All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.
It’s 3 days to go until Junior Eurovision 2020, and we are counting down the 12 nations participating in this year’s remotely held and Warsaw, Poland hosted contest on Sunday, November 29, 2020.
Every day we will do an overview of a participating nation in alphabetical order, recapping how they got to Junior Eurovision, a brief history of the nation’s participation, a brief biography of the artist, and finally, our “expert” panel of editors give the entries a score out of 10 and a brief review.
Next up we check out Serbia, with two bronze finishes the highlight among some middling finishes.
Serbia’s history at Junior Eurovision:
Serbia is another Junior Eurovision with three distinct eras separated by a country name change and a lengthy absence.
Serbia and Montenegro only had one attempt at Junior Eurovision in 2005 with Filip Vučić coming in 13th with “Ljubav pa fudbal.”
Serbia, after Montenegro’s independence, debuted at Junior Eurovision with 2006’s Neustrašivi učitelji stranih jezika coming in 5th with the weird reggae-ish “Učimo strane jezike.”
But in 2007, Serbia sent a legend who has gone on twice to Eurovision: Nevena Božović. She came in 3rd with “Piši Mi.” Why she’s wearing a Paul Prudhomme-esque chef’s hat is anyone’s guess, but she went on to represent Serbia at Eurovision twice in 2013 as part of Moje 3 and in 2019 as a solo artist with the criminally underrated ballad “Kruna.”
Sonja Škorić came in third with “Чаробна ноћ” (“Magical Night”) in 2010. Despite equaling Božović’s all time best for Serbia 3rd placed finish, Serbia would withdraw from Junior Eurovision for three years, only returning in 2014 with Emilija Đonin.
Serbia’s second stretch has not been too successful. The best from this period is Lena Stamenković’s “Lenina pesma” that came in 7th in 2015, but Dunja Jeličić came in 17th and last in 2016, while Bojana Radovanović narrowly avoided last place in 2018 by coming in 19th with “Svet.” Serbia placed 10th with Darija Vračević and the song “Podigni glas” in 2019.
Before Junior Eurovision 2020:
Petar Aničić was internally selected by Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), with him being presented to the press on September 25, 2020.
Petar Aničić is 14 years old, and having been enrolled in music school since the age of 4, also enjoys rowing. He got the attention of the Serbian judges by sending in two of his own compositions to them in his application.
Petar Aničić has said in various interviews that “Heartbeat” is about a young teenager feeling love for the first time and how he is trying to process the emotions that overwhelm him.
Aničić receives a songwriting credit on “Heartbeat,” which he co-wrote with Vladimir Graić, Leontina Vukomanović, and Nemanja Filipović.
Vladimir Graić will be familiar to ESC fans as he co-wrote “Molitva,” which won Eurovision 2007 for Serbia and Marija Šerifović. He additionally wrote Eva Boto’s “Verjarmem” (Slovenia’s entry at Eurovision 2012) and Bojana Stamemov’s “Beauty Never Lies” (Serbia’s entry at Eurovision 2015).
Leontina Vukomanović will be familiar to ESC fans as she was the lyricist for the great Željko Joksimović, whose “Lane moje” came in second at Eurovision 2004 for Serbia and Montenegro.
35-year-old Serbian guitarist, musician, and composer Nemanja Filipović rounds out the songwriting team.
Now with the introduction out of the way, what do we at ESC United think of this particular entry? Judging the JESC entries this year are ESC United Editor-in-Chief Sean Tarbuck, ESC United’s Instagram Account Manager Melanie Otto, writer and YouTuber Roy Postema, ESC United’s Twitter and Facebook Account Manager Connor Terry, and writers James Maude and Daniel Montoya.
Connor – 5 – “Hmm…how to describe how I feel about this one? It’s overall fine but I think that the melody gets quite boring after the first verse. I can appreciate that they went very meta with the track and put a “heartbeat” into the song and also gave it a driving beat to really drive the theme home. This song is just a victim of the strong line-up this year, fine just won’t send you over the edge!”
Daniel – 5 – “I think that this is a perfectly fine pop ballad, it has a unique factor because there are not too many boys in this year’s contest. I think it is a cute song, some of the english lyrics felt a little clunky. I was hoping for a little bit more.”
James – 7 – “It’s strange to hear a ballad from the perspective of a young male discovering love when his country produced arguably the greatest non-English language suave crooner Eurovision has ever had in Željko Joksimović. It is a good idea if you’re thinking this year JESC was going in the more teen direction that Wegiel and Gabor laid down markers for, but this year it looks like the contest’s age center is going to drift back down (i.e. not a too cool for school teen but a peppier song for the 10 year olds), so Petar might be crooning to an audience too young to understand or care about his feelings. Petar does sell his anguish though, hoping that his feelings are reciprocated. My one beef with the song is the English verse tacked on at the end. It don’t sit right, and if it were a date, it sounds like one that was going well until he brought up his Magic: The Gathering playing. Petar doesn’t convince with his “I hope you feel it to,” and there’s no weird shape dice for him to roll to get him out of the awkwardness.”
Melanie – 5 – “There is always one song that you keep forgetting in the line-up and this year it’s sadly Serbia. Petar has an amazing voice and the Serbian language really flows well in the song. The song itself is a very mellow ballad that shines in its simplicity. But because it sounds the same the whole 3 minutes, it just doesn’t really grab my attention. Hopefully it will grab the attention of the audience at home, but for me it’s my last place.”
Roy – 4 – “Serbia decides to go with a male singer this time around and where they went for a bit more of a risky up-tempo song last year they decide to bring it back to a slower pace and bring us a ballad. In essence it is not the most ground-breaking song you will ever hear, but I feel like his voice definitely gets a good moment to shine and show us that he could be a great artist to look for in the future. I don’t think this will be a highflyer in this year’s competition, but it is nothing to be ashamed of for Petar!”
Sean – 2 – “Look, this isn’t badly made or a bad performance, or even reflects on the artist much, but… come on! I got to halfway through the song before it really registered, which isn’t good. The second part of the song is better but I feel like Peter deserves better than a factory-made pop ballad.”
First love must have been really rough for some ESC United editors, as Serbia replaces Russia at the bottom of our JESC rankings.
1.) KAZAKHSTAN – 51 points (Average = 8.5)
2.) GEORGIA – 50 points (Average = 8.33)
3.) BELARUS – 47.5 points (Average = 7.92)
4.) MALTA – 41.5 points (Average = 6.92)
5.) FRANCE – 40 points (Average = 6.67)
6.) POLAND – 39 points (Average = 6.5)
7.) THE NETHERLANDS – 38.5 points (Average = 6.42)
8.) GERMANY – 34 points (Average = 5.67)
9.) RUSSIA – 32 points (Average = 5.33)
10.) SERBIA – 28 points (Average = 4.67)
Next up, we go the brand new kid making all the right noises from the Iberian peninsula in Spain.
Are #YOU in turn with Petar’s “Heartbeat”? Or do #YOU think this is the wrong song for the wrong year? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.