FYR Macedonia (as I continue to call it because I don’t know what will happen if I don’t) is one of those countries that I feel gets a raw deal at Eurovision*. Not all the time, but on a few occasions, I think they’ve been robbed of either a place in the final, or a better result in the final – think Karolina 1.0 and Gjoko Taneski (who totally should have qualified instead of Vukašin Brajić). Still, you couldn’t call them a country with a knack for the ESC, a la Azerbaijan and Ukraine. If you personally couldn’t call them anything because you’ve got zero recollection of their contest history, or if you just want a take a walk down Macedonian memory lane, then here’s a look at their past hits and misses, in numerical and opinion form.
* They’re also a country I desperately want back in Junior Eurovision, but I’ll leave my moanings about that for another time.
FYR MACEDONIA: THE STATS
Debut 1998 – Ne Zori, Zoro by Vlado Janevski, finishing 19th
Silver medals 0
Bronze medals 0
Best result 12th – 2006
Top 10 finishes 0/13
Top 10 success rate 0%
Top 5 finishes 0/13
Top 5 success rate 0%
Wooden spoons (last places!) 0/13
Semi final qualifications 5/10
Qualification success rate 50%
My favourite entry
Od Nas Zavisi by Karolina (2002). Why? I can pretty much sum it up in three words: dramatic Balkan ballad. Karolina’s first Eurovision experience came with a song that is (almost) right up there with the Lane Mojes, Lejlas and Bistra Vodas of the world, in my opinion, and it’s a shame it didn’t score a little better. You can’t tell me it didn’t deserve to beat Belgium, at the very least (though I will allow you to tell me off for reminding you of the piece of junk they sent in ‘02). Especially with that costume reveal, which taught us that two gowns are better than one. Love it.
My least favourite entry
Neshto Shto Ke Ostane by Next Time (2009). The emphasis here is definitely on ‘least favourite’, because I don’t hate this, or even dislike it. It just happens to bring up the rear from my perspective of everything FYROM has sent over the last fifteen years. It’s nice enough, catchy enough, and the twins are attractive enough to stare at for three minutes without getting bored. Still, their hair and their song was and is dated, rather than retro. Learn the difference, boys…and everybody else.
More of the memorable
100% Te Ljubam by XXL (2000) – A guilty pleasure of mine, this is memorable mainly for being one of the worst-sung entries of all time (not even Kanye West would interrupt me to disagree). It is infectious, though. Note that I could also be talking about the Israeli entry right now.
Life by Toše Proeski (2004) – I was never the biggest fan of this song, but I think the costumes and presentation were striking. It’s always bittersweet to watch Toše in action, knowing he’s no longer with us.
Ninanajna by Elena Risteska (2006) – This is trashy in the best way possible, and if it wasn’t for my Balkan ballad weakness, it would be sitting pretty as my favourite Macedonian entry to date. Who can resist a song which name-drops Beyoncé AND Shakira?
Crno I Belo by Kaliopi (2012) – Europe’s friendliest female was understated yet badass in Baku, and it worked in her country’s favour, securing them not only a qualification, but one of their best results in years.
Pred Da Se Razdeni by Esma & Lozano (2013) – In studio, I can get down with this. Live, it was a shambles. It was like neither Esma nor Lozano were aware that the other was there (apart from when they hugged it out towards the end) and were just going about their business, singing their own, very different songs. Oh dear.
Their best stage show
Mojot Svet by Karolina (2007). It wasn’t OTT, but the dramatic lighting and simple choreography was effective. I can’t help wondering if Karolina and the ballet girl had a catfight over the ballet guy the second they got backstage, ‘cause I’m not sure where his loyalties were at.
Their best costume/s
Toše Proeski/Elena Risteska. Ah, the two extremes. Toše went ethnic, white, and demure, whilst Elena went sexy and blingy and matched the material on her denim hotpants to that of her sleeveless, mostly frontless bustier. As a heterosexual woman, I was most drawn to her shoes. They didn’t match anything, but I WANT. Both these varieties of outfits were perfectly suited (so to speak) to the songs.
Their best vocalist/s
Kaliopi. Low and husky one minute, freaking out dogs everywhere with a piercing-but-completely-in-tune shriek the next, this woman has pipes, and well-functioning ones at that. I’m glad she finally got the chance to show them off at Eurovision, having been knocked back all those years ago and then time and time again in FYROM national finals.
So, now you’ve had a refresher course on Macedonian history (whether you needed/wanted it or not) let me know what you think. Has this country been wronged time and time again at the ESC, or do they need to try harder? What have been your highlights and lowlights since they first appeared onstage?