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. “

Let’s round up our ratings with the qualifiers from the second semifinal. The banners will link you to the songs if you wish to have another listen.


Boris – 8.5

“This delightful little indie song about finding new love appeared inconspicuous at first, but “Nova romanitka” has really grown on me at a distubingly rapid pace. I savour the naïve dreaminess of the verses and the intense promiscuity of the chorus. Leyre’s magnetic, affable personality and Gusti’s excellent tunes bring me to a way happier place than the pandemic-striken mess of a world I’m forced to live in.”

James – 7

“Great ideas in EMA History: Get a promising young female singer, dress her up like 1970s Marie Osmond, and stick her in a band with a guitarist who looks like Axl Rose’s cousin Fred (if he had a cousin Fred, that is). This is a charming soft rock track, but is very unlikely to win EMA and would need clever, Portugal 2021 style staging to help make the Grand Final if it did win. But they have a charismatic young singer with potential, and presumably they can bring Axl Rose’s cousin Fred more into the staging rather than just have him standing there with his guitar.”

Roy  – 7

“These verses are to die for!! They are sung performed so beautifully!! The vocals are super soothing and clear and the instrumentation is mysterious and interesting. I love the way that the performance is being shot as well. The biggest let-down of this song however is the chorus. I feel it was somewhat randomly put together. I really hope to see this guys come back or if they win, I hope they try out a new chorus. These verses are just soooo beautiful, I am just a tad upset that the chorus is what it is..”

Stefan – 2

“Wow. Just wow. Now I understand why some fans says this is one of the weakest Eurovision seasons in recent years”

Tyler – 7.5

“The performance for “Nova romantika” is quite look! I like the filtered lighting effect and the singing is quite good too! I really feel the emotion in the vocals in this song, and it’s overall quite cute and lovely! I don’t think the song has enough to really make a killing in the contest though with how bubbly it is, but I think it’s fun enough to make people enjoy it and vote for it.”

William – 8.5

“Leyre is a star. She’s gorgeous. She’s got a great smile. She emanates warmth and chill vibes. The team was very smart in crafting this staging, making the whole thing essentially an up-close and personal address to the audience. And I really like the song as well! It’s got a great melody. It’s catchy. Its orchestration is full and lush. Her vocal is laid back, yet powerful. Everyone involved is a pro. OK, it maybe ends a little abruptly. Still, high marks from me.”

Total Score: 40.5/60
8.5 (Boris, William)
2 (Stefan)
Lowest (Non-Stefan):
7 (James, Roy)

Boris – 2

“Generally, this year’s EMA Freš can be labelled a triumpf, with most qualifying artists showing great promise. Except for this song. “Naked” was a baffling qualifier from EMA Freš , let alone EMA’s second semi. Leya has a very grating vocal timbre, and her song is a tiring “oh i am soooooo fragile” cliché whiner ballad. Are the jurors who voted for this (tone)deaf? Also, but this is more of a Public Service thing, don’t ever *ever* attempt to google “Leya Leann naked” without safe search.”

James – 5

“Stand still in Slovenia for three minutes and you will be bedazzled. Literally. Yes, Leya’s EMA look was also a dodgy choice, with a terrible stitched together half-white, half-naked body stocking and Old Navy pants with cut-outs that look like they were made by a rabid puma. This power ballad has potential, though Leya needs work on her English pronunciation, especially if she is going for Bonnie Tyler style theatrics. In song contests the mentors always tell the young singers to show their vulnerability, but with these lyrics they’re going a little obvious.”

Roy  – 3

“This song isn’t strong at all. Leya though… She has potential and a half! The way she sings the word ‘naked’ really showcases a way bigger potential. I also feel like it could be a good idea to see her try out fronting a rock-band. I think that would suit her voice oddly well. She has the charisma too and her vocals have a good range too. This song though… Sorry, it’s a bit too X-factor-y for me..”

Stefan – 4

“Well this girl sure knows how to sing… Damn that voice… Its a shame her song is, well let’s say it’s just not that good.”

Tyler – 7

“I was surprised to see “Naked” make it out of EMA Freš, and I was surprised again to see “Naked” make it out of the semifinal too. I think the addition of the guitarists is good, even if they’re just wobbling on stage. “Naked” is an okay song, and I think Leya does a good job with the song, but the performance itself hasn’t really wowed me yet at all. Maybe the final will change and this will take it all which is the kind of underdog journey I like.”

William – 7

“I appreciate the more stripped-back, acoustic sound, and there’s a … husky lilt (?) in her voice that stands out among the finalists. She’s got a BIG voice. I don’t find the song itself that exciting; I’ve heard it before. But she sells it! And, like I said, she gets INTO IT vocally. She’s a tiny little thing, but she’s got power. Also, her guitarist and bassist are hot. Is everyone in Slovenia hot, or am I just still feeling the after effects of Luma? ”

Total Score: 28/60
7 (Tyler, William)
2 (Boris)

Boris – 7.5

“A cute little disco song about two soulmates meeting each other… at an LPS concert. The lyrics are a tad too meta and self-aware, but I don’t mind (after all they’re in Slovene) because the overal product is quite charming. These kids have produced a very fun and upbeat song, and I’d hope to hear from them in future EMA’s.”

James – 7.5

“This is like a Slovenian high school’s Magic! The Gathering club got together to form an old school disco band. These kids need help with their live show, though – the singer looks like he’s being forced to sing at gunpoint. Or maybe Knez was seated in the front row picking his teeth with a bowie knife again. Either way, the young man shouldn’t be so nervous. As a composition, the song slaps. It’s not a tribute so much as a full-on recreation of an era of early pre-Moroder disco from the mid-‘70s. The band needs a few tours under their belts to be up to snuff as live performers.”

Roy  – 7

“The more that I listen to this, the more I start to like the song and performance. The singer oozes charisma when he delivers this song with his ease and in a very laidback way. I dig that the most about the song really. Instrumentally, it could have been a bit more unique and interesting, but as is, it is enjoyable and not too bad at all!”

Stefan – 3

“Another swing song. Kudos to the viewers in Slovenia. At least these guys are young and there’s plenty of time for them. Hopefully next year, they won’t need to go through EMA Freš.”

Tyler – 6

“I didn’t care for “Disko” in EMA Freš, but I think I liked the performance here in the semifinal better! I even mildly liked it here, even if I feel like the lead singer is phoning it in and doesn’t really show off vocals at all. “Disko” feels like it could be a bigger song to me in terms of performance, so I feel slightly underwhelmed watching this. I do like the look of the band and think they have interesting ideas, but I want a bit more from them.”

William – 6.5

“This is aiming for cute, and it hits the mark. It’s a bit cheesy, but I don’t think unintentionally so. His vocal is the most compelling part of this whole package. It’s a voice from a different era, like he’s a big band singer or something. They’re playing around with tempo in this song in a way I really appreciate. The melody is constantly zigging and zagging, but the song never sounds choppy. How old are there dudes, though? You know what … don’t answer that. Points deducted for making me feel ancient. ”

Total Score: 37.5/60
7.5 (Boris, James)
3 (Stefan)

Boris – 4

“I am thoroughly distracted by this chiffon mess of a choreography, to a point I barely even notice the song. The sound of Tim Gunn ringing “THAT LOOK IS MATRONLY!!” in my auditory cortex thunders loudly over the whale mating noises that hold the instrumentation together. Maybe it’s for the best that the outfit is such an attention lightning rod. Take away the puffy sleeves and the muted Eline Noela siren effects, and you’re left with a generic mid-tempo pop slog with shaky vocals. Anabel is a girl with tendencies that re-direct my attention away from her.”

James – 4

A girl like me with tendencies to become the best version of me? It’s unusual to have such weasel words in a chorus. I have tendencies to become a Viking warrior, but I am stuck writing reviews of Eurovision national selections. If that’s the best version of me, boy did I have low expectations. Anyway, this is a dated self-empowerment banger delivered by a performer who seemed out of breath, had issues with pronunciation, and whose hair and make-up needs severe help. As the song’s lyrics suggest, the essence of a strong performer exists. She’s just not there in 2022. Let’s see if her best version can come forward in 2025, as I suspect with some polish a great version of Anabel exists.”

Roy  – 5.5

“You can’t tell me that this isn’t an AC at Melodifestivalen… It just completely sounds and feels like that. An inoffensive, well produced tune, sung decently well and performed okay too. Just good enough to squeak through to AC, but nothing to really write home about. All that, but in Slovenia I guess.”

Stefan – 3.5

“Taylor Swift wannabe with a slightly shakier voice. Judging the semifinal performance she was struggling hard to put up that performance. And also, four backing dancers? Groundbreaking. ”

Tyler – 8

“Tendency” is a really cute song to me, and even if I feel like Anabel is a little out of breath as she’s performing, this is still quite good to watch! I like the dancing and the staging, even if the outfits I don’t quite like the colors of. However, “Tendency” is a pretty solid song! I like the hook for it and the lyrics are quite nice. Glad to see this song make the final!”

William – 7

“Every national final needs a bit of good schlager, and this definitely fits the bill.  This is a very well-mounted performance of a smartly assembled pop track. And that’s nothing to sneeze at. Melfest is full of bad versions of this that go out in the first round every year. This feels a bit … out of place in the more off-kilter world of EMA, but it wins me over. It sounds like a Swedish entry from the time before Melfest stripped out all the crazy. Think, like, “It Hurts” from ‘04.The song has no ending, though? ”

Total Score: 32/60
8 (Tyler)
3.5 (Stefan)

Boris – 5

“Oh look, Anej and Rok are back for yet another bout of bromoeroticism. If “Heart of gold” had been a cup of hippocras, and “Ptica” was a bowl of sangra, then “Maj” is a glass of grape juice. It’s a cromulent but severely watered-down pop ballad like the sort we’ve heard from BQL before, and that just doesn’t butter any parsnips  anymore. PS: Yes, I get you’re brothers and bro’s, but please stop singing to each other like you’re some Call Me By Your Brividi sort of thing.”

James – 6

“Great, these two goofball brothers are back. Not a bad thing. They’re slick, they’re professional, they’re reasonable looking without having to fear they’d mug your grandmother. I just don’t know if they as a duo or this song are compelling enough to qualify for the Grand Final if they represent Slovenia. This is very middle-of-the-road boy band stuff, and I am wondering if they’d be better off trying a more mature look and sound at this point? “Maj” is not a bad song, but it just seems a little something is missing to take BQL to the next level they need to be at and have the potential to be at.”

Roy  – 2

“The song starts of quite good with a pleasant verse that makes you excited to hear the rest of the song. Then we get to the chorus…. Maaann what a let-down. The instrumentation sounds so incredibly dated and it overall just isn’t memorable. It also horribly lacks something to remember the song by. The song passes by and my feelings and emotions stay exactly the same throughout… Really had hoped for more from these guys..”

Stefan – 7.5

“I loved their previous EMA entries, so when I saw them on participants list I was so hyped. Same level as I was bummed when I actually heard this song. If they eventually win, I just hope there’s an English version of the song.”

Tyler – 6

“Part of what I liked about “Maj” was the harmony in BQL. It wasn’t unpleasant to listen to, and the singing seemed good overall. But “Maj” also didn’t necessarily feel that memorable to me. There weren’t any real standout moments for me during the song, and what I liked is the staging (Millstreet 1993 realness). But other than that, for this being the favorite based on the artist, this is solidly okay?”

William – 4

“This is a bit strange as a duet. It sounds like it should either be one vocalist, or, like, a five-member boy band. I want some fuller harmonies. Both of them are skilled singers. They look comfortable on stage. But this is ultimately just a little forgettable. The key change really doesn’t work for me. I don’t think it does much for the song besides make it 20 seconds longer.”

Total Score: 30.5/60
7.5 (Stefan)
2 (Roy)

Boris – 6.5

“The first notes of this sultry jazz song hit and you think, ‘hmm this will be good?‘ … and then you notice him sitting down behind an ugly Duncanesque piano (“Eeeexcuse me, it’s a VINTAGE piano” SHUT THE F’CK UP, CORNALDS) and your heart deflates. “Sledim” is decent to me though, as it provides a serviceable amount of lounge vibes that I’m sort of (but only sort of) into and the few times Hauptman looks into the camera beaming with cheeky mirth, you get a figment of the casual seduction he’s going for. This would have gotten a higher mark if the staging had strived to be more engaging.”

James – 8

“Slovenia really loves America of the early 1970s, if EMA is any indication. We’ve had an early disco tribute, a Philly blue-eyed soul tribute, and now we’re going early RnB and jazz. Hauptman will have taken note of how Portugal’s Black Mamba went from no-hopers to Grand Final mid-table with some clever, narrative driven staging, and no doubt his soft yellows indicate he could bring something similar for Slovenia should he win EMA.”

Roy  – 6.5

“Decent ballad, well performed. Hauptmann has a nice voice and this laid-back, minimalistic composition fits his voice very well. Something inside of me really wants to see how a song like this would do in Eurovision. It is an easy listen and has a good streamability. I definitely enjoy this.”

Stefan – 2

“Another monotonous, one note song. The organisers do want people to watch this show, not sleep through it?”

Tyler – 8

Sledim” works very well for me being a funky song with interesting visual effects that I found myself really vibing with the performance and not being able to look away while watching. It’s quite good! I think staying at the piano for as long as he did was too long and maybe it would be better to move to the mic sooner, but I do like this and with some polish in the staging, this could be really fun and get televotes. Fun song, quite enjoy this!”

William – 6

“He’s smooth. He knows it, too. Ordinarily, that’s off-putting, but I’m gonna let him have it. He really does have an ease on stage. His vocal is crisp, clear, and open, and he’s exactly dialed into the energy of this song. This is maybe not the … freshest sounding entry of the bunch, but it does what it’s aiming to do really well. I could do without the air piano, though. Relax, Stevie Wonder.”

Total Score: 37/60
8 (James, Tyler)
2 (Stefan)
Lowest (non-Stefan):
6 (William)


The Verdict

Will LUMA maintain their lead? Well…

  1. LUMA“All in” (88%)
  2. Batista Cadillac“Mim pravil” (76%)
  3. GUŠTI & LEYRE– “Nova romantika” (68%)
  4. Manouche“Si sama?” (67%)
  5. LPS – “Disko” (63%)
  6. Hauptman – “Sledim” (62%)
  7. David Amaro “Še vedno si lepa” (58%)
  8. Anabel – “Tendency” (53%)
  9. BQL – “Maj” (51%)
  10. Stela Sofia“Tu in zdaj” (48%) (29 points)
  11. July Jones “Girls can do anything” (48%) (28.5 points)
  12. Leya Leanne – “Naked” (47%)

Yes, they do! LUMA have crushed their competition in this editor poll with a massive lead. Crooners Batista Cadillac finish second, while GUŠTI & LEYRE make their way into our top three. It will remain to be seen whether LUMA can win EMA tonight, but it’s safe to state that they have our blessing to do so.

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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