Back to form for Serbia

We have a confession to make. We never really understood the big fuss over “Lane moje”. Sure, it’s a nice enough ballad which was competently performed, but not a winner in our opinion. We loved Ruslana’s “Wild Dances” and rate it as a much more striking and memorable entry. Now Željko Joksimović is back in the contest, once again taking the role as performing artist after having played host to the 2008 contest in Belgrade and working behind the scenes as composer. Most notably he wrote “Leija” for Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2006.

With a CV like this it’s impossible to dismiss him as a possible contender for the victory. By all means, heaven knows this competition can be ruthless to returning participants and we’re sure quite a few wished they had the sense to stay away, or waddaya say Charlotte Perrelli/Nilsson, Dana International and Niamh Kavanagh? However, when you return with a 2.0 version of a song that was runner-up and arguably has gained even more popularity after the contest, you’re most likely in for a pleasant ride. “Nije Ljubav Stvar” undoubtedly has some strong qualities to it. It pushes all the right buttons and is the sort of prototype big Balkan ballad you’d expect from this corner of Europe.

Superstar Željko performs it with such confidence and pathos we’re almost in giggles, which we’re sure is not the intended effect. It’s just kinda over the top to our taste. Dima Bilan springs to mind. He also landed a podium finish with good song, only to come back a couple of years later to win with a poorer song. Can the same happen to Željko?

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