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Eurovision 2010: Serbia

May 8, 2010

Serbia has a tricky song this year, one which will almost certainly fall foul of those members of the audience who hear it for the first time during the live broadcasts.

A flash of the strikingly androgenous 25 year old vocalist Milan Stanković as the ethnic trumpet riff kicks in will communicate one clear message in the mind of the first-time viewer. “Oh,” they’ll think to themselves, “it’s one of those songs.” Then they’ll get up and go to the bathroom.

Viewers will struggle to pigeon-hole Serbia’s act as either comedy or misguided ethnicity.

And yet stick with it into the second chorus and at first foreign sounding production that offers a justification for inflicting physical damage on another human being, graduates into the realms of charm. Respect follows soon after.

And it should really. Because it’s film score composer Goran Bregović has a pedigree, including an impressive back catalogue of film scores, all of which demonstrate his obvious desire to reflect his Balkan roots.

A cynical old journalist might even say Bregović has nothing to lose by participating in Eurovision. He’s remained true to himself. He’s reflected the original vision of the competition. He’s made his money and has his reputation, one which will remain intact regardless of how his song is received.

But a look at his interval contribution to Serbia’s national final in 2008 (a song called Gas Gas) makes me think he’s a popular figure in Serbia straddling all sorts of different musical genres. The kind of individual the UK musical and entertainment scene would find difficult to pin a label on.

And that’s Serbia’s biggest problem. Viewers won’t bear that in mind. They’ll judge purely on the basis of their own personal reaction to one composer’s own individual compositional style. Serbia’s 3 minutes won’t afford them the opportunity to explain that.

Consequently, Serbia’s success will come down to is how it’s presented to the rest of Europe in terms of PR output. And most importantly of all how commentators lead both introduce and back-announce it.

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