ESC 2017 Review: Serbia – Ring Too Deep

I actually do like this song but for some reason I always forget which one it is until I remember the video has her in a suspended ring so I hope they do that on stage as well to tie it together.

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: Serbia
Artist: Tijana Bogicevic
Song Title: In Too Deep
My Ranking: 16th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 2nd Semi Final
Final placement prediction: 14 of 26

Serbia is one of my favorite countries at Eurovision usually. Not only did they win on their debut year as an independent country with one of the most stunning ballads to ever grace the stage, but they won in their own language for the first time since the language rule had been dropped. They’ve qualified 7 out of 9 times with 4 of those qualifications ending up in the top 10. Serbia usually has impeccable staging as well so I’m excited to see what they might whip out for this number but I wasn’t as wow’d by this song as I thought I would be and hearing the live version so far has actually made it drop lower (in my personal list) than I originally ranked it.

Tijana Bogićević has previously been to Eurovision as a background singer for one of my favorite Serbian entries, “Čaroban”. She is a 35 year old pop and R&B singer with a fair trail of singles behind her in Serbia. She’s one of several folks who were originally background singers in past Eurovisions who are now stepping in to their own spotlight (much like IMRI from Israel and DiHaj from Azerbaijan) though that always makes me worry because singing back up and being the star of the show are two very different skills.

For me the problem isn’t just that her live vocals haven’t lived up to the studio track but also that I don’t really find myself falling all that in love with the studio track either. The song is so melancholy and it doesn’t give enough drama or excitement. For a while this was one of the songs that I could just never remember. I actually incorrectly thought Serbia hadn’t released their song for almost a week because I forgot what the song sounded like and incorrectly assumed this was Cyprus or something else. The lyrics are just okay, the sound is very similar to a lot of remixes of songs I’ve heard before and when she starts in with the “falling too deep, I’m in too deep” it sounds to me like a part of a Guster song and my brain will just start playing that instead because I like it better. The song is so high up my list because I like it just fine and I couldn’t say I disliked it more than a lot of other songs but I wouldn’t say that’s a great compliment for Serbia.

I think it’ll end up in the middle of the pack because Serbia has a strong voting bloc and the song will be kind of unique in the second semi final. As for staging  they might go with her sitting in a ring singing like they have in the music video. I think actually that might be a really strong staging for them to have. With background dancers and some other elements to make the stage feel dynamic, interesting, and mysterious. When I watched her live versions she doesn’t seem to have a ton of charisma nor does she move around a lot so having her in a ring might make it seem like she’s just not able to move around, they could also easily swing the ring around and do something with moving scarves to make the stage more dynamic without having to force Tijana to do much leg work.

My fear for people who have spent a lot of their time doing backing work is that when they need to be powerhouses they may miss their boat and this song is very subtle but in the studio version I thought they had told her to tone it down. Hearing her live for the first time I’m worried there were no studio notes but rather that’s as high as she could get the energy to go. Of course nothing does more for your energy than a packed stadium of 70,000 screaming faces so all the best wishes for Serbia on turning it out.

But I worry she might actually be in too deep.

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