Poland’s Pick: Donatan & Cleo’s “My Słowianie”
There’s been a conspicuous hole in the Eurovision participation map since Poland withdrew following the 2011 Contest, when Magdalena Tul (undeservingly) took home the wooden spoon for “Jestem“. Fans pined for the country that gave us Edyta Górniak, Anna Maria Jopek, and Ich Troje…and were thrilled in December when news of the country’s return arrived. But who would carry the white and red for the nation in Copenhagen?
About a month before broadcaster TVP announced that they’d be returning to the country, a video was launched on YouTube that became a national phenomenon. Now with over 38 million hits, Donatan and Cleo’s “My Słowianie (We Slavs)” translated into radio airplay and singles sales, making a major mark on the local charts. What better choice to represent the nation than an infectious, bona-fide hit about how gorgeous your ladies are, especially one that your diaspora already is aware of?
But Donatan and Cleo needed some convincing. The pair originally took to social networks denying rumors that they had been selected, but when TVP called them in for a meeting, it was hard to stop the wheels from turning. Even then, Donatan had some doubts. Would the song be in Polish, or would they present the newly-released English version, “Slavic Girls“, in order to appeal to a wider audience? He took to Facebook to parlay with his fans once again. A compromise was reached, and it appears that a bilingual version will be recorded for Copenhagen.
From a marketing standpoint, choosing “My Słowianie” was a great way to go for TVP. As an already-established hit, there’s no need to convince Poles of the song’s value. In all honesty, it’s a move we don’t see often at Eurovision, as most recent songs seem to be created and submitted to networks specifically for Eurovision, not beyond that context. (One major exception: Mandinga’s “Zaleilah” in 2012.)
As for the song itself, it’s sassy, brash, cheeky, and bound to get a lot of attention in Denmark. It’s just such a shame that so many Slavic nations are absent from the 2014 contest (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria), and Russia, Moldova, Montenegro, and Ukraine are in the other semifinal. However, there are significant Polish populations in other nations voting in Semi 2, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Belarus, and Lithuania, so there is hope for diaspora support. A song’s modernity and innovation isn’t a guarantee of success (see “Igranka“, for example), but at the very least, it’s a great way to welcome the Poles back to Eurovision.