The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rate and review the 41 competing entries of Eurovision 2019. Next we visit North Macedonia where returning artist Tamara Todevska has the ballad “Proud”. Did we agree with her message? Read on to find out!

Tamara Todevska with “Proud”

“Proud” reviews

Antranig: Tamara Todevska is the reason I fell in love with Eurovision back in 2008. I wasn’t expecting something as amazingly trashy as “Let Me Love You” and I’m glad she’s come with a credible ballad which showcases her vocals. It’s a quality entry with subtle yet clever Balkan flourishes. Staging will make or break this — they’ve failed in that regard recently but a simple ballad is hard to mess up, or so I hope. As a studio cut, it is my favourite ballad of 2019, tackling very important subject matter.

Score: 9/10

Bernardo: North Macedonia should be proud of their entry. After trying the big pop production for two years and failing miserably, they took a step back and thought of a new strategy. “Proud” perfectly walks the thin line between being considered an actual female empowerment ballad and just tokenism. An incredible message to support a movement that should have started long ago. Tamara boasts a strong vocal delivery and the track has some nice production. You can see there is time invested in it.

Score: 6.5/10

Josh: Line after line, Tamara delivers meaningful words and heartfelt emotions (especially with lines such as “Shine your light, go and break the rules”). This is the kind of positive message that women and girls need to hear these days. Tamara’s voice shines like the sun — and yet, when I’m thinking of all the songs, I can’t ever seem to remember the words to this one, and I don’t know why. Without purposeful staging, this could have an uphill battle standing out, but it is by no means a bad song in any way.

Score: 7/10

Oliver: This is something rather different to what we have seen from North Macedonia these past few years, as their two previous entries had both been all about the song. However, with “Proud”, North Macedonia have focused their entry around the singer and voice. This song was tailored for Tamara and taking a deeper look at the meaning shows that it resonates with her on a personal level too. It’s not my favourite entry from the Balkan nation but it definitely has the potential for a good stage show.

Score: 7/10

Pablo: Tamara is letting us have it. “Proud” is indeed an anthem that’s beautifully orchestrated and greatly sung. This song has a lot of little, yet interesting details that break from many songs about this topic: The cello solo, the pausing at key parts, the stark piano notes… what could have been derivative is now punchy and unique. The message and lyrics may feel literal at times, but with strong enough staging, this could be a moment that will finally take North Macedonia back to the final.

Score: 7/10

William: Borderless, timeless, powerful, classical, contemporary — “Proud” ticks so many boxes. A power ballad of the first order, it glides from verse to chorus owing to the masterful control and melodic vocals of Tamara — one of North Macedonia’s brightest gems. If she can nail this vocally during the live show — and with tasteful staging to fit the stirring tune — I see no reason why she can’t slay her way to the final.

Score: 7/10

Robyn: So, we allocated the reviewers before the song was released. Looking at it now, it seems crazy to have all the reviews for a song about female empowerment coming from guys — so Renske and I will joining in here too. As a woman, the song doesn’t do much for me. It creates a sad serious world where being female is just the worst thing. And it’s up to women and girls to get themselves out of this shitebox. The chorus urges, “Tell them/Raise your voice and say it loudly”, without considering that it would be better if society would just listen to women in the first place, without the need for shouting; without fear of speaking up. I like the concept behind “Proud”, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. From the class of 2019, Hatari do better social commentary.

Score: 5/10

Renske: I was invited by my fellow powerwoman Robyn to review this entry as well. Coming from a country where a lead political figure emphasised that women have “no ambitions”, female empowerment is very important to me. “Proud”, on the other hand, gives me solely “female” and no “empowerment”. In this world, we women are trying to stand up, but nobody, as Robyn pointed out, gives us the opportunity. Tamara is a in fact a powerwoman and deserves to be proud and to be seen, but the predominantly male songwriters of this entry let her down.

Score: 6/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 29 jurors but only have room for eight reviews. The remaining scores are below:

Angus: 4/10

Anthony: 8/10

Antony: 6.5/10

Barnabas: 6/10

Calvin: 6/10

Chris: 5/10

Deban: 8/10

Essi: 6.5/10

Florian: 5/10

Izhar: 7/10

Jack: 7.5/10

Jonathan: 7/10

Julian: 7.5/10

Kristin: 6.5/10

Lucy: 5/10

Luis: 8/10

Lukas: 6/10

Mikhail: 5.5/10

Ron: 7.5/10

Sebastian: 6/10

Tobias: 3/10

We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 9.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.44/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all our Eurovision 2019 reviews and rankings

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Dawid
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Dawid

Ok, bring it on. I’m not a big fan of “be a fan or everybody will call you hater” songs. Not a big fan of “I’m proud of something I had no influence on” songs either. If this song helps any woman in dealing with her problems, I’m glad she has it, but for me it’s just a social statement that happened to be a song and I don’t really like it in ESC. It’s not bad song, don’t get me wrong, but I bet that like 60-70% of her future votes will be due to statement. Compared to other… Read more »

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

I love Robyn, but us “boys” here really are not such snowflakes. 🙂 There is genuine admiration for the music out there somewhere, which is the underlying cause for the praise, I think. Bring it on, indeed.

Jim
Guest
Jim

this is such a downgrade compared to their awesome entries in the past two years…. they always messed up the live performance but at least they used to give us awesome studio versions

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

robyn’s review is on poinT. i don’t think the intended message gets thru

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

I’m afraid we’re going to lose this gem to SF 2, as it’s not even in my top 10 For that semi but in my top 20 overall. This is their third entry in a row that I love and I really hope that they get their staging right and finally qualify again. As a man I of course can’t relate to the lyrics but I feel like they are empowering but maybe a bit shallow. All things considered, an 8/10 for me.

Karl Fradgley
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Karl Fradgley

One of the under rated entries this year – Austria and this are very lovely songs

Kris
Guest
Kris

This has got a great message behind the song , powerful vocals. If this were Eurovision song with a message contest , this could have contended to win , but unfortunately the melody is a bit dragging. It’s ok , but I wouldn’t really ever play it. A 5/10. The running order position is good but it’s surrounded by bigger favs and that puts it at a disadvantage. So half a point reduced. The country doesn’t have diaspora but the song does have its few fans , another half a point deducted. A 40% chance to go through I’d reckon.

Colin
Guest
Colin

NORTH MACEDONIA – I am genuinely moved by this wonderful orchestral score. The message is well intentioned and worthy to listen to. However, the empowering lyrics next to an elegiac music create a mixed reaction. At the same time, I can appreciate Tamara’s wonderful voice, violins and the message it’s trying to convey, but it’s also making me sad. While I am feeling this, something tells me that my first instinct should be smiling and saying ”Yeah!” and not offering a tissue. It’s a song with a strong vibe, but maybe not the one it was going for. Nevertheless, if… Read more »

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

The orchestral accompaniment is indeed excellent on this track.

CookyMonzta
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CookyMonzta

Way better than last year’s, but not better than Jana’s (2017), despite the very bad staging which killed it.

ESC LOU
Guest
ESC LOU

I don’t mind proud but it’s really not my favourite… I normally LOVE North Macedonia’s entry, and don’t get me wrong this has a strong message and Tamara will be able to perform it well live, but this year it just seems like something is missing… 6/10

Rimig
Guest
Rimig

I do like “Proud” surprisingly much. Besides it’s message, it sounds elegant like a piece of classical musical theatre and Tamara’s voice is smooth as silk. In my opinion, this deserves to be in the final although I am quite sure they will stay in the SF. In my personal list, at least, it sits on spot number 9 so for me it’s a “Well done, North Macedonia!” 2. Greece (9.0/10) 8. Russia (7.5/10) 9. N. Macedonia (7.5/10) 10. Estonia (7.0/10) 11. Hungary (7.0/10) 12. Romania (7.0/10) 16. Ireland (6.5/10) 17. Armenia (6.5/10) 20. Austria (6.0/10) 21. Denmark (5.5/10) 27.… Read more »

Tibor
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Tibor

This is another one of the acts that’d deserve to go to the final instead of one of the automatic qualifiers, but that probably will stay in the semi. It’s a well performed ballad with a strong (and of course still relevant, a couple of gender equality laws don’t change the word over a few decades) theme and a hint of a jazz vibe, but just not original and impactful enough next to all these smoothly produced pop tracks in the second semi-final. An exceptional vocal performance could pull this up and out of the ordinary, but does Tamara Todevska… Read more »

Its me
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Its me

The song to me underrated, Tamara has a great voice that need to be appreciated more and the song have a powerful message, yes some of the lines are weak but the song is average 7.5 not the best but not the worst one

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

It’s a relatable message for mothers and daughters wrapped in a traditional package (so, targeting a very specific crowd). This could have been recorded by Barbra Streisand or Bette Midler, for example. So, it’s respectable, even if old fashioned. I read the lyrics as the lament of a mother that can’t accept that her daugher still have to fight things that should have been completely over by now. So I get all the sorrow on Tamara’s beautiful vocals. But I feel she misses an opportunity by not taking a more assertive posture, especially after the “go and break the rules”.… Read more »

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Indeed. Well she can still break the rules on the ESC stage, but the EBU might fine her if she goes too far. 😀
Maybe throw her shoes at the camera? I dunno.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Hahaha, not throwing a shoe again please. But the video helps with the message based on the change of posture of the women there. I’m guessing they’ll show them on the screens. Maybe changing the colors of the stage from something cold to warm will also help a transition from sorrow to affirmation.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Interestingly, this song’s review status has a very similar history to that of Conchita’s “Rise Like A Phoenix” in 2014. When I first heard both songs, I thought they were far too slow and dramatic for what powerful message they were trying to send. But then I sat and watched Tamara’s entry with my cousin and friends, and they were all visibly emotionally moved by “Proud”. The message hit them like a tonne of bricks. Tears were even shed. This has forced me to look at the song again. Sure enough, both “Proud” and “Rise Like A Phoenix” have very… Read more »

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

Yes, but Tamara doesn’t have a beard. I am not joking. Fantastic gimmick without which Conchita wouldn’t have won.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Which raises the question: Is the “women’s empowerment theme” more powerful to viewers than “the beard” was?
The difference being that the former is not a “gimmick”, whereas the latter may have been interpreted as such.

Whisker
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Whisker

That’s a very good question. And I agree with you.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

I guess the thing about Conchita is that the entry appealed to several different audiences. Some voted for LGBTQ awareness and its empowerment message, some for her killer vocals, some because it was a very well thought performance piece and yes, some for the “gimmick” of seeing a bearded lady on the stage. The same would apply to Netta (“me too” message, charismatic performer, crazy vibe, creative pop song, catchy hook, gimmick chicken sounds etc) or even to Salvador (beautiful melody, romantic lyrics and foreign flavor, heartfelt performance, his mannerisms, his background story). The math to win Eurovision became more… Read more »

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Well thought out. So that means we are looking for something both profound and gimmicky to win this year, perhaps. Quite a lot of acts tick all those boxes this year. It might be a close call.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

On the other hand, the current frontrunner is a song that doesn’t have gimmicks at all. Unless they come with crazy staging, which I definitely don’t think it will happen. I hope that after the rehearsals we don’t have only 2 or 3 clear favorites.

Una
Guest
Una

I think this song merits a bit of discussion. Let’s see how I can put my thoughts together. It’s an empowering song towards women, in particular young girls. There’s a lot of discussions on women’s empowerment. There’re almost everywhere and there’s a reason for it. Otherwise it could probably resonate with other people (not white straight men that are in most cases oblivious regarding the privileges they have for their mere white straight masculinity) but all the words and visual imagery points out at women in different life stages. There’s a clear target/focus there but that’s not bad. Women’s empowerment… Read more »

Arrivederci
Guest
Arrivederci

I hope this isn’t a pattern:

2018: Toy (Israel) (Men are Stupid)
2019: Proud (North Macedonia) (Women are Oppressed)
2020: There IS a wage gap you MRA, sexist, homophobic, racist nazi! (IDK, probably Sweden) (Do even need to say?)

DISCLAIMER: I don’t believe these things are real, this is all in good fun. As Denmark says, Don’t get too political.

NickC
Guest
NickC

I find it opportunistic. A female empowerment song won last year, so lets pick a similar song this year….

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

It can defo be seen as opportunistic though Toy was VERY appealing. Message, energetic, an unconventional artist – I say that as a compliment.

Idan Cohen
Guest
Idan Cohen

It’s a big no for me.
It sounds as if it came straight from Eurovision 2002.
Very outdated, very yawny.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

Unlike Moldova, North Macedonia brings a female power ballad that has something interesting in it. It is not dated, but classy. The problem here for me is that it feels longer than it actually is, so it gets boring after two minutes. The staging could be another problem, but Tamara have said is going to be on point… we’ll see. Sadly, the song is not for me. About the message, it is not up to me, but I like what Robyn and Renske have pointed out. I really want North Macedonia to qualify. However, I think Albania will win the… Read more »

Aisling
Guest
Aisling

It’s a good attempt… But not my cup of tea unfortunately. I like the message.

Sonam
Guest
Sonam

Great vocals, nice song with a message and I am really optimist that the staging will be decent. Tamara deserves a spot in the final

esc stan
Guest
esc stan

Excellent song, hopefully it brings them their best placement

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Musically, it is SO similar to her 2015 entry (you know…the one that should have been picked…instead of Autumn Leaves).
The composition, along with her voice, have the power to deliver an epic entry. The lyrics…are a bit too on the nose. If this was presented in her native language, this would be a contender for the win for me. As it is, I see it having a good chance of getting to the final, which for N.Macedonia, must be like winning the contest at this point.

Loin dici
Guest

At first few listen, eventhough I like the music, I don’t really know what to think about the lyrics. After listening to it repeatedly, seems like it was intentional: intentionally direct, cliche, and made so people can relate to it as soon as they hear it. Like Purple Mask said one time, Dimitrov and team might’ve read about how sad music actually made people happier and applies it to this song, albeit might be a tad too straightforward in presentation. Eventhough not many people below me likes it, Dimitrov and team seems to know what they’re doing or what direction… Read more »

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I am honoured that you read my comment. 🙂 Yes, this comes across to me as an experiment to put the proudest lyrics possible against the saddest possible music, in an extreme way. Plenty of other songs do that with more subtlety, but this one hits the listener like a tonne of bricks – my friends cried when they heard it, so the writers must be onto something.

Philip
Guest
Philip

mhh

Nicolas
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Nicolas

If it can take out Denmark of the final I say yes.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

lol

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

You put that very well: the depressing melody plus the lyrics that want to be empowering don’t work well together. Thanks for making me realize what I didn’t like about this song. That was it.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

I find that the least expectations I have about Eurovision, the better. But I can’t help myself 🙁

Loin dici
Guest

By the way, since there are no more stage update posts yet, I’ll post it here. Someone posted a picture compilation about it and the end result looked satisfying, for the least:

https://youtu.be/l9mIJW3gKdg

Plus, the backwalls got mirror on their backsides.

123
Guest
123

I like the song but the message is awful and pathetic cause it turns women in some kind of oppressed victims that don’t have equal rights….hellooo, this is EUROvision, not SAUDIvision. Women are equal and have same opportunities as men. And my question to songwriters is: Who are “they” in the lyrics? Cause the only answer I can see is “men”…and that would be tragic

Hubert
Guest
Hubert

Maybe not in N. Macedonia? ?

Pandaman
Guest
Pandaman

Didn’t Tamara write this song for her daughter? If so, “they” could be pretty much anyone she meets in her life.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

SAUDvision as in Saudi Arabia? Heck, women there can’t show their faces in public. Women are not equal to men, it’s the saddest story. It’s been going on for centuries and gender inequality is prevalent in most countries, with very few exceptions. And it doesn’t even matter that women have rights “on paper”. Society is cruel towards women. The Balkans are a nightmare when it comes to women’s rights.
This entry is PATHETIC.

Loin dici
Guest

Um, the lyrics are written by men, so…

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

How ridiculous.

Una
Guest
Una

What? What? Lyrics written by who? Proud lyrics written by men?

Loin dici
Guest

Oops, my fault, turns out the producers are the all-male team. The lyrics are a beautiful piece made by Kosta Petrov and Sanja Popovska.

Arrivederci
Guest
Arrivederci

I bet that when people find that out, They’ll probably say that their “Mansplaining” or some other snowflake term like that.

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

Here are Tamara’s words: “I am also thankful to all the people who have tried to push me back, to put me down. They have made me stronger. […] Be proud of yourself and never hide your greatness.” I guess the song’s meaning is meant to be treated more universally, it’s not only about women, but people in general.

Colin
Guest
Colin

”I guess the song’s meaning is meant to be treated more universally, it’s not only about women, but people in general.” – I’d almost agree with you, but it literally stars and finishes with the word ”girl” and features only women in the video. Other than that, those are emotions relatable to anyone who has been feeling unwanted.

123
Guest
123

lol “other than that”..those 2 thing are pretty relevant to understand the message, don’y you think?

Kyla
Guest
Kyla

The only reason this needs to qualify is to hear the country’s new name being announced 😛 4/10

Makis
Guest
Makis

Not even that.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

That’s not a reason. It’s a song contest.

Una
Guest
Una

Well, I wouldn’t be surprised but you are right. It’s a song contest.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

I get the message, the vocals, the lyrics…I just don’t get the appeal.
Take all that away, and you have an average and cliché ballad, not much different from what Moldova are serving this year.
4.5/10

Chris Mo
Guest
Chris Mo

God . . . I guess Antranig is the one person I won’t be talking about music with anytime soon.

Loin dici
Guest

(PLEASE, NO MORE OF ‘THAT’ TOPIC HERE)

Kind of mesmerized it got favorably good reviews. Now if the staging hits, it’ll be good, but let’s hope Noshpal will give her a great proper dress this time.

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

North Macedonia… you know, their best finish since 2012 was a stripped-back ballad, so maybe after two years of sending excellent pop dance songs it’s turn for a stripped-back ballad to bring them back to the final? It’s tasteful and powerful, and there’s not that much to destroy staging-wise (it’s N. Macedonia tho), her voice is wonderful, so I keep the faith, that jury will save this one, cause unfortunately I don’t see that much of a televote appeal. 6/10

Ioa Ioa
Guest
Ioa Ioa

the excellent pop songs they sent weren’t even excellent. North Macedonia will fight with Albania for the 10th place, but Albania’s song is indeed excellent so I can see them qualifying instead of Tamara. Good try by N.M. nevertheless.