Beovizija continues tonight with the second semi-final, as twelve more acts fight for six places in tomorrow’s final. Which of these acts would deserve qualification the most? It’s time for our team to take a look at the songs once more!

This time, it’s Daniel, James, Melanie, Roy and Sean who review the songs…

LIFT – Samo mi kaži

Daniel – 10 – “This has a point of view. I feel like I am in a superhero movie and I love it because it really gives a full song with extra unique approach. It is reminiscent to those Balkan rock songs while still staying super modern and epic. I love the voice of the lead singer, but beyond that, that instrumentation is impeccable. I feel like this truly should be on a Hollywood soundtrack, that is how great and engaging this song is. It really ties some old motifs and reintroduces them in a song ready to impress.”

James – 7 – “A lightweight alternative rock ballad. I do like the bassline that propels the song, though the guitars, electronic bass, strings and drums seem lightweight. As such, there’s not much of a melody riding on that bassline. It stands out in this selection, mostly as it’s different sounding, but will get lost in the shuffle in Rotterdam. An inoffensive romantic background song to have on while cooking for your intended significant other at home.”

Melanie – 5 – “The verse sounds promising and the instrumentals are great in this song. The problem I have with this song is the voice of the singer. He sounds very young and I prefer a more mature sound. Nevertheless, it’s a lovely song from Lift.”

Roy – 6 – “This has a really cool and interesting old-school vibe over it. I guess it also has a lot to do with the lead-singer’s voice. There are some really cool production elements scattered throughout the entire song as well. I fear that this wouldn’t do well at Eurovision though. It may have needed a bit more energy vocally and more of a moment somewhere in the song. It is a very enjoyable song nonetheless!”

Sean – 7 – “There’s a lot of elements being crammed into this one song! It’s a little schizophrenic but I like that, it’s quite experimental. We will have to wait and see how this is portrayed on stage before passing a final judgement but this is a futuristic, alternative option that Serbia would be brave to take.”

Total = 35 (avg. 7)

Bane Mojićević – Cvet sa Prokletija

Daniel – 3 – “By the first minute, I still had not really formulated an opinion on the song. I feel like it something I have head, like almost derivative in a way. I do like better when they incorporate the ethnic tones in the bridge but then we are back to the basic composition in the chorus. This is just a song that had good intentions but I am not totally enamored by it.”

James – 8 – “A rock ballad with traditional string and woodwind instrumentation. The backing singers coming in at the bridge provides a bit of a wow factor, on top of some neat guitar work propelling Mojićević’s pain for a woman he loved but lost. This is a classic, old fashioned style ballad that Eurovision fans love from this region and that typically do well, but will this get lost in the push to bring modernity to Serbia at Eurovision? We shall see, but a song like this will have its fans outside Serbia should Bane progress.”

Melanie – 3 – “No, just no. This is a classic old-school ballad with a great epic build, that just doesn’t work anymore in 2020.”

Roy – 7 – “Bane has a lovely voice that really shines through on this song. It is quite similar to what they sent in 2012 with “Nije Ljubav Stvar”. This song has some lovely rock-elements to it that could make this song stand out more. Vocally it is maybe a bit too sterile, but this could be a contender!”

Sean – 4 – “His voice puts me in mind of Sergej Cetkovic, but he doesn’t have the sparkle or charming song that he had in 2014. It’s a nice Balkan ballad with all being said, just nothing standout or remarkable.”

Total = 25 (avg. 5)

Balkubano – Svadba velika

Daniel – 5 – “While I love to embrace a great ethnic entry, I think this one starts to teeter the line of being to regional and not a good candidate for a Eurovision song. It has its unique flare which makes it more interesting than some of the unoriginal entries but it does lose me as being too much of a folk song. I do not want to take away from the beauty that is Serbian folk music, I just believe this song is not made for a contest like Eurovision.”

James – 5 – “This is the bad joke song whose lyrics created controversy. Originally, the song is about a guy so crazy in love with a girl that he would bring a bomb when he meets her family and detonate it if she said no! Yikes. Now Balkubano were given the opportunity to change the lyrics as most people are (rightly) perturbed about the idea that a woman saying no results in homicide, and to their credit they realized their lyrics were in poor taste and bomb became wedding band and the explosions became heartache. So in the context of that, it’s a little hard to rate this one as we know it’s not going anywhere in this competition. As the (new) lyrics suggest, this would now be a perfectly serviceable rural wedding celebration song, complete with tempo shifting towards the end and accordion instrumentation. But yeah, there are better songs in this selection and even with new lyrics, the drama about the old lyrics will follow them to Rotterdam. Best to hit the reset button and try again in 2021.”

Melanie – 4 – “This song starts so funny. It made me even laugh. It sounds like a Serbian version of a Dutch carnaval song and I love carnaval. I only don’t like carnaval music…. But I’m happy that Serbia is trying something else. So points for orginality.”

Roy – 3 – “Some lovely Balkan sounds, but this needed more. The overall energy is very underwhelming and I would have liked a bit more diversity within the song too. Always cool to hear this kind of music when you are not familiar with it, it is a major reason why national final season is so much fun!”

Sean – 8 – “This is a true Balkan serve! This song clicks through the gears effectively, culminating in a final minute that is joyous and ticks every ethnic box in the Eurovision to-do list. This could be a real Balkan party on stage, and it’d be great to see something like this in Rotterdam, no matter how unlikely it would be to actually do well.”

Total = 25 (avg. 5)

Bojana Mašković – Kao muzika

Daniel – 9 – “This has among the most beautiful instrumentations in the contest. This song excels at creating an epic build. Her voice is crystal clear and super impressive. The instrumentation reminds me of those classic Balkan ballads like Bosnia and Herzegovina 2006, Serbia and Montenegro 2004 and Serbia 2008. This is an incredible entry, and while it will be somewhat similar to what Serbia likes to send, when it is quality, I have no problem with it being similar. Phenomenal song.”

James – 8 – “A top shelf Balkan ballad. A lot of dramatic elements occurring here. Mašković is, as far as I know, a complete unknown in Serbia and this is her first published song. And what a confident entry, laying down the law in a long established sub-genre at Beovizija. It starts off calm and then at the halfway mark lays down some heavy violin riffs and percussion. The song is itself a love letter to music, and being carried along a wave as if in the ocean. To that end, this is an entry that succeeds. It grips you for three drama-filled minutes and Serbia may have found a brand new star here.”

Melanie – 6 – “So Bojana can sing and you can hear it obviously in Kao Muzika. From the ballads in this national final, I think this one has the most potential to do well. It’s building great to an epic moment. Only thing that I’m afraid of, is that it’s just too much. Maybe she has to tone it down a little bit.”

James – 5 – “This has the potential to win me over live. As it stands it misses the mark just a little bit. The beginning drags on for a bit too long and I kind of lost focus to listen to this for the full 3 minutes. But if she can keep us hooked in her live-performance with her voice and a mysterious staging and look, this could become my favourite for Serbia to send. There is something here.”

Sean – 4 – “She has a nice voice and the song is very pretty, yes yes, but it just blends into a lot of other songs in this selection for me I’m afraid. I’d forgotten the entry a few minutes after listening to it, and that wouldn’t bode well if it was chosen for Rotterdam…”

Total = 32 (avg. 6.4)

Naiva – Baš, baš

Daniel – 5 – “This is a jazz infused melody with a bit of a French twist (with that accordion). It is a bit puerile but I think it is overall cute. I appreciate that there is nothing else in the contest like it, but I do think it will not really make that big of a splash. Overall it just is a cute melody to break up some of the ballads that dominate this semi-final. It really works hard to be the palette cleanser of the semi-final.”

James – 9 – “Sounds like something from the 1960s American pop scene and given a Serbian makeover. Nice use of traditional Serbian instrumentation, such as the accordion (which has a solo!) and brass instruments, and I do really dig Naiva’s deeper voice. This sounds like something more from Portugal’s selection than Serbia’s, so this is an entry with universal appeal. And the clap-along section provides opportunities for audience participation, as well as the heavy use of “na na na” for sing-alongs. And because of Serhat’s Law, it is now cool to use lyrics like that.”

Melanie – 6 – “Naiva has a great voice. Is it weird when I say that it kinda sounds Portuguese? I really love the accordion part in it and makes it stand out from the rest of the songs.”

Roy – 4 – “This started off as a bit of a campfire song. I could see a big group singing together to it, but then the real song started and it was a bit mehh. The usage of Bas Bas Bas as the main words of the song is also a bit odd and kind of puts me out of it. The longer this song went on, the less interested I was…”

Sean – 7 – “Well, this goes in the other direction from sounding Balkan! Naiva brings us a very Iberian flavour with “Baš, baš”, in a year when Portugal could potentially bring us French vibes… who said diversity was dead? Naiva has a rich, soulful tone to her voice and I can see this being a mood-lifter with a solid performance. Could be a surprise package!”

Total = 31 (avg. 6.2)

Rocher Etno Band – Samo ti umeš to

Daniel – 4 – “The song starts with a funky beginning and kind of teeters off towards the later part. It is an interesting mix of sounds and sonically sounds quite busy which is part of the appeal. Unfortunately, in my opinion, having the traditional choir sing while there is the synthesizer and then the loud strings makes the song feel somewhat muddled. I think there is something missing here to bring it all together, but it is still an ok attempt.”

James – 5 – “A dated electro-folk entry with too simple a bass track and beats with a few Serbian elements tacked on. These are (translated) lyrics that also best describe this song: “Like powder, the night falls silent, like a gentle whisper.” It’s a mood, it’s a whisper (not a careless one, unfortunately), and as soon as the three minutes are up the song and the memory of it have dissipated into the night.”

Melanie – 5 – “So I expected a more rock version of Iriao, but I got more electronic vibes than rock vibes. The song itself is quiet pleasing, but I was hoping that it sounded more like Nova Deca. It just misses some levels in the songs.”

Roy – 4 – “An ethnic song modernized, kind of lovely, but I miss some energy. Throughout the song it also kind of stays around the same energy-level it started on. This would have been something that I would have changed too. You must credit their efforts to modernize a sound that has been so similar for a very long time. The voice is pleasant, beat is pleasant. It shouldn’t win, but it is alright.”

Sean – 6 – “This has a unique mix of local flavours and EDM, although neither element really threatens to take a hold of the song and bring it up a level. Like most of the songs in this selection, the live performance could make or break it, but from a studio version viewpoint, this is a decent starting point but lacking a bit of polish or edge.”

Total = 24 (avg. 4.8)

Lazar Živanović – Puklo je nebo

Daniel – 6 – “This is a fun up-tempo song that really goes hard for the synthesizers. I think that this song, for all of its fun ambiance, is rather dated. But it is the mid early 2010’s dated so it is that weird line where it could be modern but seems out of place. I think it is a solid attempt and at least gives a different perspective when it comes to the musical genre. I would not be mad at all if this qualified, but I do not see it doing very well.”

James – 7 – “Finally, an entry that would work in a West Hollywood club, though this does take a while to get going (ramping up around the 1:15 mark after a slow build). But once it lets loose, this is a great party song with general lyrics about love that would be slogans during Pride week. Now this does not win any points for originality as we’ve heard songs like this at Eurovision and in West Hollywood lots of times before, but it works for keeping the party going.”

Melanie – 4 – “I expected something really different from his picture. Instead of a classy song, we got an upbeat dance song from Lazar. I see this doing very well in the Serbian clubs, but it sounds too generic for me.”

Roy – 8 – “This is really cool. This builds lovely in the first minute. The build-up to the drop is absolutely awesome. I had hoped that he didn’t immediately start singing in said drop, but it is what it is. But guys, let’s be honest here. How amazing would it be to have a cool Trance song (also a new genre for Eurovision) in the country with some of the biggest Trance DJ’s in the world being Armin van Buuren and Ferry Corsten among many others. Netherlands is the birthplace of house, trance and techno, so this would be an awesome pick for Serbia!”

Sean – 7 – “Wow! A song that sounds like old fashioned Eurovision and is modern at the same time? That’s weird… but this kinda works! It has a lot of the hallmarks of early 00s dance music and does feel quite retro, but it also has the style of modern EDM pop production that brings it just close enough to 2020 to feel relevant. This will need a strong performance to pull it all off on stage.”

Total = 32 (avg. 6.4)

Ivana Jordan – Vila

Daniel – 6 – “Oh this is more epic then some of the other entries and I think I can stand behind it. It surely presents a different point of view and at least keeps me somewhat entertained. I like the melody in the verses, but the chorus is a bit of a letdown in how basic and barebones it is. It is a mixed bag with highs and lows, at times it seems forward-thinking, sometimes it feels like a dated step backwards. I guess we should celebrate what we like? I guess.”

James – 5 – “Even with the violin, this sounds like a club track from the late 1990s. And for an EDM song to sound dated in a contest full of Balkan ballads really takes some skill. There is some aggressive violin taking charge, but its melody, while it can be catchy, is very familiar. Most of ESC United’s readers will have been conceived after a night out at a club with a song like this playing. For a retro song to work it needs to have some prominent feature that ties it into modernity or it is a reimagined version of what the past was (such as what synthwave does). This one does not have anything for a modern person to hang on to.”

Melanie – 5 – “Ivana is serving us electronis beats combined with violin music. It sounds like a classical Eurovision entry that would do well in the 90’s. I think that i would like it more without the generic electronic beats and giving me more violin. Now the songs tries to hard to be a banger.”

Roy – 6 – “Oehhh, this had me really excited when it started. Some lovely typical deep-house sounds to start off the tune accompanied with some violin. I had hoped it would evolve into something better though. The entire composition is incredible, but the drop/chorus is really lacklustre. Still I think it is an enjoyable piece and I am curious to see how it will sound live.”

Sean – 5 – “A decent summer hit in the making in the heat of southern Europe, but not really what I’d like to see on the Eurovision stage. It’s a bit bland considering it’s meant to be an uptempo party song, and the strings don’t add much to distract.”

Total = 27 (avg. 5.4)

Nenad Ćeranić – Veruj u sebe

Daniel – 5 – “I am not sure about the intro, but I think it could be somewhat interesting. I think this is the kind of song the spends the entire time building but does not really go anywhere. The instrumentation is well-done and the voice is nice. It seems a bit busier for a song of this more pop-ballad genre. I also think the ohhh’s in the background do not really do much for me. It is ok, I thought there would be more but I guess not.”

James – 6 – “A slow and meandering self-belief ballad with a gentle chorus no-one outside this region will remember. I suspect the self-belief is being drummed into us through hypnosis as this is more slow and dreamlike and not a display of newly discovered power like most self-belief ballads are. If I had not looked up the lyrics, I would have guessed this song was about a guy tucking his kid into bed for the night. Now granted I’m used to self-belief ballads being along the lines of Pantera’s “Walk,” but “Veruj u sebe” could use with some beefing up.”

Melanie – 6 – “So this really starts very promising with the spoken words and the slow built. The chorus sadly dissapoints me. There are lot of good parts in this song, but somehow the parts don’t connect well with each other. I just expected more from it after the first verse.”

Roy – 5 – “I don’t know what it is with this song, but it is actually quite enjoyable to listen to. I guess the layering is what does it here. To be honest though, this doesn’t really have replay value and this would not do too well at Eurovision either. It would be easily forgotten among other more “Out there” songs. In Beovizija, this could do decently.”

Sean – 7 – “Ah, this is pretty and serene. It’s quite a relaxed, easygoing song and I feel slightly enamoured with it because of this. Nenad has a great voice for this type of track. Is it really suited to the cut and thrust of Eurovision competition? Probably not, but for an ethereal track to soothe your ears you can’t go much wrong with this.”

Total = 29 (avg. 5.8)

Hurricane – Hasta la vista

Daniel – 8 – “Oh wow, this is immediately captivating and ethnic, they got me hooked. This song is like the antithesis of Ljubav je svuda, it exudes sex appeal and modernity (and I actually liked Moje 3). This song is a super lit single that is full dance rhythms and still is recognizably Balkan. The chorus is super catchy and easy to follow. It is not the most unique song in the world but within its confines it excels. Great job.”

James – 7 – “This was clearly composed specifically for Eurovision with its high camp factor and catchy “Hasta la vista, baby!” chorus. Hurricane are probably going to be this year’s KEiiNO, blending camp pop with subtle local flourishes, and will likely earn a lot of televotes this year as a result. However, their package is almost a little too perfect, and is missing that factor that takes it over the edge like KEiiNO. The best part of “Spirit in the Sky” is not the two great singers, but the madman who pops in to start yelling in Suomi to ramp the party up. Without Fred Buljo, “Spirit in the Sky” would be a slick dud.  “Hasta la vista” is missing that element of the unexpected to lift it to a true Eurovision classic. But hey, as a camp spectacle, I have faith “Hasta la vista” will at bare minimum deliver a great time.”

Melanie – 7 – “This sounds like a Serbian version of The Pussycat Dolls. The girls sing this with a lot of attiude and I really hate myself for liking this. The production is just so much better than 70% of the songs in the competition. I understand why alot of people want this to represent Serbia in Rotterdam. I just hope that they can also slay this song on stage.”

Roy – 3 – “The thing with this is, I am not a fan of this type of music at all. It sounds like something that belongs in the 2000’s and it does nothing to modernize the song. This era of pop and boy/girlbands being all the rage is something I would rather forget and steer away from. I guess this is a good example of it, but I just really don’t like it.”

Sean – 5 – “Sanja Vučić’s attempt to return to the Eurovision stage with her Hurricane ladies (including Knez’s daughter) has got a lot of Eurovision fans both inside and outside of Serbia talking. So I guess this is the favourite huh? I can see why a lot of people like it, but it seems a little cheap and generic for my liking. I’m sure I will still find myself dancing to this down the line, and regretting my words, but for now there are plenty of stronger options in Beovizija.”

Total = 30 (avg. 5)

Ana Milenković – Tajna

Daniel – 6 – “Balkan ballad intro if I have ever heard, this song at least incorporates some more interesting elements so that it is not “just” a ballad. It is one of the more unique ballads, but at the end of the day, it is rather standard fare. Also while the instrumentation and syncopation make it interesting, you can see that they added a bunch of the regular motifs as to make sure it ticks off all the boxes like the epic strings, the bass drum and ethnic wind instruments. All in all, a fine song and one of the good ballads.”

James – 7 – “A dramatic romantic ballad with piano and two dueling violins, with a searing violin solo towards the end. Ana will stand out because of name recognition, but also for the female pianist and violinists (allegedly well-known in Serbia), but there is one or two other ballads in the same vein worth more of shout. However, this is an enjoyable entry, and should she shock and win this selection, a bit of a revamp is in order to compete with some heavy-hitting ballads (such as Albania) in Rotterdam.”

Melanie – 5 – “So the first verse built very nicely. The chorus isn’t that strong, but then the violin part comes in and I’m interested again! Nevertheless Tajna sounds like 2 pieces that they tried to glue together due a violin part. So next year I want more violin and less singing.”

Roy – 5 – “Ooh I love myself some violin. The singing itself isn’t maybe the most noteworthy and the rest of the song is kind of forgettable. Also the Hi-hats that are randomly put on the back of this song are really weird and kind of out of place. I wish the violin was more prevalent throughout the tune and that we saw it back towards the end at least. Now it kind of leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth wanting for more.”

Sean – 5 – “I don’t know why, but this feels like the theme song to some Mexican telenovela. Perhaps that’s just me, but this song has some sort of over-dramatic quality to it that doesn’t make it feel too authentic to me, compared to some other slower tempo tracks in Beovizija this year. It’s inoffensive enough though.”

Total = 28 (avg. 5.6)

Milan Bujaković & Olivera Popović – Niti

Daniel – 7 – “This is a really cool duet that stakes its claim as one of the most forward-looking song. It is both cool and chill but manages to showcase Milan’s and Olivera’s voices in an impactful manner. I will say towards the middle of the song it gets slightly repetitive and Olivera comes in pretty late. Regardless, it is definitely more experimental in the spectrum of this that Serbia considers and I think this song is such a cool mood and brings an additional perspective to the national selection.”

James – 6 – “A modern take on the romantic ballad, with some modern production values. It essentially transforms your Balkan ballad into a cool, suave club track. Not entirely successfully, as it feels a little, dare I say, sterile. Perhaps its being cool left the whole enterprise feeling cold. Additionally, Popovic is not given that much to do and has little impact. There’s potential here, but this seems like a halfway house to another, better song than a standalone song in its own right.”

Melanie – 8 – “I LOVE this beat. The production of this song is amazing and their voices are great. The beat is kinda mesmerizing and keeps transforming in a minimalistic way. This is something I could put on my own playlist. Just wished that the girl had a bigger part in the song.”

Roy – 7 – “This is really interesting! An ambient piece with absolutely lovely vocals. The way Milan starts strongly with his vocals make sure that you stay hooked from the start instead of slowly getting into it with the risk of checking out and never really getting into it. This is legitimately really strong although I don’t think it would do well at Eurovision, but this could sneak it’s way onto one of my playlists!”

Sean – 8 – “An intriguing end to the Beovizija semi-finals. This has a The Weeknd vibe to it, with the slow, brooding synths and dark electronic feel, lending itself to a really fascinating staging. It’s one of the more interesting songs to me in this selection, and would be an alternative choice if Serbia went for it!”

Total = 36 (avg. 6)

Who would qualify based on our reviews? Let’s find out!

  1. Milan Bujaković & Olivera Popović – Niti – 36
  2. LIFT – Samo mi kaži – 35
  3. Bojana Mašković – Kao muzika – 32
  4. Lazar Živanović – Puklo je nebo – 32
  5. Naiva – Baš, baš – 31
  6. Hurricane – Hasta la vista – 30
  7. Nenad Ćeranić – Veruj u sebe – 29
  8. Ana Milenković – Tajna – 28
  9. Ivana Jordan – Vila – 27
  10. Bane Mojićević – Cvet sa Prokletija – 25
  11. Balkubano – Svadba velika – 25
  12. Rocher Etno Band – Samo ti umeš to – 24

Based on our team’s thoughts, these would be our qualifiers this evening. Will this be reflected in tonight’s results?

What do #YOU think of Serbia’s selection this year? Have we underestimated any of the songs? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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