Initial Review: “Breathe” by Vladana (Montenegro)

Eurovision is a tough contest for countries like Montenegro: they’ve participated eleven times since their debut in 2007 for just two qualifications — and no top 10 results. Following a series of contests where Montenegro tried a different genre each year and failed to qualify each time, they sat out the 2020 and 2021 contests. Now they’ve returned with “Breathe” by Vladana.

On the surface this is a power ballad, but it has a lot of movement to it — from the very first bars on the piano there are sweeping, swirling elements to the music which gives it a feel of traditional dance music (think waltzes, ballrooms, etc.). Vladana’s vocals expertly lead the emotional charge to this song, which is about the loss of her mother in 2021. Her voice shifts from delicate to forceful without missing a beat, although the music doesn’t always follow suit with as much volume as I’d prefer to hear.

Clearly a jury song, this will be performed in the second half of the second semi-final. It’s still going to be a tough ask for Vladana to qualify, but I think this gives her the best chance she has. Some elegant staging with dancers who emphasise the movement of the song I discussed earlier seems to be the way to go, even if she’s not moving much herself. Even if Montenegro don’t get a qualification out of this, I think this is one of the best songs they’ve sent in, and a good place to start building towards some consistent success at the contest.