Milan Stanković is this year’s Serbian representative to the Eurovision Song Contest. The competition is over 50 years old and is sponsored by the European Broadcasting Union. It is a bit like American Idol, with the artist singing the one song and being judged by television voters (50%) and international juries (50%) of music industry professionals. The artists selected are usually young and obscure and few go on to huge careers.
Stanković in the video above is bit of a sensation here in Serbia. His song and image are everywhere. He has a strange look, but the girls love him. The song is Ovo Je Balkans which means “This Is the Balkans” and it is a catchy song based loosely on the folk music of the region. One line in the song refers to the fact that Serbians kiss each other 3 times which distinguishes them from other countries. The 3-finger salute and this comes from the sign of the cross in the Serbian Orthodox Church, in which one uses three fingers to make it.
Eastern European countries take the contest much more seriously that Western European countries. When the song came on last night in the finals, we heard fireworks in the city. Milan was the eighth singer up out of 25 and we thought he had the best song we heard. There were a variety of styles, from the Mariah Careyish Azerbijzan singer to Bosnian Serb metal.
In the voting, fans cannot vote for their own country. Serbia came in 13th of 25. A German girl won the contest.