Yesterday, Željko Joksimovic presented the song he will perform for Serbia in Baku, “Nije ljubav stvar”:
Joksimovic is of course Eurovision royalty. When then-Serbia and Montenegro debuted at the Song Contest in 2004, he came second with a song he co-wrote, “Lane Moje.” This was by far my favorite song of that year and I really would have preferred this to win over Ruslana’s “Wild Dances,” When Serbia hosted the 2008 Song Contest, Joksimovic co-hosted with Jovana Jankovic and also wrote that year’s Serbian entry, “Oro,” for Jelena Tomaševic. He also wrote the 2006 Bosnia and Herzegovina entry “Lejla” for Hari Mata Hari, a third place finish to another mad performance, this time by Lordi.
I’m actually concerned how Joksimovic would react if he finished just behind Buranovskiye Babushki or Jedward.
Anyway, the Serbian song presentation consisted of Joksimovic, Tomaševic, Hari Mata Hari, and other singers performing Joksimovic’s songs, before presenting the 2012 entry in both English (as “Synonym“) and in Serbian. esctoday.com reports that the version that will go to Baku is to be determined, but the official Eurovision website states that “Nije ljubav stvar” is the selection. I’m going to trust the official website in this case, and frankly, I’d rather the song be performed in Serbian anyway. While Joksimovic’s English is very good, he gives a better performance in his native language.
As for the song itself, it’s not as strong as some of the past songs he’s sent to the Song Contest, but it is still a pretty darned good Balkan pop ballad. The only thing that would have made me nervous would be that he is performing in the first half of the second Semi, which is turning out to be a ballad-heavy night: Portugal, Slovenia, Estonia, Croatia, and FYR Macedonia (sort of) are all ballads, while Sweden is presenting a down-tempo schlager song (that, granted, picks up a bit when it gets going) and Lithuania’s number starts off as a ballad before it turns into a disco track. I’m also presuming that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s song by Maya Sar is going to be a ballad as well. (UPDATED: Yes indeed.)
On the other hand, the only former Yugoslav republic not performing in the second Semi is Montenegro, and if the Balkan voting bloc is going to benefit anyone, it’s going to be Joksimovic. If I were a non-Balkan balladeer, I’d be very nervous right now.