Serbia: Željko unveils “Nije Ljubav Stvar”
Although we’ve known since November that singer, songwriter, and Eurovision veteran Željko Joksimović would be representing Serbia, it was only this Saturday that we finally got the chance to hear the song that he’d be taking to Baku. Presented in both English and Serbian, “Nije Ljubav Stvar” are a return to form from the man who brought us 2004’s silver medalist, “Lane Moje“, as well as the composer of 2006’s “Lejla” and 2008’s “Oro“.
For those who want to hear the version in English, entitled “Synonym”, click here. It has been just about confirmed, however, that Joksimović will be performing his song in the original Serbian, continuing the country’s trend of performing exclusively in its national language on the Eurovision stage. Barring English-speaking nations, Serbia is the only currently-participating country to have not included English in their ESC entries (unless you count the interjection “come on!” in 2010’s “Ovo Je Balkan” as a foray into bilingualism…). Luxembourg, Monaco and Morocco stayed away, but they no longer participate…and the now-defunct unions of Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro could be added to the list, as well. Even linguistic stalwarts like France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy have brought in at least a few lines of English over the years.
As I said in my post about Austria’s entry this year, some claim that it’s a handicap to not perform in English. However, Željko is a known entity among Eurovision followers, and “Lane Moje” is considered by many to be one of the finest entries in ESC history, English or not. (ESCRadio.com had it in the #1 position on their countdown of the 250 greatest Eurovision songs this winter…”Lejla” was #19, and “Oro” was #78). Furthermore, Serbia has been drawn into the Second Semifinal, where Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Slovenia will also be voting. Needless to say, linguistic intelligibility likely won’t be much of an issue for Željko.
“Nije Ljubav Stvar” is a pretty smooth continuation from what we’ve heard from Željko in the past, but it’s a formula that’s been working wonders for him so far. He’s come in second, third, and sixth with his entries over the years, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him continue on in that general range.