ESC 2017 Review: Montenegro – Rocket to the Stars

Well, it’s definitely NOT a ballad.

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: Montenegro
Artist: Slavko Kalezić
Song Title: Space
My Ranking: 18th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 1st Semi Final
Final placement prediction: NQ

I have to confess, of all the countries in Eurovision this year, the one I want to visit the most is Montenegro so I have a bit of a soft spot for them despite their often strange and colorful entries. Out of the 8 times Montenegro has entered they’ve only qualified twice, both times earning modest scores in the final but never cracking the top 10. They’ve sent one of my favorite songs in recent memory “Moj svijet” but they’ve also sent things like “Euro Neuro” which would take longer to explain than I have patience for. They also sent last years total flop song “The Real Thing” so this year was a big question mark but in the end, I was absolutely not disappointed.

At first glance you might try to write off Slavko Kalezić because he looks like a gimmick but he is more than meets the eye. Slavko is a classically trained actor who has worked in the Montenegrin National Theater. He’s been singing and song writing for the past 6 years and he did a stint on the pan-regional version of The Voice being mentored by none other than Mr.Eurovision himself, Željko Joksimović. Slavko has appeared in movies, released singles, and albums, and is now working directly as the muse for a designer just for Eurovision. Slavko is a force to be reckoned with. His song “Space” is as equally interesting as him thankfully but unfortunately because of Montenegro’s voting history and the single being quite out of the ordinary I believe this will be a televoting favorite that flops with the juries.

I have to start out by saying that I unabashedly love disco. I [unironically] loved Serhat’s disco mix last year and I love a great dance song and “Space” delivers all of it. It’s synth pop, disco, electric pop, funk delight. It’s the type of song where I heard it and my mouth fell open and I instantly fell in love. The music video was so confusing and the fact that it’s not shot in normal fps makes it a bit difficult to watch so honestly it’s better to listen to the song alone. The lyrics are all over the place and contain completely off the wall phrases. The song starts with “linen is covered with feathers” and the lyrics just never make more sense after that but unlike Poland whose batshit nonsense lyrics are meant to evoke feelings, “Space” is meant to evoke something better: fun.

Remember fun?

Space is a little sexy, a little racy, and a whole lot of fun. It’s one of the most danceable songs out of the whole bunch and Slavko absolutely sells it. The thing that shouldn’t surprise anyone is how difficult this song can be to sing but watching Slavko live, he completely owns every second of it. I know that disco and dance songs are seen as jokes to a lot of people in and out of the music world but it’s not only extremely challenging to sing and dance at the same time (especially when you’re dancing all over the stage and not stopping for 3 minutes) but also disco songs/dance songs usually have a lot of high energy notes as well as sharp contrast between the chorus and verse to keep the energy in the song flowing making this more difficult to preform than many ballads.

I think it’s easy to say that this is a “stupid song” about “sex metaphors” but I’d actually count those among its positives. The song is a wild ride right to space, it’s truly unique in this contest and the image that Slavko has created for this performance from the background dancers that are him (which I hope we get these on stage via holograms like Belarus last year but that may be a bit expensive for Montenegro to spring for) to the hair braid whipping back and forth, it all comes together in to three minutes where I forget all my problems and just have a good laugh while dancing.

BRB, going to space.

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