The Serbian participants have been selected in the national final Beovizija 2018 organised by the Serbian broadcaster PTC. Out of 17 participants both jury and televoters wanted Sanja Ilić & Balkanika to win with the ethnic entry “Nova Deca”. This popular group is very well known in the Balkan. Especially the founder Sanja Ilić has already been involved in the Eurovision Song Contest. Back in 1982 he composed the song for Yugoslavia “Halo Halo” , which has been performed by the girl trio Aska. They ended up 14th in Harrogate.
Aleksandar „Sanja“ Ilić was born in Belgrade in 1951 (Yugoslavia). He has been composing since he was 12 years old! Sanja has even composed songs for other in the age of 16. For example “Baj Baj Baj” for Bisera Veletanlić, who came 3rd in the Jugovizija Festival 1976. Sanja has been celebrated as the youngest composer of Yugoslavia ever.
Beside his involvement as a keyboard in bands, he also studied architecture at the University of Belgrade. Over the year Sanja has been composing for various purposes such a film productions, theatre, TV and even the anthem for the football club Red Star Belgrade.
In 1998 Sanja founded the group Balkanika, which is specialized in world music with a strong ethnic influence. The usage of old instruments from the Balkan is very common. The specialty of Balkanika is to blend this traditional music with modern elements and approach. The song “Dolina Suza” is a perfect example of their music. Meanwhile there are more than 15 members in this band, while only six can go to Lisbon. The band has been touring throughout the world including Russia, USA and South Korea.
The song “Nova Deca” has only four verses and is the shortest entry by the lyrics. The meaning of the song is that we are in a generation of change, harmful thoughts have polluted the world long enough, but now the time of the new children has come. It’s about to remind who we are and why we are on earth and we can start a new era together. This kind of music has enriched the ESC since the 90’s and belongs to the contest. That’s why a lot of people tune in to watch not only music from the conserve, they want to listen to real music from countries they don’t know. Flying away for three minutes into a different world of sounds and rhythm. If this entry is presented well on the Lisbon stage it could do really well.
Top 10: 4
Chances for Top 10: 36%
Chances for Final: 64%
Serbia had its debut as an independent country in 2007. The same year Marija Šerifović could win immediately with the stunning ballad “Molitva”. The power ballad was the big favourite from the beginning. With the incredible and touching stage performance she could overwhelmingly win the ESC. The year after Serbia had the honour to host the ESC for the first time in the capital of Belgrade. It was a terrific show with one of the most beautiful ESC stages at that time. It made not only the Serbians proud, also the neighbour countries provided good entries. Before Serbia has been participating as Serbia & Montenegro for two years, as Yugoslavia did not exist anymore. In the ESC history the former Yugoslavia took part 27 times and could achieve one victory with “Rock Me” by Riva in 1989 in Lausanne. The debut year of Yugoslavia was 1961.
This year it’s going to be the 11th time for Serbia in the Eurovision Song Contest. The Serbian songs were mostly quite successful, out of 10 participations so far they could qualify for the Grand Final (64% chances) seven times and achieved Top10 ranks for four times, that’s a chance of 36%.
We also need to mention Željko Joksimović here as he has put the most effort in the Serbian success in the recent years and even beyond. He composed, sang his entries for Serbia & Montenegro as well as Serbia and also hosted the ESC in Belgrade 2008.