Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — travelled to FYR Macedonia. Our destination was the picturesque Lake Ohrid, where we sat at a lakeside cafe and discussed Kaliopi‘s song “Dona”. Were we delighted by “Dona”? Or was it a disappointment? Read on to find out!
Kaliopi – “Dona”
Bogdan: My first impression of “Dona” was positive and I was surprised to see so much disappointment in the fandom. Despite the dated production, its chorus is unique and easy to remember. Not to mention that Kaliopi gets points for singing again in her native language and for choosing songwriting talent at home, quite literally. “Dona” will fare much better in the contest that many fans give it credit.
George: God, I have too many things to say for this song. It’s a really amazing and powerful song with Balkan sounds (thanks, Romeo) and quite meaningful lyrics. This is my second favourite this year and I think it will do really well in the final. Kaliopi slays and her wonderful voice makes the song even better. I know the live version is going to be even better and thus, I have really high expectations.
Angus: I didn’t like “Crno i Belo”, so “Dona” already had a hard job to do, before the crazy old school production kicked in and Kalipoi started wailing. The one thing the song has going for it is that the hook is crazy catchy, which totally worked for Kaliopi in 2012, and she has hella years experience on her hands. Unfortunately, however the rest of the song is weak and it feels like Kaliopi would have benefitted from something more upbeat.
Antranig: “Crno i Belo” is very close to being my all-time favourite song, so naturally I was excited about Kaliopi’s return. I was very disappointed hearing “Dona” for the first time. It has grown on me immensely since then but I don’t think this will be memorable when millions of viewers hear it for the first time in May. That said, Kaliopi missing out on the final would be an unthinkable travesty.
Chris: Oh, Kaliopi. Rumours about her return were going around all the way back in Vienna, so naturally the hype machine meant “Dona” was up against it from the start. Her standing in the Eurovision fan community will not be replicated in the general televote, I fear, and “Dona” simply isn’t as good a song as “Crno i belo” was. There’s no real wow moment and instead we’re left with a very able vocalist making the best out of a song that’s just…”there”.
Deban: “Dona” latches onto an emotional wave conjuring a deep sense of longing and gratitude. Authentic in its form, this entry was penned by Kaliopi’s former husband to mark her return to the contest. Although the lyrical structure may appear repetitive, Kaliopi’s expression and rawness makes it magic.
Josh: I’m super disappointed in this effort from Kaliopi. “Crno i belo” was one of my absolute favourites in 2012 and perhaps my standards were set too high. “Dona” is like a dated ’80s rock ballad and the only thing I can honestly remember in the song is “Dona, dona, dona, dona, dona…”. I don’t think that will be enough to save FYR Macedonia in the semi-final.
Padraig: In 2012, Kaliopi delivered just a little too much Balkan realness for my sensitive ears to handle. Nonetheless, “Crno I Belo” was imprinted on my mind for evermore. Not even an amnesiac could forget that supersonic screech. Fast forward to the present day and she’s offering us a vastly different entry. “Dona” makes for a pleasant listen and is typical Kaliopi. However, the Macedonian singer is so deep in her safe zone that she may as well be inside a playpen. The track takes absolutely no risks, resulting in a fairly nondescript three minutes. It also possesses an old-fashioned feel and could easily be substituted with her first Eurovision entry 20 years ago. I never thought I’d say it, but I miss Kaliopi’s screech.
Rezo: A solid and well composed melody with a magnificent voice, this is what I can say about the song. Kaliopi has undoubtedly a great voice and her song grows on me because of that.
Robyn: Just like “Crno i belo”, “Dona” will have limited appeal to countries outside the Balkans. But that Balkan appeal was enough to get FYR Macedonia 12th place in 2012, so I can see it somewhat working again in 2016. “Dona” is an emotional ballad, expertly delivered by Kaliopi. While it doesn’t do anything for me, I still admire its artistry.
William: I don’t get the hate. You say dated, I say nostalgic. You say it does nothing for you, I say it’s massaging my G-spot! Kaliopi, a diva of the first order, excels live. A digitally re-mastered video cannot convey her power or her unique voice, which reminds me of an opera singer who has smoked for several years. This is not a slight, but rather an attempt to describe the indescribable. This song will fare far better than many Eurofans think. She’s too good of a performer for it not to.
William C: Kaliopi is back, and I am so happy that she is singing for FYR Macedonia again. While I loved “Crno i belo”, “Dona” just does nothing for me. Comparing the two, I just feel disconnected to “Dona”. It’s a lot more old style, and I find the chorus rather annoying. However, Kaliopi is a fantastic singer live, so maybe she can impress everyone with an epic performance. It’s nice to have a Balkan ballad in the competition though, but will the rest of Europe agree?
In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 12 reviews. The remaining 28 scores are below.
The highest and lowest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average score. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 2 and a high of 10.