At last! National Final season officially starts tonight, and in just a few hours we will know the first act and song of Eurovision 2015. After an internal selection last year, Macedonia are kicking things off with a return to the Skopje Fest format. The show starts at 20:15 CET and can be streamed on both MRT 1 and MRT SAT. With a field of 20 acts, including past Eurovision stars (Tamara Todevska and Vlatko Ilievski) and an X Factor winner (Danijel Kajmakoski), the competition is sure to be intense. You can find details of all the acts HERE. Annoyingly we won’t hear the songs until they’re performed later, so we can’t even big up our favourites or dis the ones we don’t like.
But before you head off to stock up on snacks and witty twitter one-liners, join us for a quick recap of the country’s recent Eurovision history. They rarely light up the leaderboard, but y’all can’t deny that Macedonia make the contest a lot more interesting.
2014: Tijana with “To The Sky“, 13th place in the semi-final with 33 points
2013: Esma and Lozano with “Pred da se razdeni“, 16th place in the semi-final with 28 points
2012: Kaliopi with “Crno i Belo“, 13th place with 71 points
2011: Vlatko Ilievski with “Rusinka“, 16th place in the semi-final with 36 points
2010: Gjoko Taneski, Billy Zver, and Pejchin with “Jas ja imam silata“, 15th place in the semi-final with 37 points
2009: Next Time with “Neshto shto kje ostane“, 10th place in the semi-final with 45 points (jury opted to save Finland)
- How many sets of “douze points” has Macedonia received since 2009? In the grand final, two (Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia) in 2012. And three in the semi finals; Slovenia (2014) and Albania (2010, 2013).
- Who has Macedonia awarded their recent “douze points” to? In the finals – Turkey (2009), Albania (2010), Bosnia & Herzegovina (2011), Albania (2012), Denmark (2013), and Montenegro (2014). In the semis – Turkey (2009), Albania (2010), Bosnia & Herzegovina (2011), Serbia (2012), and Malta (2013, 2014).
- How many Macedonian acts have received writing credits for their entry (either music, lyrics, or both)? Just Kaliopi in 2012
Best Scoring Entry:
2012: Kaliopi with “Crno i belo“, 13th place with 71 points
Macedonia have tried and failed with rock many times. But Kaliopi took a different approach towards the genre. She came up with a catchy tune, added in some girl power with her awesome back-up, and opted for strobe lights rather than the usual eye-burning pyro. The song was certainly memorable, and while it didn’t contain any super-crazy guitar or drum solos, the more simple composition allowed for more emphasis on Kaliopi’s wonderful, gravely vocals (including her inhuman screech).
Most Memorable Lyrics: “Look into my eyes now; I’m not a loser, you should know; I don’t surrender till the end; there’s no rising without falling” Ok, ok. We believe you. Just don’t scream again… ever!
Worst Scoring Entry:
2013: Esma and Lozano with “Pred da se razdeni”, 16th place with 28 points
Esma and Lozano were originally meant to sing “Imperija“, an early fan favourite. However, Macedonian music critics weren’t so happy with it, and after some pressure, the broadcaster switched to “Pred da se razdeni”. It was certainly a rush job, sounding like two songs in one. Veteran Romani singer Esma was also upstaged by the talented-but-amateur Lozano for most of the song. The result? Second-from-last in the semi and a lot of disappointed jurors and fans who thought Imperija would have done much better.
Most Memorable Lyrics: “Hi, I’m Esma and I’m singing to you” Singing? Bye bye Esma.
2000: XXL with “100% te ljubam”, 15th place with 29 points
This may have been Macedonia’s best scoring entry at the time, but it was a hot mess. It starts as a harmonious, African-style chant à la The Lion King. However, once the percussion is joined by other instruments, it becomes a snake charming number with clashing notes all over the place. The group’s low placing forced Macedonia to sit out of the contest yet again. XXL never recorded another song.
Here is what Team Wiwi has to say on Macedonia’s recent performances:
Kristin: I’ve always had a soft spot for Macedonia. They usually bring something fun to the table, and they’re not afraid to be different. However, I think they often suffer because of this… they should have reached the finals a lot more after the 2008 rule change. Maybe I have what many people call “Macedonian Syndrome”? If so, I’m not worried, it could be a lot worse. Besides Kaliopi, who I believe is a goddess, my favourite Macedonian entry would have to be Tose Proeski’s “Life” from 2004. Good song, good lyrics, and most importantly, an amazing singer. May he rest in peace! My least favorite is 2010’s “Jas Ja Imam Silata”. I can’t quite explain why, it just annoys me. That said, its the only entry I don’t like.
Deban: FYR Macedonia’s record at Eurovision is largely unimpressive. However, Kaliopi deserves recognition for showcasing a killer falsetto in her folk-rock number, ‘Crno i Belo’. Her 12 successful albums, unbridled sass and a truckload of awards make her a regional treasure. The lady is a formidable force.
Egemen: Due to my ancestry, I have always felt a connection with Macedonia. Unfortunately, it is one of the most unlucky Balkan countries in the contest. Can they do better in the future? Who knows! My recent favorite is the beautiful blonde Tijana Dapcevic. I love “To The Sky”. The simple lyrics make it easy for even the most basic English speakers to sing along to. Although she was my favorite, the song didn’t qualify, and I blame that on the staging and Tijanna’s voice on the night. I also like the dance track “Ninanajna”, the ballad “Life”, and the all-out rock number “Crno i belo”. My least favorite is their debut entry, Vlado Janevski’s “Ne zori, zoro”.
Patrick: We have seen so many different things from Macedonia – a huge exploding praline, a performance in black and white, and, of course, a lady who wants to go to the sky. They may have never won, or even placed in the top 10, but they bring a great diversity to the contest. Who could forget the terrifying screams from Kaliopi in 2012 or the amazing Tose Proeski (blessed be his soul). I hope that Macedonia will finally win an edition in the near future or even now – keep believing!
Who was your favourite Macedonian artist? And could 2015 be their year?
YOU CAN FOLLOW ALL OF OUR MACEDONIA EUROVISION 2015 NEWS HERE.
Photo: Sander Hesterman (EBU)