Bosnia & Herzegovina is back, y’all! This country last appeared at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, and their presence has been missed. This year, their broadcaster BHRT has once again opted for an internal selection, going with the team of Dalal & Deen, cellist Ana Rucner, and hip hop artist Jala.
The group has varied experience with Eurovision. Deen represented Bosnia & Herzegovina in the 2004 Contest, earning ninth place. Though this is her first participation, Ana Rucner’s husband Vlado Kalember represented Yugoslavia in the 1984 Contest. Jala is the co-writer of the group’s entry “Ljubav Je”, which you can listen to below:
Bosnia & Herzegovina has always been one of my favorite countries in Eurovision, and I had a theory that if the country returned in a strategic way, they could be the next former Yugoslavian country to win. I’m not sure that will come to pass, as there are a lot of elements here that have not found success previously.
The song leans a little too close to hard rock, while the rap elements might make this a tough sell for juries. I’m not a fan of the staging for this video, as it comes across like two separate presentations getting slapped together rather than one cohesive piece.
However, there are things I like about this entry. I appreciate that the core of this is a male/female duo rather than a duet. There was too much of the latter in last year’s competition, so this is a refreshing change. Also, though this has the trait of other ballads from the region where the song just stops (see last year’s entry from Montenegro or Serbia’s 2012 entry), the abrupt end feels a bit more natural rather than “oops, we’re at the three-minute mark.”
I’ll be curious to hear the final version of this track, as well as what staging may be used in Stockholm.