ESCountdown 2019: #27 – “Sebi” by Zala Kralj & Gasper Santi, Slovenia

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IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 10, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

Last year, when we first launched our ESC coverage, I did the songs in random order. This year, I’m changing things up a bit. Due to copyright issues with the way I did my TKR videos on YouTube, my ESC show last year never made it to public consumption. So this year, rather than just cover the songs, I’m bringing you all the info on each song this year ranked in order of my personal preference from bottom to top. I’ll give the reasons for my personal rankings, and some background info on the song, artist, songwriters, and such.  Again, these are MY opinions, and I realize that the ESC fan community is a rabid one, and rarely everyone agrees with everyone else, so as they say, your mileage may vary.

In at #27 on my countdown this year is the official entry from Slovenia, “Sebi” by Zala Kralj & Gasper Santi, written by the artists. The song is performed in Slovene, and will be performed 5th on the first semi-final on May 14.

Kralj & Santi have been performing together as a duo for two years, and sometimes go by the abbreviated name ZalaGasper.

Where to start with this unbelievably beautiful number? This lush Eurobeat ballad is damn near perfect from beginning to end. Kralj’s vocals are spot on, and Santi’s music behind her propels the song comfortably from start to finish. The video for the tune is one of my faves this year, although I wish it had a bit more explanation to it, since the song is in their native language. Translated, the song is titled “To Yourself” and is basically a message from one person to another that says, paraphrasing here, believe in yourself, but if things go wrong, I’ll be there for you. The video uses imagery of airplanes to convey that dreams never die out, as we see first a little boy, and then a teenager, and finally the current man (Santi), playing with a cherished and obviously meticulously cared-for toy airplane, juxtaposed with imagery of woman on board a Lear jet (Kralj) and a drone. It’s start, simple, full of metaphor, and utterly gorgeous to look at. The problem here is that songs like this rarely if ever make it past the semifinals. Every year I’ve been watching Eurovision now – since 2016 – there’s been a great lush ballad like this, often in a language other than English, that has utterly captivated me from the performance, but have failed to make it to the grand final. I fear this song will do the same, but if it makes it through, I’ll be happily surprised and cheering it on, that’s for sure.

Slovenia made their debut in EuroVision in 1993, and have participated 24 times since, missing 1994 and 2000. Their best showing has been seventh place, which they’ve managed twice, in 1995 and 2001.  They have missed the final ten times overall. Last year’s entry, “Hvala Ne!” by Lea Sirk, finished at #22 in the grand final.

Here’s the official music video…hopefully you’ll see what I see in it…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead.

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Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! And hopefully, we’ll get to see the finals again this year somewhere – American fans, with Logo dropping coverage this year, let’s let AXS know we want to see it become the American home of EuroVision!

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