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  • Writer's pictureFleur Menezes

Slovenia at Eurovision - which language has had more success?

Today is Statehood Day or Dan državnosti as it is known in Slovenia. It is an annual holiday in Slovenia that commemorates the country's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

To mark the day, we're looking back at their Eurovision entries and see how they have fared in both Slovenian and English language.

Which language has been sent the most?

Slovenia has competed at Eurovision 28 times and has sent:

  • 15 (54%) entries in Slovenian

  • 11 (39%) in English and

  • 2 (7%) in a combination of both languages.

Their 2020 ‘Voda’ was also to be performed in Slovenian.

Grand Final appearances by language

Of their 28 appearances, Slovenia has appeared in the Grand Final on 16 occasions. When breaking this down by language we see an advantage for Slovenian compared to their total entries sent.

  • 10 times (63%) in Slovenian

  • 5 times (31%) in English

  • 1 time (6%) in both languages

However, from 1993 to 1998, Slovenia were barred from singing in English, so it does skew the result.

Qualification record

When looking at the times Slovenia has had to qualify for the Grand Final (including the 1993 and 1996 pre-qualifiers) the record is:

  • 55% success rate for Slovenian language (6 from 11)

  • 50% success rate for mixed language (1 from 2)

  • 25% success rate for English (2 from 8)

Top performing acts

The Slovenian language appears to have advantage in Grand Final appearances and qualification record, but what about their best ever results?

Let's take a look at their Top 5:

=5. Sestre ‘Samo ljubezen’ (2002): 13th place, 33 points (Slovenenian)

Sestre was a drag act that formed in 2000, the group’s name translates to Sister. Sestre caused some controversy when they performed in Tallinn in 2002 due to the nature of their performance. Their pre-selection win at EMA became a debate in the Slovenian parliament after anti-gay protests occurred with some European politicians proclaiming that Slovenia should not be admitted into the European Union due to the social attitudes to homosexuality.

The trio was made up of Miss Marlena (Tomaž Mihelič), Daphne (Srečko Blas) and Emperatrizz (Damjan Levec). The song ‘Samo ljubezen’ translates to ‘Only love’ and became a hit throughout Europe leading Sestre to tour around Germany, France, Sweden, Austria, Croatia, Italy, UK, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, and Estonia.

=5. Maja Keuc ‘No One’ (2011): 13th place, 96 points (English)

Maribor native, Maja Keuc who also performs under the name of Amaya was runner-up in her home country’s version of Got Talent. She lost to then 7 year old Lina Kuduzović who would later represent Slovenia at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2015.

Keuc has released two albums and many singles. She now resides in Stockholm, Sweden and was previously engaged to Jonah Nilsson who is the frontman of Swedish jazz fusion band Dirty Loops

'No one' won the jury vote and placed third overall in the second semi-final at Dusseldorf. The song finished fourth in the jury vote in the final.

4. Darja Švajger ‘For a Thousand Years’ (1999): 11th place, 50 points (English)

Darja Švajger is a veteran of Slovenia’s music scene and is also a two time Eurovision contestant. ‘For a Thousand Years’ was Švajger’s second tilt at the crystal microphone.

She has been performing since she was a child and went on to study classical solo singing and jazz at the College of Music in Graz, Austria. She went on to perform in many bands and orchestras upon completion of her studies. Švajger has released eight albums.

‘For a Thousand Years’ is a ballad that was inspired by Švajger’s four month sojourn in New York. It was one of the favourites going into the contest in Jerusalem but only received 12 points from Croatia and Ireland.

3. Tanja Ribič 'Zbudi se’ (1997): 10th place, 60 points (Slovenian)

Tanja Ribič defeated Darja Švajger at EMA to earn her ticket to Dublin. Ribič has mainly concentrated on her acting career since her European appearance. She has many television and theatre credits in her homeland and is married to fellow actor Branko Đurić.

‘Zbudi se’ translates to ‘Wake Up’ and is still a popular song in Slovenia although Ribič admits that she found it interesting that she won the national final as she sees herself as more of an actress. She has admitted that she did not take Eurovision too seriously but enjoyed her time there.

=1. Nuša Derenda ‘Energy’ (2001): 7th place, 70 points (English)

Anuška Žnideršič better known as Nuša Derenda has participated at EMA on seven occasions but has only been successful once. Her last attempt was in 2016. She has won numerous awards and released eight albums and numerous singles. Derenda remains a fixture in music festivals. Although achieving one of Slovenia’s best results at the Eurovision Song Contest, it did not receive a set of 12 points.

Recently Derenda celebrated 25 years in the music industry with a concert in Ljubljana. She also participated in the 2023 edition of Eurovision in Concert in Amsterdam this year. She has not completely ruled out a return to the Eurovision stage but has stated that she is satisfied with performing at concerts and promoting her music nowadays.

=1. Darja Švajger ‘Prisluhni mi’ (1995): 7th place, 84 points (Slovenian)

Darja Švajger’s first Eurovision attempt remains her most successful. Like ‘For a Thousand Years’, ‘Prisluhni mi’ or ‘Listen to me” in English is a ballad. Also like Nuša Derenda’s ‘Energy’ it failed to achieve a set of 12 points. Švajger won the Pop Singer of the Year award in Slovenia in both 1995 and 1996.

So, looking at their best six results of all time are even in both languages with an equal split in best ever result of 7th.

So which language is best?

Joker Out's qualification this year was the third in the Slovenian language since 2018 while an English language song hasn't made the Grand Final since 2015.

That entry, Maraaya’s ‘Here for You’, placed 14th in 2015 which is the best result for the nation in the last decade.

Although Slovenia has, for the most part, had a better record in Slovenian, their English language entries have been successful as well.

Ultimately, the nation can expect a level of success regardless of the language, as long as the entry is good!

We look forward to seeing what the nation brings in 2024.

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