Monday, March 13, 2006

Showbusiness Ethnopolitics: Evrop(j)esma

Despite Saturday's events, the final of Serbia-Montenegro's own pre-selection for Eurovision went ahead on Saturday night, and all involved might wish now that it hadn't.

For the last two years, Serbian and Montenegrin television (RTS and RTCG) have both held their own semi-finals (Beovizija and Montevizija) for the event before combining the best-placed songs from both shows in a final called Evropesma or Evropjesma, depending on who's asking.

In total, eight acts from each show qualified for this year's Evropesma, headed by the Beovizija winners Flamingosi and the Montevizija winners No Name, who had also represented Serbia-Montenegro in 2005.

Rumours had been widely circulated before Evropesma that the Montenegrin members of the expert jury were planning to vote en bloc, and unfortunately appeared to be confirmed when the Montenegrin jurors gave no points to Flamingosi. In fact, according to RTS, all the Beovizija songs received 20 Montenegrin points between them, compared with 52 points awarded by Serbian jurors to songs from Montevizija.

Once No Name's victory was apparent, the audience of more than 4,000 chanted 'Thieves' at the Montenegrin jurors, interrupted the reprise of No Name's performance and called for Flamingosi to perform instead (as they then did, joined by other performers from Beovizija). RTS has refused to recognise the Evropesma result, and as things stand the SCG entry may be withdrawn altogether: a solution is supposed to be reached by tomorrow (Tuesday).

A commentary in Danas today is especially pessimistic, comparing it to 'the match between Dinamo [Zagreb] and Crvena Zvezda [Belgrade]' which 'announced what would happen later in the then common [Yugoslav] state.' The famous football match in question took place in Zagreb in May 1990, when police beat up Croatian spectators in a fight between Dinamo and CZ fans and the Dinamo captain Zvonimir Boban launched a drop kick at one police officer; there are shades, too, of the 1991 edition of Jugovizija, where a block vote from the Serbian, Montenegrin, Vojvodinan and Kosovo juries awarded victory to the Serbian representative Bebi Dol.

The Croatian press have caught up with the story too, although with Severina scheduled to perform in the Evropesma interval, it's no wonder it was a little more interested in the show than usual. Večernji list, for one, is on the Flamingos' side:

'While Flamingosi this year, in combination with the legendary Luis, offered Europe a seductive and 'good-natured' [dobroćudnu] combination of Latino and urban pop, the song by the Montenegrin group No Name openly flirted with nationalism in its lyrics - because it is wrapped in a form that it presents the referendum which will be held in Montenegro on 21 May, and it is indicative that the very evening before, Eurovision is being held in Greece.'

Is their song Moja ljubavi (My love) nationalism by stealth? It's no Hrvatski sokole, much less a Don't Ever Cry, My Croatian Sky - Croatia's first Eurovision entry as an independent state. Here's the full text in Montenegrin (heavy on the dawn, sea, mountains and so forth): true, it can equally be read as referring to romantic love or to the patriotic kind, but the same could be said about - for one thing - Ivan Mikulić's DajeŇ° mi krila (You give me wings), which won Dora two years ago. So the jury's out.

The audience did like Severina's guest appearance, though...

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2 Comments:

At 3:29 pm, March 13, 2006, Blogger Werner Bossmann said...

...and today one of the Serbian jurymembers withdrew his vote in the hope that No Name gets disqualified for Athens. (Severina stole the show in Belgrade, by the way)

 
At 4:43 pm, March 13, 2006, Blogger Catherine said...

I can't see them agreeing anything by Tuesday. I don't know why they haven't simply rotated the selection between RTS and RTCG in alternate years a la Belgium - not that it's worth it now (referendum pending).

Expecting comments any minute now that there are already two Serbian songs in this year's Eurovision...

 

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