Earlier today the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of music unprofessionals—pulled out a map and tried to locate Skopje. We then hitchhiked our way to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to review Esma & Lozano’s Eurovision song “Pred da se razdeni”. Did Esma’s cat-calling draw us in? Or did we want to tranquilize her? Read on to find out…
Vebooboo: If Hungary’s ByeAlex is my guilty pleasure this year, then this is the shit I hide deep inside my bedroom closet where nobody else can find it. But like all hidden secrets, this one is oh so good. Lozano opens up the song, and I get ruul ruul into the song on a normal level. Then add to that the unbelievably disjointed entrance of 8,000 year-old granny Esma onto the stage, and I bust out into Eurovision euphoria. This song has no real value or merit, and everything it does by combining two clashing styles should make the song a huge flop. But I actually have a weird feeling this could at least make the Final, if only for comedic effect. If Russian babushkas can finish second, then perhaps Macedonian ones can make the top 25?
Deban: After the unfortunate dissolution of “Imperija”, songwriters were drafted in to create another masterpiece. Although it is fair to say they’ve succeeded, there is one critical problem here. “Pred da se razdeni” is two songs squeezed into three minutes. Also, instead of being a duet, it ends up being a vehicle for Lozano. Esma, the real shining star, is left wailing in the background with two hidden back-up singers. This is no fun! If truth be told, it is highly disrespectful to a star who’s crafted a highly successful career in music and film. What’s the point of a duet that lacks cohesion, and then belittles the main star? This fact totally overshadows any merit this new composition possesses.
Mr Häggkvist: The worst song change I’ve seen in decades. This was a terrible decision and I think all of us know that although “Imperija” was not “Euphoria”, at least it was fun, catchy and I didn’t get as bored with it. I don’t understand why Esma is still in the project. I’m sorry but it looks like Lozano’s song.
Alexander: Unlike Bulgaria, I think Macedonia downgraded when they switched from “Imperija” to “Pred da se razdeni”. Even though it’s weaker than its predecessor, the good news is that it’s still a decent entry. Lozano’s parts in particular are well-composed and pleasant to listen to. However, as much as I love her, Esma ruins the whole thing. The lyrics she sings are really stupid. “Hi I’m Esma”– umm, okay? Her sections don’t blend well with Lozano’s either. It’s as if the producers took two separate songs and mashed them together. Even at the end when they sing side-by-side something feels off and incoherent. Obviously this was a rush job to meet the Eurovision submission deadline after “Imperija” was recalled. Nonetheless, it’s still a decent entry that could have been a lot worse.
Bogdan: Yes, “Imperija” was so much better. This one here sounds like two different tunes squeezed into one for the sake of calling it a duet. Whereas “Imperija” represented an interesting blend of cultures (the point of this year’s ESC slogan “We Are One”), “Pred da se Razdeni” sounds like a clash of styles that work well individually but not together. It’s a mess! And Esma deserved more than basically being a featuring act on Lozano’s song…
HK Dick: Macedonia to Eurovision is like second cousins to weddings. You feel the need to invite them but they wouldn’t really be missed if they didn’t turn up. This is a car crash waiting to happen judging by the live performance. Poor Lozano must be wondering what he has done to deserve this. I expect this will be our unintentional comedy moment of the night. A total mess.
Wiwi: They say this is sung by “Esma and Lozano” but it feels more like “Lozano featuring Esma.” Does this actually count as a duet? It’s like they are singing two different songs. But guess what: I like both of them. Lozano opens with some fierce Macedonian R&B that seriously whets my appetite. Then Gypsy Diva Esma fills my pie hole with some delicious caterwauling that makes me want to shake my head like a chai wallah in India. It’s also good for a laugh: When she starts singings “lay-lay-lay” at the 2:30 mark I think Lozano should burp her! In any event this is my guilty pleasure—and I’m feeling real, real naughty for this one.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 4.86/10