Zvezde Granda - Belgrade, Serbia

 Zvezde Granda - You go Find that Rising Star!

It's not exactly American Idol, but perhaps you could say it's sort of like "Serbia's Village Idol." The show is your typical singing show where contestants perform some variation of pop or pop-folk song, the judges do their judging thing, and then viewer text-votes ultimately determine the destiny of each performer. 

Zvevde Granda literally means "Grand Star" and "Grand Production" is the Serbian record label and production company co-owned by non other than Serbia's own Lepa Brena! 
(Seeing her in concert is on my Serbian "bucket list.")
Another fun-fact-to-know-and-tell is that Sasa Popovic, The Ryan Seacrest character on Zvezde Granda, used to be the accordion player in Lepa Brena's first 80's band. He looks super nerdy, but apparently ol-boy is quite the savvy business man. You go Sasa!

Okay, so why in the world am I giving you an overview of Zvezda Granda

Because I was in the crowd last weekend cheering on Subotica's own Daniela Petrik! How is that for a random, blog worthy experience?! It was a blast!

This is Daniela, greeting her fans before the show, and posing for a few pictures. Naturally! 

When Chris and I first moved to Serbia, we were shocked by how stunning ALL of the girls were. They all have long, super blonde or super dark hair, and the stores only sell once size, small and skinny, because they all have to be on the same diet. Did I mention that all of the girls seem incredibly tall?! Legs, legs, legs everywhere you look! Daniela has 6-inch heals on that definitely give her a little extra height, but even if she is not naturally the tallest of the bunch, she is no exception to the Serbian-beauty-queen-stereotype. She has the look that Zvezde Granda is scouting for. Her dress also reminded me of the white swan in the recent Natalie Portman flick, Black Swan. 

The rest of the contestants. 
Daniela flair.
More flair. GO DANIELA!
Darko - thanks for the invite! Ohhhh, and thanks for being Daniela's cousin! 

So, I knew that Lepa Brena was co-producer of Zvezde Granda, but I really didn't expect her to show up! I think I screamed the loudest when she walked up to the judging table. Our seats were directly behind her, and the whole time I contemplated greeting her in English . . . after all, she had lived in Florida for 8 years. I didn't do it though, and I am kicking myself for it now. The only people brave enough to ask the Serbian pop idol for her picture where the 10-year-old girls. 

One thing off my Serbian "bucket list."
Daniela's performance. 
Had to take a picture because her outfit was horrendous. I don't care who you are, that is bad!

This is the last picture I took because I thought it was so fitting. In this picture you can see a lot of excited fans cheering for that dark haired beauty, and in the middle, a distinguished elderly couple. They just smiled the whole time. No clapping, no screaming or waving of t-shirts or posters. They just smiled. They reminded me of my grandparents who were honest, gentle, simple, hard working farmers in Canada. 

It looks like the entire village came out to support their little rising star, and baba and deda put on their Sunday best for the occasion. Just thought it was cute.

In the end, Daniela did not pass. Sad. To be quite honest, I did not recognize or even understand any of the songs, so I thought she did as well as any of the other girls. Of course I am a little biased, but it seemed that the judges were slightly biased as well. For instance, that horrendous butterfly outfit received almost the same score from the "stylist judge" that Daniela received for her styling. Does that make any sense to you? Me either.  

Seeing Zvezde Granda live was totally an experience, and although she did not pass, I wish Daniela the best in her future career. Keep singing girl! 

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