Sanja Ilić & Balkanika – Nova Deca (first and second rehearsals, inteview and gallery)

Get ready to travel to a whole new dimension as Serbia completely brought its own flavour to this year’s Eurovision stage. Take a look in our gallery.

Serbia is competing in the second semi-final as start number 3. The country is represented by Sanja Ilić & Balkanika and their song Nova Deca, which is written by Sanja Ilić, Tanja Ilić, Danica Krstajić and Darko Dimitrov.


Second Rehearsal

Michael, United Kingdom (from press centre) This song is very ethnic and generally I like Balkan ballads and music, but as soon as the wailing starts on this song, I’ve had enough. The drums are the best part of the song and help it along, but everyone has to have a bottom song and I’m afraid this is it for me this year. So Sorry. The ladies are wonderful performers and Sanja is a great singer,  but this one’s not for me.

Pedro, Portugal (from the arena) The performance works so well live. The choreography looks great as the sync is perfect and the audience is never bored, even if it’s not a favourite. The outfits are also another perfect factor for the performance. After the first chorus, the mood of the performance is even elevated higher due to the game of lights that goes on. While I love the song and the performance, I think it may reach only to a very specific audience and may not qualify which is sad.

Complete the Sentence

First rehearsal

The stage is filled by six elements: the flautist (Ljubomir Dimitrijević), a percussionist and four of the group’s vocalists. It is the flautist that is in charge of the performance beginning but is quickly replaced by Danika Krstić who starts singing in her beautiful long lilac dress with black elements. The same dress – with a few different details – is also the outfit chosen for the two other female singers that cover Mladen Lukić, only appearing during the song’s chorus.

Talking about the female singers’ dresses, its pattern goes along with the drums presented on stage. And since we mentioned the black elements, the only male vocalist is all in black.

Overall, the group continues on key throughout the entire performance and surely knows how to look good while executing choreography, even if simplistic. Joined by a blue background throughout almost the entire performance, the very ending is surely dramatic just like the song and ends with the camera going up from their faces.

They surely brought ethnic aspects into the contest that may give them extra points for distinction.

How Sanja Ilić & Balkanika was chosen

For the first time since 2009, Serbian broadcaster RTS brought back Beovizija as their method of selecting their Eurovision representative. 75 entries were submitted via an open call where songwriters of foreign nationality were allowed, but the performers had to be Serbian. Furthermore the songs had to be sung in one of the languages in Serbia.

17 entries were selected for the national final, which took place on the 20th of February. A combination of jury and televoting selected Sanja Ilić & Balkanika as the winners with Saška Janks as runner-up.

Serbia at the Eurovision Song Contest

Back in 2007, Serbia, as an independent country, joined the Eurovision Song Contest – and what a debut. They won with Marija Šerifović and the song Molitva. In 2012, Željko Joksimović represented the country and finished third. These two are the only top 5 results from Serbia, which however also have a 6th place from 2008 to look back on.

The country failed to qualify from the final three times, in 2009, 2013 and again in 2017, and as such the country have never missed twice in a row.

In 2015, Serbia also finished in top 10. Bojana Stamenov took her turn for the country with the song Beauty Never Lies and ended in a 10th position.

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