(An extremely overdue) Spotlight on…Slovenia
Once upon a time, there was a girl from Australia who had a blog devoted to the amazeballs Eurovision Song Contest, and she loved to post hilarious articles there on a very regular basis. Then, one January – a month usually peppered with selections for ESC entries – she found herself faced with four weeks of emptiness, with barely a national final to be seen anywhere. But, rather than leaving her blog as empty as this January, she made a vow to herself that she would fill it with many more hilarious yet random posts to entertain all one of her readers, up until February when NF madness was scheduled to resume.
Yeah…that didn’t work out too well, did it?
I know this because the aforementioned Australian girl is me (I bet you didn’t see that coming) and I’ve had such a chaotic start to 2014 that I haven’t graced this blog with my presence for more than two weeks. That’s like, six months by my standards. For that, I apologise to a totes cray extent, and to anyone who does not follow me on Twitter (where I have actually made an appearance over the last fortnight) and thought I was dead, I’m also very sorry. I’ll send the sympathy cards and floral wreaths back ASAP.
I want y’all to know that I am back with a vengeance and pumped to cover the upcoming craziness of February, beginning with the finals of Finland and Switzerland and the first semi of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen (!!!) all happening this coming Saturday. So I hope you’ll join me for the season, and if you’re doing something similar, let me know so I can join you back. It’s all about #JoinUs this year, remember?
Now that the crappy excuses and apologies are out of the way, allow me to introduce my penultimate non-NF-themed post.
Recently, Slovenia became the final country to confirm that they’ll be in Copenhagen, taking the total of competitors up (or should I say down?) to 37. It’s been a year of casualties, with not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR countries withdrawing – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Serbia. On the plus side, we are welcoming two countries back into the family, with Poland and Portugal returning after brief breaks. But it’s Slovenia I want to focus on today, for without them, we’d be sitting un-pretty at 36 – which sounds a lot less impressive than 37.
So to thank Slovenia for obeying the command to #JoinUs, I’m devoting a whole post (minus this super-long intro) to their time in the ESC. Since 1993, they’ve had more than their share of musical misfortune, but there have been some diamonds amongst the rough. Here are the Slovenian stats, and my picks of their bunch.
SLOVENIA: THE STATS
Debut 1993 – 22nd place with Tih Dezeven Dan by 1X Band
Silver medals 0
Bronze medals 0
Best result 7th – 1995, 2001
Top 10 finishes 3
Top 10 success rate 17%
Top 5 finishes 0
Top 5 success rate 0%
Wooden spoons (last places!) 1 – 2013 (semi final)
Semi final qualifications 2/10
Qualification success rate 20%
My favourite entry
Cvet Z Juga by Alenka Gotar (2007). Before Krassimir Avramov and Cezar, there was Alenka (and before Alenka, there was Sertab Erener opening the 2004 final, but let’s not get into that now). Alenka lent her operatic vocal to a mystical, dramatic and eventually thumping ethno-dance number that had me at hello – or at least, the first word of Slovene. Even if the wind-machine heavy, palm-lit performance is discounted, I love this entry, and I guess I’m not alone – it’s one of only two Slovenian songs to qualify since the introduction of the semi system.
Two very honourable mentions must go to:
- Stop by Omar Naber (2005), a beautiful builder of a ballad marred by an overly-casual outfit choice, and;
- Vrag Naj Vzame by Rebeka Dremelj (2008), an infectious Europop track marred by staging resembling BDSM vampire porn.
My least favourite entry
Narodnozabavni Rock by Ansambel Žlindra & Kalamari (2010). ‘Narodnozabavni’ is a fun word to say, but that’s about the only plus to this unfortunate hybrid of folk and rock. I can’t help thinking a straight folk song would have been infinitely better, because not only did the two genres not mesh pleasantly in this instance, but the rock dated the whole thing by about thirty years.
More of the memorable
For A Thousand Years by Darja Svajger (1999) – known for that line, which in Darja’s accented English sounded like “I trample in your arse”. I really hope she doesn’t.
Samo Ljubezen by Sestre (2002) – the song was fine. Quite catchy, but not that notable. It was the three men in glittering flight attendant outfits singing it that made things interesting.
Stay Forever by Platin (2004) – depending on how you feel about PDAs on the Eurovision stage, this was either sweet or gross. Personally, I like this song, and the smooch was an understandable warm-up for the wedding these two apparently had a few days later.
No One by Maja Keuc (2011) – with this killer song, that killer voice and those killer boots, I wouldn’t want to cross Maja.
Verjamem by Eva Boto (2012) – many fans labeled this Molitva 2.0, but I think it captures the best aspects of 2007’s winner. A.k.a. the mystique, atmosphere and snazzy costumes.
Their best stage show
Straight Into Love by Hannah (2013). I think Slovenia stepped up the staging with this one. It was slick, contemporary, and in no way did those metal masks remind me of Vrag Naj Vzame. As a former taker of dance lessons, I always pass judgment on choreography, and the dance moves that Hannah’s man posse busted were top-notch. A nod of approval also goes to the lighting guy/gal, who lit this to perfection. All in all: #NAILEDIT.
Their best costume/s
Maja Keuc. The girl was walking fierceness in her metal-plated, chain-covered minidress, accompanied by leather accents, including those infamous boots. I don’t know how she managed to walk or sit down, let alone strut around the Düsseldorf stage the way she did, but I do know she would have been well prepared for a sexy battle with all of that body armour on.
Their best vocalist/s
Darja Svajger/Alenka Gotar/Maja Keuc. Slovenia almost rivals Ukraine as the sender of powerhouse female vocalist (if not in a string of successful results). Despite her accent issues, two-timer Darja delivered one heck of a ballad, with the humbler notes and epic screamers coming equally as easy to her. Alenka took things to a new level – as in a key so high it had never been heard by the human ear before – and somehow made it pleasurable. And Maja proved herself the Slovenian teenage version of Christina Aguilera with her pitch-perfect performance of the tricky (as it is when I attempt to sing it in the shower) No One. They’re all pretty different voices, so I can’t pick between them, but sharing #1 shouldn’t be a problem for a country that’s never made the top 5 IRL.
So that’s Slovenia, 1993-2013, as I see them. Well, me and the official numbers. I wonder what they’ll serve up for Copenhagen? Being the last country to say oui may give you the impression that it was an “oh, alright, I suppose we’ll be there” kind of decision, rather than a well thought-out one. But the fact that they’re going ahead with the old faithful NF EMA says otherwise. Perhaps they just wanted to keep us all in suspense so we’d realise how much we’d miss them if they withdrew…though apparently, the real reason was stalling so they could look under their collective couches and scrimp together the loose change needed to fund participation.
All that really matters in the end is that magic number – 37. It may not indicate that the ESC is getting bigger every year, but it is at least a solid number that’s giving us two substantial semi-finals. Don’t be depressed about it. Make like Ping Pong, and *sings tunelessly* “ooooohh ohhhhh, be HAPPY!”.
Let’s talk Slovenia. Whether it’s highlights, lowlights, or expectations for 2014, I want to hear them!
NEXT TIME: In my last post before the madness of February begins, I’m traveling back in time to rank the Class of Riga ’03…and just to warn you, Jemini are NOT getting zero points from me.
5 Responses to “(An extremely overdue) Spotlight on…Slovenia”
Country Profile: Slovenia
Contests: 5 (1996, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2010)
Top 5: 1 (1997)
HoF Entries: 1 (1997)
Slovenia is a strange little Balkan country. In the same five contests as fan darling Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia outpaces the land of “Lejla” by only a few hundredths of a point. Most of their stuff is enjoyable, with their best entry being their haunting 1997 masterpiece. Other highlights are the “energetic” performance of a good entry in an awful 2001, an OTT popera piece in 2007, and a pitchy American with one of the best dubstep-influenced songs to ever grace the contest in 2013. All in all, I’m thrilled that they’ve joined us for 2014 and can’t wait to follow EMA, despite the selected date being one of THREE Super Saturdays. 🙂
P.S. Have you been able to catch up with any of the history entries? Just curious, no pressure. 🙂
2001 was seriously sub-par, I agree, but I never ‘got’ Energy. It was kind of…clunky. I loved her outfit though.
Not sure what you mean by “history entries”. The earlier Slovenian ones?? Hashtag unsure. AAAGH, Saade Syndrome strikes again!!
I don’t mean to lavish it with high praise. It was an above average song that got more recognition it deserved by performing in the year of the car crash (2001). And yes, that outfit was wonderful.
Stuff like this. http://hopefullydaedal.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/number-11-esc-1991/ 😉
“Narodnozabavni Rock” is the one Slovenian entry that IS in my iTunes playlist, me having found that its epic preposterousness never fails to cheer me up immeasurably.
Plus it’s a hoot to watch any other Americans in the vicinity hearing it for the first time. Especially when, with no foreshadowing whatsoever, it suddenly crashes into the polka stuff 25 seconds in.
Well, I can agree that it is epically preposterous. I would love to see a snapshot of one of those facial expressions!