that they remained the right to reject the result – and afterwards they presented the winner with a set of rules, she was unable to accept. She felt she  was forced to withdraw due to her relationship to Russia. She was simply too Russian friendly.

It’s easy to blame the broadcaster here as it is unacceptable to have a democratic voting and then change things when you realise that your population might vote for ‘the wrong one. While the broadcaster didn’t handle that very well, it’s however also needed to understand that Ukraine is at war with Russia. They have a part of their country occupied by Russia, and from that perspective it is understandable that they don’t feel that an artist who earns money by performing for the occupying power can represent them at the Eurovision Song Contest. They want to be sure that the artist representing them is totally loyal towards Ukraine, and against the Russian occupation. This is in particular seen as needed with a national election coming up very soon, and a political climate where you are either 100% loyal to Ukraine or seen as an enemy which can’t be trusted.

Maruv got into the national selection in Ukraine as Tayanna withdrew for unknown reasons. Why the broadcaster selected Maruv if they couldn’t live with her winning, is an open question which probably won’t be answered, but the singer took the Ukrainian population by storm and won both her semi-final as well as the final. As she then couldn’t go to Eurovision, TV stations around the word had their Ukrainian based correspondents report about a national Eurovision selection instead of war and politics! This wasn’t pretty to watch.

As it stood clear that Maruv would not represent Ukraine at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, broadcaster UA:PBC first asked Freedom Jazz, who finished second in the national final, to accept the offer instead. They declined, and afterwards third place KAZKA also refused. Brunettes Shoot Blondes in 4th place rejected too – which meant two acts from the national selection were left: A band with one who has Russian citizenship and twin sisters whose parents live in Crimea and are politically active – for the Russian side! In the national final the one with Russian citizenship were asked if she was willing to give up her citizenship to become Ukrainian and the twins were asked to take a clear stand against their parents and their political views.

The broadcaster held a meeting today which then resulted in Ukraine withdrawing from taking part at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Thereby they follow what Russia did in 2017 after selecting an artist which Ukraine – as host country – refused to give access to. The drama between Ukraine and Russia back then took quite a while, and EBU tried to negotiate a solution, but failed.

Before coming to the conclusion that it was best to withdraw, the broadcaster showed their total desperation (and lack of a communication consultant!) when they made a Facebook poll asking if people thought “it was worth it” to still seek participation or if they should withdraw. Thereby the showed total lack of judgement.

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