Review: Serbia 2020 (“Beovizija 2020”)

Serbia will select an artist and a song for Eurovision 2020 via the mechanism of “Beovizija 2020”. 24 artists will compete in the national selection.
The selection process includes 2 semi-finals and final.
12 artists will participate in each semi-final. 6 artists will qualify for the final from each semi-final. 12 artists will compete in the final.
The results in all of the shows will be determined by 50% jury voting and 50% public voting.
The first semi-final will be held on Friday, the 28th of February 2020.
The second semi-final will be held on Saturday, the 29th of February 2020.
The final will be held on Sunday the 1st of March 2020.

 

In this post, I will review the 24 competing songs. I will discuss each semi-final in separate. In the end, I will compare the 24 songs together in my final ranking.

Semi-final 1

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#1. EJO -Trag (Eng: Firing)

It starts as a ballad that’s based on piano playing and the high voice of the lead singer. The sound develops and builds up very nicely until the pre-chorus. The chorus itself is actually a dance-pop piece with ethnic motives. After the chorus, we have an instrumental section with the use of wind instruments. As the song lasts, the happy and joyful atmosphere controls the vibe. In the ending, the rhythm disappears and the song becomes again a piano ballad.

 

#2. Milica Mišić – Kiša (Eng: Rain)

It’s a sad Balkan ballad which its melody is based on piano. The verses are slow and have romantic vibes. In the chorus, the singer adds some drama ingredients and uses a higher voice. Milica precedes the chorus by pulling her voice in a pleasant way. There is an atmosphere of a sad ceremony in the song. However, the general frame of the song stays stable and logical. After the chorus, we are gifted with an exciting piano solo. I would be glad to get a bigger “wow moment” in the song and a more powerful use of backing vocalists. The finite outcome is very good but needs a little twist.
The song was written and composed by amazing Sashka Janx that competed in the national selection in the years 2018-2019.

 

#3. Ivan Kurtić feat. Mistik Cello – Sabajle

The song is opened with a traditional Balkan singing and piano playing. In the chorus, the song becomes more dramatic and being performed in a higher voice. After the chorus, there is an instrumental section that combines a variety of musical instruments. In my opinion, the verses lack attitude and uniqueness. In every occurrence of the chorus, we get another layer of melody and musical instruments. I fell that “Mistik Cello” group was invited to perform in order to cover the lack of uniqueness. The song isn’t memorable apart from the chorus and the instrumental sections.

 

 

#4. Thea Devy – Sudnji Dan (Eng: Judgment Day)

It a modern rock-pop song. Ther verses are being performed in a sensitive-sensual way and a low voice. In the chorus, we are exposed to her higher and husky voice that is characterized by determination and sensitivity. There is a repeat of the word “da da da da” which helps the song to stick in your head. We can hear ticking of clocks in the chorus which hints the coming of the judgment day. In the middle of the song and after the chorus, there is a sophisticated lowering height of the voice. Afterward, there is another occurrence of the chorus but this time its more powerful and modern. Thea uses motives of rock and soul in her singing. The song stands out in this traditional Balkan lineup. It’s radio-friendly, the singer has a unique fingerprint and the song is just great.

 

 

#5. Karizma – Ona Me Zna (Eng: She Knows Me)

The melody is opened with an instrumental introduction of guitar playing. Afterward, one of the singers starts to sing. A few seconds later, another band member is joining him. The guitar playing is pretty simple and basic. The whole record sounds like it was recorded home-made with a minimum of musical production. Actually, It sounds like an unfinished demo version. The song isn’t convincing and doesn’t go anywhere. On a specific level, one of the singers is singing and the others are being used as backing vocalists. It seems like Karizma members lack charisma. The song ends surprisingly.

 

#6.Andrija Jo – Oči Meduze (Eng: The eyes of the jellyfish)

I’ll start by mentioning that the appropriate credit of the song should have been
Andrija Jo feat. Isidora Mitić – Oči Meduze. The reason is that the song is actually a duet by the two singers. The song starts with the soft and gentle voice of  Isidora Mitić. Subsequently, Andrija is joining with a lower voice and boosting of rhythm. The chorus has a mid-tempo dance style and it changes the first impression of the song.
After the chorus, the song comes again to live in the world of ballads. It seems that we have here trying to tie two foreign pieces together. However, testing the final outcome leads to the conclusion that it actually works. Towards the end, there is a part where their vocals are processed and the melody is being changed. The beat in the chorus makes the song catchier. The voices of the two singers complete each other.

 

#7.Sanja Bogosavljević – Ne Puštam (Eng: No, I’m not)

It’s a small and personal ballad. The melody is namely based on keyboards and guitar playing. The production is minimal. I was waiting for a powerful chorus. However,
we have received here something similar to the verses, but with the helping of backing vocalists. Ther adding of rhythm in the second half of the song but it doesn’t lift up the song and doesn’t help to convince. Just to be clear, I don’t hate the song. However, I doubt how rememberable it will be.

 

#8. Marko Marković – Kolači (Eng: Cakes)

It’s an uptempo Balkan song. The main element in the melody is the trumpet. The song is built on rhythm, fast singing and happiness. Actually, the general atmosphere is joyful and bliss.  The song is heard like it was released at least two decades ago.  The singer has an adult and a husky voice.
I wouldn’t be surprised to watch it participating in the Moldovian national selection for Eurovision. If we will try to find a reference for that kind of song, then it’s could be described as a combination of the following songs: Serbia in Eurovision 2010 and Greece in Eurovision 2013. From the moment it began, the song is pretty predictable and repetitive. However, considering the variance it suggests, I’m almost sure that Marko will qualify for the final of “Beovizija 2020”.

 

#9. Srđan Lazić – Duša i Telo (Eng: Soul and Body)

The song starts with a metallic voice that had been computerized-processed before. It’s a midtempo electro-dance song. Considering the production. it’s one of the modern entries in the line-up. In the first part (after the electronic production) Srđan is singing with whispers and softness. As the song continues, the singer increases the volume of his vocals and the song becomes more rhythmic. The production contributes to the frame of the song. It will be very interesting to see such a classic “studio- oriented” song being performed on the national selection stage. Some parts of the songs would be changed due to the prohibition of pre-recorded voices.

#10. Neda Ukraden – Bomba (Eng: Bomb)

It’s a midtempo Balkam song. There is wide use of “Autotune” in the aim to process the singer’s voice. The song is opened with the playing of the flute. The verses are sound like a ballad, while the chorus and the bridge have a stronger beat and rhythm. The song is catchy and rememberable. My main concern is how will the song work without the involvement of “Autotune” and electronic production.

 

#11. Amvon Duo i Bilja – Raj (Eng: Paradise)

It’s an ethnic midtempo ballad with classical motives and even Latin music influences. The melody is based on percussions and violin playing. It seems like the lead female singer and the violin are having a dialogue. There is a specific point where afterward the backing vocalists create harmony with the singer. Towards the end, there is a break in the melody that becomes an acapella section. The song has potential and with the right staging, it can do well.

 

#12. Igor Simić – Ples Za Rastanak (Eng: Parting Dance)

It’s a rhythmic dance-pop song. The song starts with a basic melody that’s built on keyboard playing, while the main component is the singer’s voice. Igor has a powerful voice and a wide vocal range. It’s a radio-friendly song with a catchy chorus. There is a linking section of the soul-blues genre that arrives after the storm. In this way, we are gifted to hear the husky color of the singer’s voice. The involvement of backing vocalists in the song is in point. In addition, there are drums and saxophone in the melody. To sum up, it’s an interesting song that keeps you awake. At some point, it is heard like a happier production of Malta‘s song for Eurovision 2016 and Serbia‘s song in Eurovision 2017.

 

Semi-Final 1 Ranking

#1. Thea Devy – Sudnji Dan
#2. Igor Simić – Ples Za Rastanak
#3. Milica Mišić – Kiša
#4. Andrija Jo – Oči Meduze
#5. EJO -Trag
#6. Sanja Bogosavljević – Ne Puštam
#7. Amvon Duo i Bilja – Raj
#8. Neda Ukraden – Bomba
#9. Srđan Lazić – Duša i Telo
#10. Ivan Kurtić feat. Mistik Cello – Sabajle
#11. Marko Marković – Kolači
#12. Karizma – Ona Me Zna

 

 

Semi-final 2

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#1. LIFT – Samo Mi Kaži (Eng: Just Tell Me)

It’s a metal-rock song with electronic production. It seems like the song was released in the 1990s when rock music was one of the main genres. The melody is based on drums and guitars. The song is characterized by an electronic beat that is independent and isn’t uniform. The beat builds the connection between the verse and the chorus. The production creates a dark and mysterious atmosphere. In some parts, the lead singer sings in a metallic voice that had been computerized-processed before. That part would be changed in live performance. There is a disadvantage it the way the song is heard as blended and overproduced. I recognize the similarity with the song “Audioslave – Cochise”

 

 

#2. Bane Mojićević – Cvet Sa Prokletija (Eng: The Curse Flower)

It starts as a dramatic ballad but very fast it transforms into a melody that includes guitars, keyboards, and drums. In the beginning, It seems like it has the potential of being different. However, It’s nothing else but a standard Balkan ballad. In the third part, the song gets a dramatic vibe with powerful playing and masculine, deep and low backing vocalists. That change is an important moment in the song. Nevertheless, the song is a little bit flat, predictable and basic.

 

 

#3. Bora Dugić i Balkubano – Svadba Velika (Eng: Wedding Great)

First of all, I will mention that the lyrics of the song were changed. Women’s rights organizations called to disqualify the song that supports women’s violence. The protest gained power and as a result, the lyrics were changed.
The song starts in a traditional Balkan instrumental section that contains percussions and wind instruments. The verses have a dominant melody. The verses and the chorus are almost connected together and it makes me doubt the structure of the song. In the middle of the song, there is a part where the singers sing the word “Stop”. After that, we get another instrumental section. Towards the end, their singing is faster. In conclusion, this is an “old fashioned”  and monotonic song. I find it hard to connect the song.

 

#4. Bojana Mašković – Kao Muzika (Eng: Like Music)

It’s a Balkan power ballad. The melody is opened with a piano playing and there is a use of violin playing. The chorus is dramatic and powerful. The singer uses a higher voice in the chorus. There is an instrumental section with the strengthening of backing vocalists, right after the chorus. We are gifted to hear some operatic singing before the second occurrence of the chorus. We can feel the forcible connection between Bojana and the text and it lifts up the song. The ending is intimate and small (in a good way).

 

#5. Naiva – Baš, Baš (Eng: Right, right)

It’s a retro Balkan song. However, I found French and Portuguese influences in the structure and the general style of the song. The melody is opened with accordion playing. The first lines are being sung slowly. The rhythm is getting powerful in the chorus. The singing can belong to the world of blues and soul. The song is authentic and naive (in a good way). The returning of the word “Baš” creates a rememberable frame for the song. My main concern is that kind of song won’t work in Eurovision. However, I like it.

 

 

#6. Rocher Etno Bend – Samo Ti Umeš To (Eng: Only You Can Do It)

It’s an ethnic modern song with west influences in the melody and the production. There is a beat that starts in the first verse, continues to the second verse and moves on to the chorus. The chorus consists of instrumental parts. The genre can be described as a Balkan electro-dance. The melody is based on guitars and violin alongside a dominant electronic production. The song is rememberable but I think that it could be more interesting in the verses (even melodically).

 

#7. Lazar Živanović – Puklo je nebo (Eng: The sky is broken)

It’s a dance-pop song in the style of the 1980s music that contains a massive electronic production. Lazar has a strong and stable voice. After the verses, there is a wide electronic drop that precedes the transformation to a rhythmic dance piece. As the song lasts, we are in a kind of autostrada. The song has a powerful build-up. The ending is almost acoustic without any melody or production.
My concern is that at the moment, the song is “over-produced” and too blended. It will be impossible to perform it in the same way in Eurovision.

 

 

#8. Ivana Jordan – Vila (Eng: Fairy)

It’s an electro-dance pop song that starts with the playing of the violin. Ivana sings in a sensual and thin voice in the verses, while in the chorus her singing is more powerful.
There is a use of a backing vocalists but in a limited way. The violin continues even after the chorus and at the end of it. The combination of rhythmic music together with the classical violin creates an interesting frame. Ivana hasn’t a big and impressive voice but she is aware of that. Therefore, she is singing according to her vocal abilities. The song is namely based on melody, production, and atmosphere and not on vocals.

 

#9. Nenad Ćeranić – Veruj U Sebe (Eng: Believe in yourself)

The song starts with a classic piano playing and phrases in Hebrew that were taken from the bible. The phrase talks about returning to the Holyland and the memory of the holy city of Jerusalem. Afterward, the song continues as a singing unit with a melody that’s based on piano and violin. It’s a calm ballad with a pretty simple and basic melody. The chorus is actually heard like a final project of students in the Department of Music. I fell a little bit bungling because the song could have been taken to interesting places. It’s not bad at all but I’m afraid that listeners won’t remember it among other acts.

 

#10. Hurricane – Hasta La Vista

It’s a modern electro-dance pop song. The voices of the 3 singers are combined well together. The melody is catchy and I’m impressed vocally. The song begins with an instrumental section that contains the violin in it. The part the arrives before the chorus is being performed quickly, almost as a fast speaking. The performance will require dancing movements. However, I’m not worried due to other songs by the band that include dancing. The song ends in an electronic beat that reminds of the introduction. In that way, the song has a perfect circular structure.

 

#11. Ana Milenković – Tajna (Eng: The secret)

It begins as a piano ballad with a dramatic introduction. The chorus and the pre-chorus develop interestingly, while the verses are slower. Ana sings the chorus in a powerful voice. After the chorus, there is an instrumental section that combines piano and violin.
I would be glad to hear the song being performed by a stronger vocalist. An honorable mention should be given for the arrangement and the melody.

 

#12. Milan Bujaković feat. Olivera Popović – Niti (Eng: Neither)

It’s a dark ballad. The song builds up gradually. Milan reveals his vocal abilities only after a few seconds. It is reflected in the vocal height and a husky voice. The melody is built on a soft beat that has a main role in the song but it doesn’t take the focus.
In the peak of the song, Milan reaches to his maximal voice’s power. Afterward, they finally sing together. Towards the end, Olivera has a solo. Subsequently, she is singing the same line in a kind of a loop, while Milan continues to sing the chorus. I would be happy to see  Olivera gets a significant role in the song.

 

Semi-Final 2 Ranking

#1. Hurricane – Hasta La Vista
#2. Lazar Živanović – Puklo je nebo
#3. Bojana Mašković – Kao Muzika
#4. Naiva – Baš, Baš
#5. LIFT – Samo Mi Kaži
#6. Ivana Jordan – Vila
#7. Milan Bujaković feat. Olivera Popović – Niti
#8. Nenad Ćeranić – Veruj U Sebe
#9. Rocher Etno Bend – Samo Ti Umeš To
#10. Ana Milenković – Tajna
#11. Bane Mojićević – Cvet Sa Prokletija
#12. Bora Dugić i Balkubano – Svadba Velika

 

Summary and Conclusions

The Serbian national selection has a diversity of genres this year.
I think that the first semi-final is stronger than the second.
There are 4 potential winners (before the live performances):

Hurricane – Hasta La Vista
Andrija Jo – Oči Meduze
Thea Devy – Sudnji Dan

Igor Simić – Ples Za Rastanak

 

beovizija-2020 eurovision

I live in Israel and watch Eurovision since the early 2000s. I work as a mathematician but have a big interest in singing, music, and writing

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