Tonight, we will see 16 competing in the second semi-final of Serbian national final Pesma za Evroviziju. Last night the right qualifying acts were as follows:
Chegi & Braća Bluz Band
Empathy Soul Project
Once again, only eight will make it through tonight’s second semi, which will be decided by 50% jury vote and 50% televote. Let’s meet the second batch of artists hoping to represent Serbia at Eurovision 2023.
Hurricane – ‘Zumi zimi zami’
Opening the show is Hurricane, an act well-known to Eurofans as they represented Serbia in 2020 with their song ‘Hasta la Vista’ and then ‘Loco Loco’ in 2021. Of course, they did not make it to Rotterdam in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and cancellation of that year’s contest, but they placed 15th in the 2021 Grand Final. However, this is not Hurricane as we know it: following the announcement that all three original members would be embarking on solo careers, they were replaced with three new members. They are Jovana Radić, Sara Kourouma and Miona Srećković.
As with songs from the original line-up, ‘Zumi zimi zami’ is a pop song with bags of attitude and a catchy hook guaranteed to stay in your head long after Thursday’s semi-final. While we’ve yet to see the song onstage or in a music video, if the new line-up are anything like their predecessors, we’re sure the girls will bring a powerful presence to the stage too. You can listen to their song below:
Nadia – ‘Devojka tvog dečka’
Nađa Terzić, billed simply as Nadia, is a 21 year old trained jazz singer and DJ from Belgrade. She first became known to Serbian audiences when she auditioned for the IDJ Show, a programme where artists audition to receive one million euros to kick-start their career and which finalist Stefan Shy also participated in. Nadia did not even tell her parents she was auditioning for the show, although of course they know now!
Speaking of her jazz training, Nadia has said in an interview with Srbia Danas that:
I think it is important to catch every field of music and to know about everything. It’s irrelevant whether tomorrow I’ll be doing pop, jazz, R’N’B, rap…it’s important for me to know that. Jazz is the foundation of music.Nadia, Srbia Danas
It is therefore unsurprising that for her song ‘Devojka tvog dečka’, Nadia has opted for a pop song with rock elements. She’s keen to show her versatility and to make it to Liverpool, even telling Srbia Danas she will get a tattoo if she makes it! You can listen to her song below:
Filarri – ‘Posle mene’
Filip Marinkov, best known as Filarri, is somewhat new to the music scene, having released his first single ‘Drama’ in 2021. However, he has a substantial following on TikTok, where he also enjoys a career as an influencer, having accumulated 5.6 million likes and over 120,000 followers at the time of writing. He debuted his 2023 single ‘U tami’ at the Music Awards Ceremony in Belgrade last month, an experience he described as “such a great experience and achievement for a young artist like me” in an interview with ESC Younited.
There are electropop and dance elements to FIlarri’s Pesma za Evroviziju entry, ‘Posle mene’, although he prefers not to define his music in terms of genre, characterising it as “modern and experimental”. Filarri has also said he will be bringing choreography and dancers to the stage and always thinks about the impact of live performances when he writes songs. You can listen to his song below:
Zejna – ‘Rumba’
Zejna Murkić, billed only as Zejna, is a singer from Loznica who is of Roma origin. She first became known as the lead vocalist of the pop-dance group Luna, who she sang with from 2009-2010. She also participated in last year’s edition of Pesma za Evroviziju with the song ‘Nema te’, making it to the final and placing 14th overall.
‘Rumba’ is a song Zejna told Srbia Danas she has had for a long time but instead of the ethnic dance pop song you hear now, it was actually “made for a musical with a completely different arrangement”. She has also given little away about the staging except that her performance will be “energetic” and she wants her voice and stage presence to do the talking, as opposed to lighting or props. Will this pay off? You can listen to her song below:
Frajle – ‘Neka, neka’
Frajle are a female three-piece from Novi Sad consisting of Nataša Mihajlović, Nevena Buča and Jelena Buča. They formed in 2009 and since then have gone on to perform in concerts around the world and have also released six studio albums, the latest being ‘Obraduj Me’ in 2019. The band also do a lot of humanitarian work, notably for breast cancer awareness and also the development of young girls in sports.
Musically, Frajle are known for close harmonies, a traditional sound and the playing of acoustic instruments and that’s exactly what you get with their song ‘Neka, neka’. You can listen to their song below:
Igor Vince & Bane Lalić – ‘Zato što volim’
Igor Vince is based in Belgrade and is recognised most for his work as a percussionist. He has notably performed with the famous Afrobeat, jazz and funk musician Femi Kuti. For Pesma za Evroviziju, Igor is joined by Bane Lalić (Branislav Bane Lalić) who is the frontman of the Serbian band MVP. Bane’s preferred genres are reggae, blues and hip-hop. Alongside MVP, Bane entered last year’s national final with the song ‘Tu gde je ljubav tu ne postoji mrak’ but unfortunately they failed to progress beyond the semi-finals.
For 2023, the pair have teamed up to present their song ‘Zato što volim’, a song with heavy funk influences and which prominently features Igor’s percussive stylings. You can listen to it below:
Egret – ‘Ako shvatim kasno’
Petar Pupić, who goes by the stage name Egret, is a singer-songwriter and producer who has mainly worked behind the scenes producing songs for other musicians. That all changed in 2022 when he began releasing his own singles.
‘Ako shvatim kasno’ was solely penned by Egret and in an interview with ESCBubble, he explained that the song was about the desire to be “to be less in my head and more in the reality of the present moment.” The song is a heartfelt, fragile ballad featuring strings, a piano and also some female backing vocals, which Egret explained were provided by the twin sister music duo Demo Mood. Egret has confirmed that the pair will be joining him onstage for the performance. As the first ballad of the night, could this stand out and earn Egret a place in the final? You can listen to his song below:
Dzipsii – ‘Greh’
Jovan Živadinović, who goes by the stage name Dzipsii, is a Roma singer from Serbia. He created his stage name as a way to reclaim the term that is often derisively directed at the Romani people. In addition to releasing three albums, he has also earned the approval of Konstrakta, who suggested his song ‘Bažem’ should be nominated for this year’s Music Awards Ceremony in Serbia.
‘Greh’ is a dance pop number laden with vocal effects so it will be interesting to hear how these translate in a live performance. The song was written in collaboration with Rap Gorilla (Ahmed Hajdarović) who is a producer in Serbia. You can listen to it below:
Eegor – ‘Starac dana’
Eegor originally started out as a guitarist, training in classical and jazz music, before taking the plunge into trap-hop music. He frequently incorporates teddy bears into his aesthetics, telling ESCBubble that they are there to represent “the innocence of a child in every one of us that must be protected and nurtured.” He is also a fan of Eurovision and his favourite 2023 entry thusfar is ‘My Sister’s Crown’ by Vesna.
‘Starac dana’ contains Eegor’s trap-hop sound but with epic elements to fit a large stage. In terms of his staging, Eegor will be incorporating his trademark teddy bears in the form of angel wings. He has also hinted to ESCBubble that he will be doing something never done on a Eurovision stage! You can listen to his song below:
Jelena Vlahović – ‘Kao grom iz vedra neba’
Jelena Vlahović is a singer who is also a qualified speech therapist. She has recently started pursuing music as her full-time career.
‘Kao grom iz vedra neba’ is a romantic ballad with a feel of contests gone by. Could Jelena kick her career off with a bang by making it to Saturday’s final? You can listen to her song below:
Ivona – ‘U noćima’
Ivona (Ivona Pantelić) is a Belgrade-based singer who viewers may recognise from last year’s edition of Pesma za Evroviziju. She competed with her song ‘Znam’, making it to the final where she placed 12th.
Now Ivona is back again, this time with her song ‘U noćima’, a techno-house influenced track that definitely wouldn’t sound out of place in Euroclub. Will she bring the party and another spot in the final? You can listen to her song below:
Gift – ‘Liberta’
Another returnee from last year’s national final are Gift, a Novi Sad-based band. They entered last year with their song ‘Haos’, placing 13th. The band are heavily inspired by the Britpop genre of the 90s and initially gained a following by performing covers of bands such as Suede, Radiohead and Placebo.
Gift’s 2023 offering ‘Liberta’ is a song with a powerful chorus whose lyrics deal with the idea of living life with the freedom you had as a child. As Britpop fans, we’re sure they’d love to go to Liverpool but could they manage it? You can listen to their song below:
Milan Bujaković – ‘Fenomen’
Milan Bujaković is a singer who has attempted to represent Serbia at Eurovision before, competing in the 2020 edition of Beovizija, the contest Serbia previously used to select their entrants. He performed the duet ‘Niti’ alongside Olivera Popović and the pair made it to the final, placing 9th overall.
Now Milan is back with his solo effort ‘Fenomen’, which has been produced by Alek Aleksov who has helped produce four Eurovision songs, including Bosnia-Herzegovina entries ‘Lejla’ in 2006 and ‘Bistra voda’ in 2009. Could such a successful production team stand Milan in good stead? You can listen to his song below:
Duo Grand – ‘Viva la Vida’
Duo Grand are a (you guessed it) Serbian singing duo! As this appears to be the first song they have released together, it was difficult to find much about them as performers so they will be hoping their song speaks for itself tonight.
‘Viva la Vida’ starts off as your quintessential ‘popera’ track before becoming something entirely different, containing musical elements rarely associated with the genre. If there’s one thing Eurovision is known for it’s the element of surprise, so could this bode well for the pair? You can listen to their song below:
Anđela – ‘Loše procene’
Anđela (Anđela Despotovic) is a singer-songwriter who has also worked as a producer and audio engineer, ensuring well-known Serbian music festivals Exit and the Belgrade Jazz Festival ran smoothly. She has released two singles prior to this: ‘Za Kad Ti To Treba’ in 2020 and ‘Molitva’ (not that one!) in 2022.
‘Loše procene’ is a midtempo pop song whose lyrics deal with someone whose lover’s affections have run cold and who is now hiding behind a fake smile. You can listen to it below:
Doris Milošević – ‘Tišina’
Doris Milošević is a film and voice actress, makeup artist and singer, originally born in Split, Croatia but currently working in Belgrade. She is known for her appearances in a number of film and television shows in Serbia but it is in her voice acting that she is particularly prolific, having provided Serbian dubs for ‘Rio 2’ and the 2013 TV series ‘Avatar: The Legend of Korra’.
Now Doris will be hoping to make another big appearance, this time at Eurovision, with her song ‘Tišina’. It is her first single and is an upbeat pop song that is sure to close the show with a bang. You can listen to it below:
So now you have got to know the sixteen artists competing in the second semi-final, who do you hope will progress to the final? You can watch Pesma za Evroviziju on YouTube at 20:00 GMT/21:00 CET on Thursday 2nd and Saturday 4th March.