Category Archives: FYROM

Macedonia: Tijana Dapčević unveils “To The Sky”

tijana-dapcevicOn Saturday, after months of anticipation, Macedonian entrant Tijana Dapčević finally released her song for Copenhagen.  On a special edition of MRT’s music program Hit na mesecot featuring performances by Eurovision alumnas Elena Risteska and Karolina Gočeva, Tijana gave us both versions of her entry: “To the Sky” in English, and “Tamu kaj što pripagjam (There where I belong)”. Read the rest of this entry

JESC 2013 Preview: Part 2

In our first peek at who’s who in this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest, we got to know the crop of young talent from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Georgia.  As of this moment, the performers have converged on Kiev and rehearsals are just ramping up.  Let’s meet our next set of artists!

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Macedonia has spoken: Tijana Dapčević goes to Denmark!

In that quiet no-mans-land between the end of the last year’s Final and the first news of future National Selections, news around the Eurovision sphere is often slow and sporadic.  We may not know yet where the 2014 event will be hosted (a great venue in sleepy Herning, an improvised locale in bustling Copenhagen, or a completely off-the-wall suggestion from Horsens?), but at least we know the second name to be added to the show’s roster.

Earlier this week, Macedonian broadcaster MRT confirmed not only their participation in Denmark but also their flag-bearer: veteran pop star Tijana Todevska-Dapčević, who has been churning out hits since she came on the scene in the late ’90s.  Her breakthrough performance came with her 2002 victory at the Sunčane Skale festival with “Negativ“, followed by hits like “Stepski vuk“, and “Sve je isto, samo njega nema“, which shines a light on the former Yugoslav republics following the days of Tito. Read the rest of this entry

(FYR) Macedonia reveals Esma and Lozano’s “Imperija”…or has it?

Following Kaliopi’s star turn in Baku and her strong result with “Crno i Belo”, Macedonian broadcaster MKRTV decided to go for another internal selection, picking veteran Gypsy-folk superstar Esma Redžepova and pop singer Lozano to combine forces and perform an entry that blended the best of both of their worlds.  The resulting song, “Imperija”, was premiered on Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry

A quick game of catch-up…

Ok, I’ll admit it, I’ve been a bad blogger.  Due to illness, travel, and that pesky 40-hour-per-week job of mine, a few major bits of news haven’t quite made it to the site yet!  (What can I say? The ESC Insider is a one-woman project, and sadly, I only have two hands.)  Let’s take a quick look back at the four internal artist selections that were made in Spain, Georgia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Read the rest of this entry

More promo videos? Say it ain’t so!

As expected in the days before the annual Head of Delegation meeting in Baku, more nations are revealing the official promotional videos for their songs.  We’ve gone over some of these new clips in previous posts (check them out here and here), but the past 24 hours have brought in a flash-flood of new videos and remixes. Read the rest of this entry

Kaliopi unveils “Crno i belo”

On Wednesday, as Bulgaria went through the process of selecting their song for Baku, neighboring (FYR) Macedonia revealed “Crno i belo”, the song that the internally-selected Kaliopi would be taking to Azerbaijan.  Composed by her ex-husband and regular collaborator Romeo Grill, and with lyrics by Kaliopi herself, here’s a look at the dramatic rock ballad:

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(FYR) Macedonia has decided: Kaliopi returns! (Sort of…)

It sometimes feels like the embers of Dusseldorf 2011 haven’t even burned out yet, but it’s already been a busy weekend for Baku 2012’s plans!  In the past few days, we’ve heard about plans from Belgium, Serbia, and Slovakia (assuming that My.RO signs the contract they’re rumored to be working on with RSTV…it’s still a bit up in the air over in Bratislava, as per usual).  Yesterday, however, we got word that (FYR) Macedonia has made their selection for Azerbaijan: veteran performer Kaliopi.

The 44-year-old Kaliopi has been performing since the age of ten, and has recorded nine studio albums over the past two and a half decades.  This isn’t her first foray into the world of Eurovision: in 1996, she was selected to represent Macedonia in what was expected to be the nation’s debut at the ESC.  However, due to the then-rapidly increasing popularity of the contest, there were 30 nations clamoring for one of only 23 spots in the Final.  A non-televised pre-final occurred, and seven entries were cut before the public even had the chance to see them.  Unfortunately for Kaliopi, “Samo Ti (Only You)” was one of the unlucky ones, and Macedonia didn’t fully enter the contest until 1998.  Here’s a look at what could have been:

Kaliopi continued to flirt with the idea of Eurovision participation, and in 2009 she nearly made it to the stage in Moscow with her collaboration with Naum Petreski, “Rum Dum Dum“.  However, the song eventually took second place in that year’s SkopjeFest, falling behind Next Time’s “Nešto što kje ostane“.

For the first time since 2004, Macedonian broadcaster MKRTV has decided their candidate internally, and they will hold a small National Final early next year, as opposed to the SkopjeFest system we’ve seen over the past few years.  The last time the network picked their candidate internally, they chose Toše Proeski, arguably one of the biggest stars to ever come out of Macedonia.  The nation has never placed in the Top Ten at Eurovision, and they haven’t made it out of the Semifinals since 2007.  Could Kaliopi break the streak?

Eurovision 2011: The Best of the Rest (Part 5)

(Pardon the brief hiatus…I just started a new job, and I took a quick trip out to New York to see some family and friends. But now I’m back in full force!)

Lithuania: Evelina Sašenko shocked quite a few people when her dramatic ballad “C’est Ma Vie” qualified for the Finals.  (You could have heard a pin drop in the arena when the Lithuanian flag emerged from its little digital envelope the night of its Semifinal!)  Without a doubt, this was one of the true surprises of the 2011 Contest. 

There were a few other songs from Lithuania that I was hoping to see in Düsseldorf, with some being more guilty pleasures than others.  Donny Montell (real name: Donatas Montvydas) has tried many times over the past few years to represent his home nation, and he even had two entries in the National Final this year (including a duet with 2009 representative Sasha Song).  Donny’s solo entry this year, “Let Me”, came in 5th place this year, despite his attempted channeling of Justin Timberlake:

For fans of sweet throwback entries (like Serbia’s “Čaroban”), Liepa Mondeikaitė’s breezy “Laukiu (I’m Looking Forward)” might have done the trick.  This sixth-place finisher was the only song in the finals sung in Lithuanian (and I might be the only one who see this, but I think Kim Cattrall might have a doppelganger in Vilnius…)

(FYR) Macedonia: I had a bit of difficulty following Skopje Fest this year, partially due to a rough connection to the show’s stream, and partially because the show was interminably long and drawn-out.  When Vlatko Ilievski’s “Rusinka” took the crown, I basically shrugged my shoulders and turned to the Slovene selection, which was wrapping up at about the same time.  

That being said, there were two other songs that stayed with me after the Macedonian National Final, but for two completely different reasons.  This year’s runner-up was Martin Srbinovski’s “Ram Tam Tam”, a danceable, folk-tinged rock number that I immediately fell in love with: 

On the other side of the equation, however, was the nul-pointer Rok Agresori’s “Kukuriku”, which defies all explanation:

Now that I’ve completely destroyed your faith in humanity, let’s move on to: 

Malta: Even if you weren’t a fan of Glen Vella’s “One Life“, it was impossible not to get swept up in his absolutely infectious energy.  Whether it was him belting out gospel numbers during his press conference, living it up in the Euroclub every night, or his near-constant smile, even when he failed to qualify for the final by the razor-thin margin of a single point.  It had been Glen’s dream to sing at Eurovision, and his enthusiasm and sheer glee was impossible to resist!

The Maltese national selection was a family affair; runner-up Richard Edwards (here’s his “Finally“) and eighth-place Wayne Micallef (“Everybody Sing“) are brothers, and two-time Eurovision participant Fabrizio Faniello (“No Surrender“) went up against his little sister Claudia (“Movie in My Mind“).  (Fabrizio came in 4th, Claudia in 9th.)  My personal favorite, however, was the big-voiced ballad “If I Could Do It All Again” by Raquela, a song I could easily imagine over the ending credits of some big-budget Hollywood flick:

This 5th-place finisher could have gone toe-to-toe with Austria’s Nadine Beiler or Slovenia’s Maja Keuc…maybe next year!

Moldova: I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again next year: I love Moldova.  They come to the Eurovision Party every year with the intention of having a fabulous time and they generally succeed.  Whether they’re bringing someone’s grandmother, a big comfy sofa, an epic sax, or a unicycle-riding, kushma-wearing fairytale princess (as in the case of this year’s “So Lucky” by Zdob şi Zdub), you can’t forget them, even if you try.

Keeping in line with the manic, madcap, and exuberant style we’re used to seeing from the Moldovans over the past few years, my favorite selection from 2011 was Doiniţa Gherman’s “Viaţa (Life)”, an energetic turbofolk number that is basically in line with her National Final submissions from 2009 (Hei! Exploadează!) and 2010 (“Meloterapia“).

Next up: the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal!

Follow Up Single Time, Part 3

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a whole bunch of new and recent releases from all over the Eurovision world.  Let’s see what we’ve got…

One of the more highly-anticipated songs from the post-Düsseldorf boom comes, of course, from the irrepressible Jedward.  The Irish twins, who are planning on releasing their new album, “Victory”, in August, have already gone to the top of the Irish Charts with their new single, “Bad Behaviour”.  Featuring Hollywood blogger Perez Hilton (who, incidentally, happens to be the namesake of the Grimes Brothers’ parrot…), both the song and accompanying video keeps the high-energy, frenetic pop vibe of “Lipstick” going strong.  The pair are currently touring the UK, Ireland, and Germany.

Jedward – Bad Behaviour (Official Music Video) HQ from xeaaasy on Vimeo.

San Marino’s Senit has also released her next track, entitled “Through the Rain”.  At this point, however, it is only available through the Italian version of iTunes.  This upbeat, danceable track seems to be more in line with Senit’s previous releases than the sweet, subtle “Stand By”, and it even clocks in at less than the Eurovision-standard three minute mark.  Could this have been the mysterious other track that SMRTV had considered sending to Eurovision?

Following “Rusinka”, (FYR) Macedonia’s Vlatko Ilievski has just released his next video, for “Moja Tamna Rijeko”.  Call me crazy, but I prefer this softer side of Vlatko over the man we saw in Germany.  It might not be as catchy as “Rusinka”, but at least we can hear him singing this time around!  What are your thoughts?

Last, but certainly not least, Finland’s Paradise Oskar (Axel Ehnström) has released his second single, “Sunday Everyday”. 

Axel took home the Marcel Bezençon Press Award from the accredited journalists in Düsseldorf after his performance of “Da Da Dam”, and if you were a fan of his sweet, introspective, acoustic-driven style, his album “Sunday Songs” might be just your speed.  It’s hit the Top Five in the Finnish charts, and he’s touring actively throughout the summer.