Let us rewind the clock back to 2013, and to give some context, Montenegro was yet to qualify to the Eurovision final after four attempts as an independent nation. After a few disastrous entries, it was about time that the spotlight was put on Montenegro – and that leads us to Who See and their entry Igranka.
Through an internal selection, it was decided that hip-hop duo Who See would represent Montenegro, with it later announced that Nina Žižić would join the duo on stage as a fellow vocalist. It’s not too often we see an authentic hip-hip group or artist take to the Eurovision stage, and it’s definitely one of the most undervalued and underrepresented styles at Eurovision, so in a sense Montenegro were heading into unchartered waters – at least in the context of their own history at Eurovision.
By 2013, I was more into following the pre-selection news, and I remember when this song first dropped. This song gathered an unprecedented amount of attention from Eurovision fans for a Montenegrin entry, and arguably was one of the most talked about entries of 2013.
It was undoubtedly Montenegro’s most modern entry, featuring both styles of hip-hop as well as dubstep. The song featured rap verses mixed with Nina’s incredible vocals and to top it all off, the song was completely in national language.
If there was ever a year for Montenegro to qualify to the final for the very first time, this was certainly going to be the year. The attention the entry got prior to the contest filled me with confidence that a song as good as this would be rewarded with results that reflect its quality.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. The song failed to qualify to the final, finishing in 12th place in the semi-final. Unjustified? Absolutely. So what went wrong for this performance? Song wise, this was high enough quality to reach the final. Yes it was a bit different for Eurovision, but often we see unique entries succeed – think Netta winning this year’s contest, for example.
Could it have been the live performance? Vocally the performance was good, but perhaps the staging could have given the perception that this entry was somewhat of a ‘joke’ entry. With the song being in national language, it’s obviously impossible for those who don’t speak the language to understand the song without a bit of googling, but from instant impressions of just watching the performance, it is possible that this entry just wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have been.
I personally love the staging. I think it’s original and memorable but not all minds think alike. It was fairly clear that this would be a bigger hit with the televoters than with the jury, and that ended up being the case as the jury vote limited their chances of reaching the final.
Overall this is one of the best entries from Montenegro to date. As much as I love a good Balkan ballad (I’m looking at you, Sergej and Knez!) this song was truly unique and deserving of a place in the final.
It’s a 9/10 from me!
Artist: Who See ft. Nina Žižić
Final Ranking: 12th in the semi-final