Today Serbia and Belgium announced the names of the singers who will represent their countries at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.
Due to financial constraints, there will be no Serbian national final in 2012, but instead they have decided to internally shortlist some songs and the singer will choose which one he wants to sing.
Serbia will be represented by a very familiar name to ESC fans: Željko Joksimović, who represented Serbia & Montenegro in 2004 with the big fan favourite Lane Moje. I know I'm probably going to be shot down in flames for even suggesting this, but I always thought this song was overrated and boring. He came back two years later, as writer of the Bosnia & Herzegovina song, Lejla. There's a pattern developing here: another fan favourite, and (IMHO) another overrated and boring song. He wrote the 2008 entry Jutro (ditto fan fave/boring song) when Belgrade hosted the contest, and this was a particularly annoying outcome as there was a perfectly wonderful poptastic song that year which would have made a great Serbian entry - "Beli Jablan" by Aleksa Jelić & Ana Štajdohar.
So in this blogger's opinion there is a very strong case against Mr J. However I have not completely written him off and would hope that he might try something a bit different this time - I'm not expecting him to go all Ovo Je Balkan on us, but something more uptempo would be nice.
Over to Belgium now. It's Flemish-speaking VRT's turn to choose the Belgian entry, which in recent years would mean one of my favourite national finals - Eurosong. However two years ago, VRT went with an internal selection which resulted in a very successful result for Tom Dice's "Me and My Guitar". So they probably thought, why change a winning formula? I had hoped for a big Flemish star name this year (I was hoping for a return for Kate Ryan) but it was a rather surprising choice - Iris, a.k.a. Laura van den Bruel. Of course all of us Lauras have to stick together, so I guess I'll have to support her!
16 year old Iris' musical style is a little reminiscent of Taylor Swift if her hit single "Wonderful" is anything to go by: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QGIT9kklEY and her song will be chosen from a list of songs submitted by a number of top songwriters.
Over in Slovakia, they also revealed their singer two days ago. Or did they? Their choice for 2012 was supposed to be big-haired rock singer Miro Šmajda, but now his participation is seemingly in doubt, due to an alleged 'misunderstanding'. Either way, it's sad news for faithful travelling companion as the TWiiNS won't be making a return visit....