Category Archives: FYROM
As is customary after the Semifinal Draws, many ESC nations are rolling out their entries’ videos. Over the past few days, we’ve seen the official debuts of the Ukranian, Turkish, Moldovan, and Macedonian videos…let’s check them out!
The Ukrainians, as per usual, have revamped their entry and officially submitted their song “Angel”. Who knows if it will continue to evolve by the time it hits the stage in Germany? I’m half expecting an unfortunate flat tire to hit Mika’s car on the way to the venue, with Zlata Ognevich or Jamala just serendipitously hanging out in the arena…
Regardless, I do prefer this edit a bit to the original, as it has a somewhat stronger beat and isn’t quite as sleep-inducing as the ballad that we originally heard in Kiev. That being said, it’s still not one of my absolute favorites; Mika’s English is often tough to parse. I am, however, looking forward to the onstage presentation of “Angel”…with all of the circus themes in the video and the National Final performance, and considering Ukraine’s history of over-the-top staging (Svetlana Loboda, anybody?), things could definitely get interesting.
Next up, the Turks have presented their video for Yüksek Sadakat’s “Live it Up”:
Not really sure what to say about this one…the song’s fun, with a bit of an 80’s Hair Band throwback feel (despite the lead singer’s baldness) and a touch of an ethnic sound from the string section. It’s Turkey, so chances are pretty good that it will qualify for the Finals, but there are other pretty good rock songs in this competition that might give Yüksek Sadakat a run for its money if more than one makes it to the show on the 14th. Turkey has made the Top Ten every year since 2007, and has never failed to qualify for the Finals…it’s a lot for “Live it Up” to live up to!
Speaking of rock, Moldovan ethno-punk rockers Zdob si Zdub have unveiled the video for their second ESC entry, “So Lucky”:
I kind of miss the oversized gnome hats and the unicycle from their National Final performance, but with six members in the band already, they face a quandary: cut a member for the sake of presentation (like they did for “Boonika Bate Doba”), or have the whole band up on stage? We’ll have to see what happens when they start their official rehearsals. Anyway, I realize that I’m likely in the minority with this, but I happen to really like this song! Roman Iagupov reminds me so much of Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and, despite my prep-school exterior, I’m a rocker at heart. I’ve been known to crank the volume up on this whenever it comes on my iPod, and it’s become one of my go-to songs on the playlist I listen to whenever I go and work out. I highly doubt we’ll be going to Chisinau in 2012, but at the very least, I’ll be dancing my arse off when they’re playing in the Esprit Arena this May, even if I’m the only one.
Moving on, we’ve got the new video from (FYR) Macedonia.
The clip from Vlatko Ilievski’s “Rusinka” has a pretty cool concept, but it’s a bit repetitive and even a little headache-inducing. It sounds a lot better than the live version we all saw at Skopjefest, but Vlatko comes off as a bit of a creeper at times, and he might have been better off not miming the guitar playing at all. Oh, well…can’t win them all, I suppose…
(Disclaimer: I tend to refer to the nation referred to in this post as “Macedonia”, and not “FYROM”. I don’t mean to cause any offense, nor am I trying to make any sort of political statement. The two nations where I have lived, the United States and Chile, both maintain the general policy of calling this nation either “Macedonia” or the “Republic of Macedonia”. I hope that you, my readers, will not turn the comments section of this article into a flame war…we’re all civil and intelligent people here! Thanks! -Samantha)
Ok, now that I got that out of the way, I can get to the real meat of this article…sadly, of which there is little. After the Slovene National Final wrapped up on Sunday, I switched over to Macedonia’s Skopjefest. My hopes were high, considering that Macedonia was the nation that brought the world the incomparable Toše Proeski, as well as stars like Karolina Gočeva and Elena Risteska, all ESC alumni. Well, after a seemingly endless selection, lasting a full four hours, including an interval act that would rival watching paint dry in terms of excitement, a winner was finally selected: Vlatko Ilievski with “Rusinka (Russian Girl)”.
I’m not sure if it was the poor sound quality, the headache I was fighting off while watching Skopjefest for four hours, or the actual song itself, but I’m not incredibly impressed by “Rusinka”. Vlatko is an enthusiastic performer, and supposedly quite popular in Macedonia, but his voice just isn’t quite on the same level as some of his competitors this year. Furthermore, he’s singing about his love for a Russian girl, yet he won’t be able to count on Russia’s support in the semifinals, as they’ll be performing and voting on different nights. Maybe with a significant amount of revamping, this might be redeemed, but in its current state, this one might be doomed to languish in the semifinals, with only Belarus to keep it from the bottom of the pack.
(You see, my dear readers? I can give negative reviews!)
Ok, before I even start looking at the history of this country in Eurovision, there’s one detail that I have to hammer out. What the heck is this nation called, anyway? It’s been called Macedonia, the Republic of Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Makedonia, Slavomacedonia…
So, why all the confusion? Well, Macedonia (the nation) directly borders the Greek region of Macedonia. As people have been referring to Macedonia as a whole since the time of Alexander the Great, the creation of a new state with the same name caused confusion for some, and hurt regional pride for others. Greece has been pushing for an official name change for the Republic of Macedonia for some time, but there has been no change. I think this is much ado about nothing, personally, and as long as people are being peaceful about it, Greek Macedonians and Slavic Macedonians can call themselves whatever they want. (When Georgia became an independent nation back in 1991, were folks in Atlanta hurt? Granted, I know that’s oversimplifying the situation, but it’s the closest comparison I can come up with…) For the sake of this article (and anything else I might write about this country), I’ll be simply referring to this country as “Macedonia”, with the hope that I won’t further anger any of my Greek readers. Sound fair to you?
Ok, back to the ESC.
Macedonia hasn’t had the best of luck in Eurovision, especially during the last few years. They’ve never scored any higher than 12th place, and few of their songs really stick out in my mind as truly memorable. They’ve tended more towards the pop-side of the spectrum, with the possible exception of last year’s “Nešto što kje ostane (Something that Will Remain)“, performed by Next Time, which hearkened back to the late 1980s-early 1990s Hair Metal scene. They came in 10th place during their semifinal that year, which should have gotten them a spot in the final, but due to the way the voting system worked during the 2008 and 2009 contests, the 10th spot wasn’t given to the appropriate televoting result, but rather a “jury’s choice”. Finland got the spot that should have gone to Macedonia (and promptly came in last place during the finals), and sadly, Next Time’s name was all-too appropriate. This was actually the second year in a row that Macedonia was screwed out of the finals. In 2008, juries gave the last ticket to the finals to the song from Sweden, kicking “Let Me Love You” out in the cold.
I would be completely amiss if I brought up Macedonian Eurovision entries and failed to mention Toše Proeski. His song “Life“, which represented his homeland in 2004, might not have been his biggest hit, or even a huge success in the ESC (it only made it to 14th place in that year’s Final), but Proeski was, without a doubt, the biggest star to come out of Macedonia. He was popular all throughout the Balkan region, and was even named a UNICEF Ambassador. When he died in 2007 as the result of a car accident in Croatia, he was given a full State Funeral and a day of national mourning was declared in Skopje. Proeski was only 26 years old. Here’s a link to my favorite song of his, “Igra Bez Granica (Games Without Borders)“, a song that gives me chills whenever I hear it.
So, after years of having defeat snatched from the jaws of Eurovision victory (or, at least, mediocrity), who will carry the hopes of Skopje on his shoulders this year?
Gjoko Taneski’s “Jas Ja Imam Silata (I Have The Strength)” isn’t bad, but again, it’s not completely spectacular, either. It took me about four or five listens to this song for me to remember how it sounded, and when the video came out, it confused me even more. The song is about how Gjoko is able to overcome heartbreak, but what’s up with the models in the cellophane? I mean, the girls are pretty, but that’s all the video is! And the “My Name Is Love” bit seems to come out of nowhere…sometimes, a preview video has the ability to enhance a song’s appeal before you see it on the ESC stage (Georgia’s clip for “Visionary Dream” comes to mind, as does last year’s official French video for “Et s’il fallait le faire“). This time, however, it’s a detriment. Sorry, Gjoko…maybe Next Time…