Knez has been chosen to represent Montenegro in Vienna with the song “Adio”:
Knez is an established Balkan singer who had his first hit in 1992 with “Da l’ si ikada mene voljela.” Since then he’s released 10 albums, including a greatest hits album. Of interest, he collaborated with Montenegro’s 2012 Eurovision representative Rambo Amadeus on the weirdly delightful “Đed Niko.” He also competed on the Serbian version of Survivor.
Željko Joksimović contributes his fifth Eurovision entry as a songwriter with “Adio.” While I have generally liked the songs he’s brought to Eurovision, I have to admit this year’s offering leaves me a bit cold. “Adio” sounds like an uptempo retread of “Lejla,” the entry he wrote for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Hari Mata Hari in 2006. Moreover, Knez doesn’t really bring much personality to “Adio.” He is singing it, not interpreting it.
Granted, I am only judging the recorded track here. But “Adio” and its official video have raised a concern in my mind. Take a look back at the previous Željko-penned entries. In addition to a certain similar sound they also have a certain style of staging. People playing instruments are strategically placed around the stage and, as the song crescendos, the musicians all dramatically line up. Look at the Eurovision performances of “Lejla,” Jelena Tomašević’s “Oro,” and Željko’s own “Lane moje” and “Nije ljubav stvar.” They are all staged the exact same way.
Now watch Knez’s video for “Adio” again. Tell me they are not going to stage it the exact same way in Vienna.
I realize this may not be a quibble that the general audience watching Eurovision will have. But I am quite desperate for Montenegro to break from this template. Their stagings in 2013 and 2014 were creative. But frankly, creativity seems to be in short supply in Montenegro this year.