2009: Elena - The Balkan Girls

Elena really is a Balkan girl! Born to Romanian-Macedonian parents on the 30th of July, 1985 in Bucharest, she can definitely sing her song with conviction. An strange but fascinating fact is that Elena comes from a family of priests, with many of the ancestors on her father’s side having been orthodox priests. Her mother played an important role in nurturing her musical interest, herself being a folk musician who Elena even performed with aged just 3 years old. A few years would pass before Elena really began to lay the foundations for her music career. Aged 11, she was enroled at the Children’s National Palace where she was given singing lessons. A mere 4 years later, in 2000, she won her first competition, taking home first place in the Little Bear contest. She followed up her success by participating in the Mamaia Festival the following year.

Her professional music career began to take off way back in 2003, upon joining the group Mandinga, a hugely popular latino band. They tried their hand in the Romanian preselection in 2005, but could only manage 4th place with My Sun, which went on to become a huge hit at home. In the beginning of 2006, Mandinga and Elena went their separate ways with the release of Elena’s first solo album following shortly after (June 2006) entitled Vocea Ta (Your Voice). Her single with the same name reached #8 in Romania, #175 in Russia and #88 in the Ukraine.was nominated for Best Song in 2006 and she also won the Radio România Actualitaţi prize for best performing act in 2007. The success continued, with Elena bagging the prize for Best Song of 2007 with Ochii Tăi Căprui (Your Brown Eyes).

2209 saw renewed success for Elena, with two consecutive #1 singles on the Romanian charts, The Balkan Girls and Disco Romancing. A A third single, Midnght Sun climbed to #5. Elena has also released two more studio albums during her career, Lilicea Vreariei (Flower of Love) and Te Ador (I Love You), re-released as a special edition with the addition of The Balkan Girls as a bonus track.

Participant Profile

  • Year 2009
  • Song title The Balkan Girls
  • Song writer(s) Laurenţiu Duţă / Ovidiu Bistriceanu / Daris Mangal / Alexandru Pelin
  • Language English
  • Video

In the final

  • Starting position 22
  • Rank 19
  • Points 40

In the semi final

  • Which semi final? Semi-Final 1
  • Starting position 14
  • Rank 9
  • Points 67
  • About the selection

    Romanian broadcaster Televiziunea Română (TVR) held a national final in 2009, entitled Selecţia Naţională to find the successor to Nico and Vlad from 2008. The date of the final was confirmed as the 31st of January in October 2008. TVR invited composers to submit potential entries from the 15th of November until the 15th of December. Rumours claim that as few as five entries were submitted, forcing the broadcaster to extend their submission deadline. These claims have however been strenuously denied by TVR, who stated that in fact over 250 entries had been received, with names such as Sistem and Mihai Traistariu among them. The final total of submissions was 217, of which 177 were able to proceed onto the next selection stage.

    A jury were given the task to reduce the number to 24 candidates, the names of which were revealed in January 2009. The 24 hopefuls were split into two groups, in each of their semi final heats which were held on the 27th and 29th of January. Videoclips of the 24 contenders were made available by TVR later that month. From the first semi final, 6 acts were chosen to take their places in the final; Popas Band, Blaxy Girls, Zero, Tabasco, Dalma and Tina. From the second semi final; Costi Ionita, Red Blonde, Elena Gheorghe, Cătălin, Alin Nica and IMBA. The six acts from each semi were determined by a 50/50 mix of jury and televoting.

    The final was held on the 31st of January, featuring 12 acts. Elena and The Balkan Girls won the top vote from the jury, gaining 12 points. However, she was only second favourite with the public, gaining 10 points; it was in fact Blaxy Girls with Dear Mama who received the most televotes and subsequently the 12 points from the converted public vote. This only managed to bring them up to a joint second place along with Cătălin and Stop, with Elena cruising to victory with a 4 point lead.

  • About the song

    The Balkan Girls is an uptempo number composed by Laurenţiu Duţă and Ovidiu Bistriceanu, with lyrics written by Laurenţiu Duţă, Alexandru Pelin and Daris Mangal. It is a tribute to the ladies of the region, rejoicing in their ability to party and their longing for the weekend to come around. The song is pure, unbridled pop and is found in two versions; the one which Elena performed at the Selecţia Naţională, and a reworked version which was launched at the same time of the release of the song as a single.

    In the run up to the contest, Elena Gheorghe promoted the entry across Europe, making appearances in both Berlin and Amsterdam. She also sparred against Turkish representative Hadise in a specially arranged event, Elena vs Hadise. She was due to make appearances in Moldova, Greece and Turkey, but the plug was pulled on these PAs for unknown reasons.

    The single is historic in Romania, because it is the first time that a Romanian Eurovision entry has managed to top the charts, where it enjoyed a two week stay. It hovered within the top 10 for over a month, finally dropping out of the charts in August. The single also managed to climb to #38 on the Ukranian charts and also made #172 on the UK singles chart.

  • Lyrics


    The Balkan Girls


    It’s time for me to unwind
    I’m gonna start my weekend with gin tonic and lime.
    My girls take me for a ride , ready to party and looking so fine.
    I wonder if beyond this , there could be something better.
    Cause I feel so good tonight, don’t wanna end this night.

    The Balkan girls they like to party like nobody , like nobody,
    For crowd delight , we’ll shine all night.
    The Balkan girls they like to party like nobody , like nobody,
    For crowd delight , we’ll shine all night.

    My hips are ready to glow,
    This record is so hot and I have so much to show.
    I’ll find a boy for a kiss.
    Who knows maybe he’ll be my prince.

    I wonder if beyond this , there could be something better.
    Cause I feel so good tonight, don’t wanna end this night.

    The Balkan girls they like to party like nobody , like nobody,
    For crowd delight , we’ll shine all night.
    The Balkan girls they like to party like nobody , like nobody,
    For crowd delight , we’ll shine all night.

    (You got to live your life)
    If you didn’t find out what love is about.
    And if you’re lonely baby.
    Just open your mind , you’re one of a kind,
    You got to live your life.

    The Balkan girls they like to party like nobody , like nobody,
    For crowd delight , we’ll shine all night.
    The Balkan girls they like to party like nobody , like nobody,
    We’ll shine all night.