Maja Keuc – "Vanilija" for Slovenia

I had the pleasure of watching Slovenia’s preselection show yesterday (again, thank you to www.eurovision.tv for providing live links and on-demand replays to so many of the National Finals!), and, to tell you the truth, my expectations were somewhat low.  The Slovenes, while known for their beautiful mountains and the stunning Lake Bled, aren’t quite as renowned for their Eurovision selections.  They used to make a fair bit of impact on the scoreboard, but they haven’t cracked the Top Ten in a decade, and they’ve only made it to the Finals once since the Semifinals were established.  Their song last year, the clumsily-titled “Narodnozabavni Rock”, was one of my least favorite songs in Oslo.  I grit my teeth and braced myself for a repeat of last year’s EMA winner, a glass of wine and a pint of ice cream at my side, ready to console me if needed.

I am thrilled to say that my expectations were not only surpassed, but absolutely shattered!  (Granted, I needed the wine and ice cream later that evening to get through the Macedonian selection, but that’s a story for another time.)  Ljubljana really stepped up its game, and gave a great variety of ballads, pop, rock, and comedy, many of which could have been successful Eurovision entries.  In the end, it came down to two superfinalists: the Lady Gaga-inspired April with “Ladadidej” and the eventual winner, Maja Keuc’s power ballad “Vanilija (Vanilla)”.

This might be not only the best Slovenian submission in recent memory (beating even 2007’s epic “Cvet z Juga“), but, in my eyes, it’s the best of 2011’s ballads so far.  Maja’s voice brings just enough of an R&B influence to keep the song fresh and modern, and the arrangement is very dramatic, which I personally like.  Supposedly, Maja and her team are planning to perform “Vanilija” in English in Düsseldorf, which I’m somewhat wary of.  If he translation is good and her English sounds fluent enough, it could work well…otherwise, we might be in for a bit of a letdown.  But this song has the potential to make people sit up and take notice, especially after a few listens. 

Slovenia, as far as I’m concerned, you’ve more than redeemed yourself.

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Posted on February 28, '11, in 2011, Slovenia. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. April? I want to have a word with you, if I may. April, you looked absolutely like a shipwreck, and you would have been a disgrace had you won, so you have your fellow countrymen (or countrywomen? Where were the men in that room? Aside from the host, of course, and some performers.) to thank. Going to a party store and making a cheap Gaga get-up is nothing to be proud of! I have heard enough Gaga references for a whole week thanks to you (though Ladadidej did sound like a cross between Poker Face and Run Away).Maja, on the other hand, onneksi olkoon! What did I tell you, Sam? Fabulous, no? By the way, who thinks she is a cross between Ani Lorak and Dana International? Where did you hear that Vanilija might be performed in English? I heard that RTV SLO has strict rules saying that an entry must be performed in Eurovision in the same language as performed in EMA.One more thing: Serbia-cipela; Croatia-štikla; Slovenia-mokasin! (^_^) Get it? Was watching the host not better than watching Whose Line Is It Anyway?-Finland

  2. Stefanos, you're a riot! :-)Anyway, the Wikipedia entry for both the "Vanilija" and Maja Keuc mentioned an English version, and someone on ESCtoday linked to a video of her singing a few lines of a translation called "No One". (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmjlG3LdziA&feature=player_embedded) It's possible that an English version will be recorded, but not used in Germany…that's what I'm hoping for, anyway.EMA's host last night was fantastic! Completely off-the-wall and energetic…and a nice singing voice, too! 😉

  3. Vanilija is okay, BUT Im gutted that the Disko Partyzani didnt make it 😥 haha they are so good! And well known across whole of Ex-YU which is unusual for Slovenian artists, and I think they would have definitely taken Bosnia's 60 points from the other Ex-YU nations… but maybe Vanilija willl do welll too, good luck to them! If only SkopjeFest results were so fair and uncorrupt as in Ljubljana 😦

  4. Sorry I off course meant Rock Partyzani! My brain is frazzled right now 😛

  5. Disko, Rock…it's all good! But yeah, I'm still reeling from the disaster that was Skopjefest…I just re-listened to "Ram Tam Tam", which came in second place…it would have been such a better choice! Argh…

  6. I heard that a group withdrew from SkopjeFest, claiming that it is rigged.Ram Tam Tam does sound much better, even if it is half-bad, half-good. Those bagpipes, especially solo, may be offensive, but not as offensive as Vlatko's voice and lack of tune.I hope your Super Vanilija Sunday helped you enough through SkopjeFest. You make me glad I did not spend time watching it!-Finland

  7. Vanilija is one of my favorites of this year. I love this song in Slovenian, it's powerful and beautiful. With that said, No One is a train wreck. I really hate all these translations of the songs. Go with the song that was voted for, not translate it after the fact. =( I'm so disappointed.

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