Zdravo Makedonija! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has arrived in Skopje on the final leg of our Wiwi Jury tour of 2017. After taking a stroll around the Old Bazaar, we gathered to discuss FYR Macedonia’s entry for Eurovision 2017, Jana Burceska with “Dance Alone”. Is Macedonia’s attempt at Scandinavian pop our favourite, or would we rather leave them dancing alone?
Jana Burceska – “Dance Alone”
About Jana Burceska
Jana came to fame in FYR Macedonia in 2010, when she appeared on the first season of Macedonian Idol. There, she placed fifth, and ended up as the highest-placing female singer. Jana also participated multiple times at the Skopje Fest competition. Jana’s back catalogue includes a number of different styles of song, from big band to rock to folk. As she told us in London, the release of “Dance Alone” marks a new direction for her as she transforms music from a mere hobby into a career.
“Dance alone” reviews
William: Sometimes you have to look back to move forward, and Jana Burceska does that beautifully in “Dance Alone”. Musically this updates 80s electro for today with precision production that melds on-trend with nostalgic. But this isn’t just a pop piece. The lyrics — inspirational without being overly sweet — remind us that our greatest advocate lies within. You don’t need outside approval to make the most of today or tomorrow. “All I need to keep moving is the sound of my heart beat,” she sings. “I will dance alone, wherever I am the rhythm follows.” Among the most moving dance pieces I’ve ever heard. Bravo!
Antranig: “Dance Alone” is an amazing effort by FYR Macedonia — the most underrated Eurovision country may finally change its fortunes. Lyrically, this is amazing — from a country that sang about doughnuts just a year ago. The big concern I have is that it is more radio-friendly than it is stage-friendly — I can’t picture how it would look on the Eurovision stage. If FYR Macedonia can nail the staging, they have a gem on their hands.
Bernardo: I really like FYR Macedonia’s entry this year. From the pop banger quality to the 2017 incredibly developed production — it all seems perfect. But for some reason I struggle to connect with the song, probably because it falls in the generic category for me. In a sea of songs with strong lyrics and meaning, the only quality “Dance Alone” has is being uptempo and having a vocalist with an interesting voice. It’s 50/50 for me.
Chris: How has FYR Macedonia pulled this one off? From perennial no-hopers to delivering, arguably, the best pop song in the entire contest. There’s traces of Xenomania influence here which should definitely appeal to televoters. Jana has clearly thought out her stylistic choices throughout and it’s fair to expect something impressive in Kyiv too. The country has never finished in the top ten: that’s surely about to change.
Deban: This would’ve made a fabulous Girls Aloud comeback record. “Dance Alone” is the sassiest slice of lipstick pop. It may have originated in the East, but it sits firmly in the West. With the right staging, FYR Macedonia will get its best Eurovision result with this entry. “Dance Alone” may be generic, but it is also slick, totally on trend, and irresistibly danceable.
Sami: After many years struggling at the semifinals, FYR Macedonia is finally ready to reach the final. And this year that is not even enough — I feel like they are in it to win it. “Dance Alone” is not just a typical pop song, it’s much more. It’s touching and has lots of emotion, something that most dance songs don’t have. I don’t know if this is a song to dance to at Euroclub though. It makes me want to turn off the lights and dance alone around my room.
Kristin: FYR Macedonia is clearly in it to win it this year. “Dance Alone” is one flawless production, and Jana’s presence is felt all the way through. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to dance alone to this. This requires a crowd of party people! No doubt that this will be a floor filler in Kyiv, and a certain qualifier as well. FYR Macedonia have brought their A game and are making sure that Europe knows it.
Robyn: “Dance Alone” is a ridiculously amazing pop song, but there’s one big unknown. We don’t really know what Jana sounds like live, in full effect. YouTube offers six-year-old clips from Macedonian Idol, but there’s no evidence that she actually sounds like a cross between Nina Persson of The Cardigans and Charlie XCX. Until she hits the rehearsal stage in Kyiv and shows us what she’s got, I remain very cautious.
In our Wiwi Jury, we have 38 jurors but only room for eight reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.79/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!