Eurovision is all about the small countries for me. Sure, Russia or Germany or whoever might swagger in and put on a huge show, but it’s been a long time since a country won that some people might struggle to find on a map. That’s the people’s own fault, and Eurovision hopes to raise awareness of every nation’s participation to European culture.
Montenegro, like a lot of the smaller European countries, occupy a different field to the big hitters. To these countries, just qualifying for the final amongst all these huge countries is a big achievement. That’s not supposed to sound patronising, but I mean you wouldn’t expect San Marino to pick up lots of Olympic gold medals, or Andorra to win the World Cup. Eurovision is different, you just need the song and the performer, and anything could happen.
It’s easy to say “Oh Russia might win” or “Italy are really pushing for victory this year”, but it lifts my heart to think “oh, there’s Albania in 5th place, where did they come from?”. Montenegro have sent four songs to Eurovision since their debut as an independent nation in 2007, and none of them have qualified. Their 2009 entry came closest, stuck in 11th sadly.
This year they are hoping to turn it around and reach their first final. Who See were internally selected by national broadcaster RTCG to take the Montenegrin ticket to Malmö. When it was announced that a hip-hop duo were the selected artists, the pop-loving ESC fans assumed too quickly that this was another failure year for Montenegro. But the song they have presented is much more of a Balkan dubstep song than I expected.
That dark and throbbing bassline with the restless beat underneath it all really sets a great energy for the song. The rapping might not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s very current, and that could easily provide Montenegro’s long-desired push into the final. I don’t really like dubstep, but I’ve really started to like this. The huge vocals from guest vocalist Nina in the chorus, the rapid-fire rapping verses, I think it works really well.
Sure it’s a gamble, but who knows … Montenegro aren’t in a great position, in the middle of the toughest semi-final, but they are waking up the audience from a string of big ballads. That contrast might be helpful! I’m struggling to decide which ten songs I think will make it out of semi-final one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Montenegro was one of them. OK sure it’s not my usual taste, but every country deserves a chance to succeed, and this is Montenegro’s best chance so far.
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