Ljubljana, 19 February 2022

A small ex-Yugo country bordering Italy, Slovenia has always been a quirky force in Europe, with an equally delectable selection to match. Slovenia will pick their entrant tonight but before they do, we would like to take the time and scrutinize their entries for your pleasure and leisure. Will this year’s EMA prove itself as good or mediocre? We’re here to provide you an indicator at least.

On today’s panel we find:

  • Boris Meersman, an opinion fountain with nerves of nitroglycerine.
  • James Maude, casually making his way through yet another selection during his wine and cheese nights.
  • Roy Postema, ele quer sei youtuber.
  • Stefan Resimic, who decided he hates music today.
  • Tyler Griffith, America’s Sweetheart with the flawless social game.
  • William Carter, already subscribed to everyone’s Wikipages.

and for the disclaimer:

“All opinions stated in this article are those of the person quoted and do in no way represent ESCUnited as a whole. “

Without further ado, let’s jump in with the acts that qualified from the first semifinal. The banners contain links to the songs if you wish to rediscover them again.

 

Boris – 6.5

“This scatty disasterpiece mild ♥. July wrote “Kaos“, something that becomes glaringly obvious once you notice that this song also follows the structure of fun verses followed by a deafening emergency-siren-during-a-tropical-storm chorus. It’s amusing but also kind of crap? That is not being contested, right? GOOD! Now we can work on embracing “Girls Can Do Anything (Full title: “Girls Can Do Anything I Can I Can Girls Can Girls Can Do Anything Anything I Can I Can”) ironically (and eventually unironically) if it were to somehow win EMA.”

James –  5

“If you ask the girls from the Assassin Academy in the Amazon show Hanna to put on a school play, “Girls Can Do Anything” would be the result. It has that “we doth protest too much” element that makes this simultaneously messy and restrained. July needs to go full “Hatred Mun Sigra” or Hellraiser in staging, with guys in chains on a Thunderdome stage. Otherwise, it just comes off as a bit too twee and silly. Slovenia is in the same Semi-Final half as the Salad guys from Latvia – if July wants to make a statement on behalf of girls, she’ll need to be bold to shock the morons who find that Salad song’s one joke to be funny.”

Roy – 2.5

“This started off super promising and I like some of the musical decisions and risks taken in this song. I just can’t get passed how repetitive this chorus is though… The most unfortunate thing about the repetitive nature of it all is that your focus goes out to things that might otherwise not have been an issue. July has quite a loud and squeeky way of breathing and it just gets a bit on my nerve.. It is all just a bit clumsy and unfortunate in the end..”

Stefan – 2

“Maruv wannabe with a song from WISH/Aliexpress. She seriously needs to practice the breathing/singing routine. I am sorry to say, but it was so hard for me to get through the whole song/performance.”

Tyler – 7

“I love July’s fashion and I think her look is fantastic here! The performance for “Girls Can Do Anything” is quite energetic and hectic so it’s visually interesting to me, but I feel overloaded too with the lighting effects. As for the song itself, I think it’s only okay! I wasn’t blown away by the vocals or the lyrics at all, and I want to like this song for its themes, but the presentation isn’t that good to me. Another classic case of, “I want to like this song more, but given what I’ve seen, it isn’t enough for me to stan”.”

William – 5.5

“This is cute. I’m not totally sure that’s exactly what the team was going for; it seems to be aiming for a kind of edgy, raw sexual charge that I never really buy. But being ‘cute’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing! There’s still a lot of charm and commitment here, and July is up there DELIVERING. The song itself is not that memorable, if I’m being honest, but it’s getting a little extra bump simply because of July’s stage presence and energy. We’ll be seeing her at Eurovision one day. Hopefully that day isn’t May 10, 2022″

Total Score: 28.5/60
Highest:
7 (Tyler)
Lowest:
2 (Stefan)
Average:
4.8


Boris – 2.5

“Let’s see: whiny, endless, repetitive, boring, sounds like it was written for Una Voce’s geriatric jury. Does anyone like this sort of music? Maybe the sort of “people” who cry during musicals?  Old rocker dads? The Serb on our team [forgot his name] likes him, that says enough. I am just counting my lucky stars we only got one bad yugo-style ballad in this selection (:glares at Croatia:) , and also that it has no chance of winning. (:glares at Croatia, again:)”

James – 8

“Future crooner alert! This is quite an effective power ballad, even if David looks and dresses like a henchman from a ‘90s dystopian sci-fi B-movie like Prayer of the Rollerboys. I’d be surprised if something this old-fashioned wins EMA and represents Slovenia, but David is a charismatic, promising young man to keep an eye on in future. Perhaps in 2030 he’ll come back a little wiser, more experienced, with a song about how he killed a man to bring his love a rose or something.”

Roy – 6

“A wonderfully pleasant inoffensive ballad. It might not be the most exciting piece ever, but it is well sung and performed. The song could have used a bit more memorability instrumentally and the staging could have been a bit better too perhaps, but overall, it’s okay!”

Stefan – 9

“Well isn’t he a sight for sore eyes (and ears too). He knows to hold a long note, his song, somehow, stands out, he alone on stage looks quite impressive, so I think I have my favorite. ”

Tyler – 5.5

Dramatic feels like an appropriate word to describe “Še vedno si lepa”, but not necessarily in the right way for me oops. This song feels like a competent Balkan ballad, but it also feels cliche to me at the same time. I also don’t like the outfit David is wearing–an all-red suit/jacket combo? Ack! David seems to be giving his all for this song and definitely making it dramatic to watch, but I don’t really care too much for the song at the same time.”

William – 3.5

“I mean, boy can sing. And he’s obviously very experienced on stage. I see no faltering or sign of nerves. The song, though, never really takes off for me. If this was at FiK, and I knew it would be getting an inevitable overhaul before May, I’d be more optimistic. Ethnic balladeering and rock instrumentation are two great tastes that taste good together. But, in this song’s case, I think it is what it is, and it is what it would be in Turin. Noble effort, but this ain’t the one. ”

Total Score: 34.5/60
Highest:
9 (Stefan)
Lowest:
2.5 (Boris)
Average:
5.8


Boris – 10

“I got the CHILLS when I found out that another moody synthpop duo with a synthesizer on wheels were competing in EMA. ZalaGasper left some massive shoes to fill, after all. Fortunately, LUMA are their own thing, as if VAL gave birth to a nymphomaniac stalker baby. Unlike “Sebi“, which was all about atmospheric immersion and emotional fragility, “All-in” fully revolves around the ironclad narrative of Lucija fearlessly toying with Martin, who is like a helpless baby gazelle caught in the talons of a hungry lioness. It’s playful, dramatic and most of all TENSE. “All-in” is a captivating experience, and it’s of no surprise LUMA already achieved semi-cult status with the fandom, something neither VAL nor ZalaGasper were able to achieve by this point. Needless to say, Slovenia better come up with a solid back-up plan if they choose to foolishly throw away this golden opportunity at an excellent ESC result.”

James – 9.5

” “If Belarus’s VAL were fans of Paul Verhoeven, they might look and put on a stage performance like this. Comparisons have been made to Slovenia’s past synthpop sensations Zalagasper, but that’s off the mark as “All In” has humor and the stage dynamic between the two performers is radically different. Zalagasper was two teens mumbling and staring at each other, whereas the female singer of Luma circles her keyboardist like a jaguar who just found a tasty snack on the jungle floor. And that moment she reaches under his shirt and then starts playing the keyboard and singing seductively behind him is an unexpected, though in the context of the song, natural progression. They’re both charismatic performers as predator and prey, and though the staging is just them and a keyboard on a stand, this is a masterclass in minimalistic staging. As delivered, “You’d better hold onto me because you know I care” is the most seductive threat I’ve heard in a while and one that will be the catchphrase of Turin should “All In” by all rights win EMA.”

Roy – 9

“There really only is one option isn’t there? Okay, perhaps a bit harsh on the competition, but this performance is incredible! At first I wasn’t sure what to think about it, but that faded away completely in the second half of the song. THE ABSOLUTE HIGHLIGHT OF THE PERFORMANCE: The guy pulling away the keyboard and the girl letting out the sigh. It is sooo perfect and I can’t get enough of it. The song after that completely goes into the next gear! Sure this song might still be a risk to send to Turin in terms of how well it would do, but I would absolutely love to see it!”

Stefan – 5

“Zala & Gašper are back already? I totally dig the new stage name. xDDD Jokes on the side, at least this song isn’t as boring as Sebi was. But these guys also need to work on their chemistry.”

Tyler – 10

“Trying to not sound hyperbolic, but “All In” kept improving with each performance, and the act during the semifinal is ready for Eurovision. “All In” is a fantastic mix of mystique and “Sebi”, but also darker to it as well. Luma has a concept with the staging that is simple but tells a story, and I feel can resonate with a lot of people. I don’t know if “All In” can win Eurovision, but to me, I think this could give a good showing in Turin. My pick for this strong selection and for Slovenia.”

William – 9.5

“Let me be the 700th person to say this rules. The comparisons to ‘Sebi’ are inevitable, but that’s not a bad thing to be compared to. Zalagasper brought us otherworldly simplicity. But this is … perverse? It’s giving futuristic pink dominatrix and her keyboard-playing sex robot. This performance is kinda hot? OK. Not even kinda. That close-up shot of her hand running up and down the front of his shirt is one of the more erotic things I can ever remember seeing at a Eurovision final. And her gasp when he yanks the keyboard away from her? I MEAN.”

Total Score: 53/60
Highest:
10 (Boris, Tyler)
Lowest:
5 (Stefan)
Lowest (non-Stefan):
9 (Roy)
Average:
8.8


Boris – 6

“Stela is…… just fine to me, lol. I’m sorry, must I mime humour here? “Tu in zdaj” doesn’t give me much to work with it from a creative writing perspective. She sings well, she’s engaging enough, her song’s a’ight, she’ll place somewhere in the middle of the board. It’s not the punchiest tale.”

James – 5

“I hate to dwell on small, stupid details, but whoever did Stela’s hair should be run out of town. Clamping her hair down flat with a middle part? Stela’s hair needs volume, needs curls, and much like the song’s instrumentation, her hair is currently weighing her down. Also, can someone tell the songwriter that those dated synthesized vocal effects that sound like a ghost cat are not a substitute for melody? Stela’s a professional grade singer and in this entry she was weighed down by a horrible hairstyle and a boring track.”

Roy – 4

“Stela has a whole heap of potential that is currently being wasted a bit on such a run of the mill ballad… Good for her that she is able to display herself and her talent to a nationwide audience, but this song is not strong enough for a shot at Eurovision. I hope to see her back with a better song in the future!”

Stefan – 3

“Starts slow, like really slow and kinda grows – not. It seems to me like it’s just one note. It’s a bit too monotonous you have to agree.”

Tyler – 7

“The fact that all four EMA Freš qualifiers made it to the final really says something about either the overall talent of Slovenia or the auto-semifinalists. I’ll leave it for you all to judge! Stela sings “Tu in zdaj” quite well, and it’s the sort of Balkan ballad I feel I’ve heard before, but Stela brings more power to it than I thought the song was capable of. Stela seems very capable of performing well and I think she has a good EMA career ahead of her if she doesn’t win and decides to come back.”

William – 4

“Stela has a very pretty voice, and there are some nice touches in the melody. I’m just more interested in hearing the entry she comes back to EMA with in a few years. She seems young, and I don’t get a great sense of her as an artist from this performance. There’s a lot of raw potential here. It just needs more time to develop. Hopefully, this experience does wonders for her down the line”

Total Score: 29/60
Highest:
7 (Tyler)
Lowest:
3 (Stefan)
Average:
4.8


Boris – 8

“Borderline hypnotic. “Mim pravil” itself is a fun blues number with a quirky choreography that is fun to watch. This by itself is really good. The real selling point however Urban the Frontman. Urban is a charismatic performer who unloads his full gun arsenal (ahem) as he envelops the song with a voice like molten chocolate. Oh and if Will gets to thirst after LUMA’s Martin, I get to do the same with Urban. Cradle me, zaddy.”

James – 8

“Though Batista Cadillac operates in the neo-soul rather than neo-disco realm, this is the live presence LDM should go for. The singer looks at you like he’s confident he’s going to seduce you, your mother, and your Uncle Cedric too. If you wished the guy from Fitz & the Tantrums was a longshoreman, this is the jam for you. If EMA doesn’t work out for them, I hope they get the opportunity to fly out to Philadelphia and play where their inspirations once played.”

Roy – 7.5

“This song really stands out among the competition! It is well delivered, the staging perhaps could use a bit of work, but the song overall is quite fun as well. It definitely is a strong concept for a song and I could actually see this doing okay to well at Eurovision. Again, the staging needs work, but a great effort and would be a great alternative from Luma!”

Stefan – 6

“Well someone in RTVSLO really does not want for country to do well in Turin. Another swing style song? Seriously? I mean SERIOUSLY??? All I can say that, IMO this is the best of the bunch.”

Tyler – 8

“I was honestly not expecting a retro-sounding song from Batista Cadillac, but “Mim pravil” is pretty good! It has a 60s vibe to it that I quite like and the performance is just fun to watch with how in step the members are to each other. Definitely a surprise favorite for me in this selection! If this did well I wouldn’t mind it at all.”

William – 7.5

“Slovenia is really bringing me the groove this year. I can’t think of the last time a national final has brought us this kind of blues-y rock? It’s refreshing. OK, this is a bit of a throwback, both it feels intentionally so. I dig this. The live backing vocals make a HUGE difference in selling the fantasy. That’s the kind of luxury you’d get from sending a band. It’s not easy to cut costs by neutering the soundscape of your song. The group IS the soundscape.”

Total Score: 45.5/60
Highest:
8 (Boris, James, Tyler)
Lowest:
6 (Stefan)
Average:
7.6


Boris – 7

“Just your Cool Moms and Dads at band camp with a song based on the upbeat tracks you hear play in the background of “Yank Kids Try Dutch Candy For The First Time” YouTube clips. Dips abit too much into “HA! LOOK HOW HAPPY WE ARE! WE HAVE ELECTRO SWING RIFFS TO PROVE IT!” to truly earn a high score, but I appreciate acts that dole out joyful tunes while also providing an engaging act in return.”

James – 8

“Sure, Slavic Hipster Swing is corny. It’s fun, though. “Si sama?” kicks off at a nice clip and sprints to the end, with a slick guitar solo thrown in. My only issue, and it’s one for the genre of neo-swing, is that they don’t need to process the vocals to sound like they were recorded behind a dumpster in 1930s Paris. It’s a bit like declaring your indoor toilet a bourgeois indulgence and only using an outhouse on your lawn with a rickety-wooden door with a half-moon cutout in the center. Modern appliances work great. Use them. Anyway, swing away, Manouche! Great fun.”

Roy – 5

“Sure this is a bit campy and something that probably wouldn’t work in Eurovision 2022, but I could totally see this being a Eurovision song in around 2013/2014. It just has that feeling. Overall this song is very fun, but nothing that really makes you jump out of your seat from excitement..”

Stefan – 5

“Didn’t Belgium already send this song in 2008? Just kidding… Yes it’s quirky and I honestly can’t remember the last time we had a swing style song at Eurovision. Thumbs up for creativity, but that’s all…”

Tyler – 8.5

“Did not think a folk swing band would capture my heart, but “Si sama?” is really fun to watch and I’m just delighted to see this make the EMA final. They stand no chance, but Manouche seems so earnest in their performance as well that I can’t help but enjoy and like them. One of my highlights of the national selection season, and while this doesn’t get my top marks, is a great song to listen to and see performed.”

William – 6.5

“I mean, I probably have a better chance at winning than this does … but I wouldn’t be mad if it did. This is very charming. It’s a bit of a spiritual cousin to The Roop’s past two entries. Sure, it’s replaced disco synth with jazz swing, but the colorful buoyancy is the same. If I’m in need of some good vibes, this is a song I can see myself returning to. ”

Total Score: 40/60
Highest:
8.5 (Tyler)
Lowest: 
5 (Roy, Stefan)
Average:
6.7


The Verdict

Tallying all of our votes together produced this ranking:

  1. LUMA“All in” (88%)
  2. Batista Cadillac“Mim pravil” (76%)
  3. Manouche“Si sama?” (67%)
  4. David Amaro “Še vedno si lepa” (58%)
  5. Stela Sofia“Tu in zdaj” (48%) (29 points)
  6. July Jones “Girls can do anything” (48%) (28.5 points)

As you can see, fandom darling LUMA take substantial lead over the rest of their competition, with good marks for Blues band Batista Cadillac and Electro-Swing group Manouche. Will an act from the second semi challenge this, or is this a race for second place? Stay tuned for part two, which will go live in an hour!

Do #YOU agree with our ranking? What act do #YOU want to win for Slovenia?  Let us know in the comments, on social media or on our forum HERE. Alternatively, join the discussion on our Discord HERE

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