The participants for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest are stacking up; over the past week, several more have been revealed and the announcements did not stop for the weekend. On Saturday, February 17, the news broke that Montenegro is the latest country to choose their singer for this year.
As reported by eurovision.tv, 35-year-old Vanja Radovanović will represent his adopted country in Lisbon, Portugal, this May. The Serbian native won this year’s edition of Montevizija, the Montenegrin national selection, with the song “Inje.” He competed against four other contestants: Katarina Bogićević, Nina Petković, Vana Popović Martinović, and Lorena Jankovic.
Born in Belgrade, Radovanović has been active on the music scene since 2004. Despite this, he has only released one studio album, Svi životi moji, which was released in 2016. He is signed with record label Campus d.o.o.
For last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Montenegro’s national broadcaster, RTCG, chose to select their participant internally, and they chose 32-year-old singer-actor Slavko Kalezić. After he failed to qualify for the grand final, network honchos decided that a national final format would most likely give them a better shot in 2018.
Montenegro first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007, previously having participated as part of Yugoslavia, as well as Serbia and Montenegro. The year the nation debuted was also the year they received their worst ranking ever, 22nd place in the semi-finals, with participant Stevan Faddy. Their best result was in 2015, when popular singer Knez placed 13th.
On the whole, Montenegro has not done very well in the Eurovision Song Contest. Out of the 10 entries the country has sent, having not participated in the years 2010 and 2011, only two have made the final. In their non-qualifying years, the closest a contestant has come to making the final was in 2009, when Andrea Demirović came in 11th place. For the most part, acts from Montenegro tend to place somewhere in the middle. The majority of the songs submitted have been in Montenegrin, although the last two years saw the participants singing in English.
As for the reception from the Eurovision community regarding Vanja Radovanović being chosen for 2018, fans seem to be split down the middle. While many feel “Inje” is a deep, meaningful ballad, which most certainly has a chance at qualifying, others are disappointed that Montenegro would send what they feel is quite a bland entry.