ESC 2010 Reviews: Slovenia
Slovenia is one of those ESC participants who, despite a decently long history in the contest, have only had a small handful of great entries. Their highest rankings were a pair of 7th place finishes in 1995 and 2001, but out of their fifteen entries, they’ve only cracked the Top Ten three times. (Although, if you look at entries from Yugoslavia that were performed in Slovene, there were two additional high placements, but those were back in the 1960s.)
I’ll show you all my three favorite Slovenian performances:
1) 1966: Berta Ambrož, “Brez Besed (Without Words)“, 7th place. Technically performed under the flag of Yugoslavia, Berta brought the Slovene language to Eurovision for the first time with this classic number, who many people feel was later ripped off by the classic Spanish entry from 1973, “Eres Tú”. But more on that later when we get to Spain. In the meantime, Berta’s performance was another great snapshot of the mid-1960s.
2) 2002: Sestre (Sisters), “Samo Ljubezen (Only Love)“, 13th place. This entry actually sparked a pretty big controversy among Slovenians, as Sestre were the first act to perform at Eurovision in drag. If all of the flight attendants in the skies were like Miss Marlena, Daphne, and Emperatrizz, I think that flying would be a much less stressful experience, don’t you? Best in-flight entertainment ever…
3) 2007: Alenka Gotar, “Cvet z Juga (Flower of the South)”, 15th place. Since the semifinal system was put in place, this has been the only Slovenian entry to make it through to the Finals. Opera rarely finds a home on the Eurovision stage, especially with a pop-rock influence, so Alenka’s relative success was very cool to see, and it fit in well on the stage in Helsinki, where bands like Apocalyptica and Nightwish often reign supreme.
This year, however…we get this:
Ansambel Zindra & Kalamari with “Narodnozabavni Rock (Popular Folk Rock)”…doesn’t really roll off the tongue very well, does it? Some nations have mastered the balance between local musical traditions and pop/rock sensibilities. It feels like Slovenia is still searching for that happy middle ground. You can’t just take a rock song and add an oompah-band, and you can’t just take a folk song and add a dude in a leather jacket. I didn’t follow this year’s Slovenian Preselection as closely as I did for Estonia, but if this was the best they could come up with, I worry. As much as I hate to sound negative, I think we may have found the last-place finisher in the Second Semifinal.