So yeah, today’s preview was supposed to be Russia but they went and withdrew from the contest. (You can read about why here.) Instead, we are going to the land where monasteries dot the landscape, footpaths double up as car parks and whose name gets everyone talking. It’s Macedonia!!! (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia if you’re Greek.)
Macedonia first took part in the Eurovision Song Contest as an independent country in 1998, having previously taken part as part of Yugoslavia. They will make their sixteenth appearance this year. Their best result in history is 12th, which they achieved when Elena Risteka sang “Ninanajna”. Last year, Kaliopi just failed to get to the final, finishing 11th in semi-final 2 with “Dona”. This marked Macedonia’s fourth non-qualification in a row.
The Macedonian broadcaster, Macedonian Radio Television (MRT), internally selected Jana Burčeska to represent the country in Kyiv. They then held a public search for the song, which was also chosen by MRT.
Jana Burčeska was born on July 6th 1993 in Skopje. She first rose to fame on the only season of Macedonian Idol in 2011, where she was the highest placing female contestant, finishing fifth. In the same year, she was appointed as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and campaigned against violence in schools in Macedonia. In 2012, she took part in Skopje Fest with the song “Bi bila tvoja” (I would be yours). She took part in the festival again in 2013 and 2015. Her entry for Kyiv, “Dance Alone”, was written and composed by Joacim Perrson, Alex Omar, Bobi-Leon Milanov and Florence A.
From a country not renowned for its success in Eurovision, comes one of the biggest surprises this year! Even though I’m getting strong 80’s vibes, the song sounds extremely modern with its electro and dance influences. Jana’s vocals give the song a sultry yet confident edge. This to me is a definite qualifier. Dare I say it, Macedonia could finally reach the top 10 for the first time ever, maybe even higher!
What Could Have Been
If there is one act I would like to see represent Macedonia in the future, it’s Viktorija Loba. She started off her career at the age of 15, when she, along with Marija Arsovska, represented her country in the first ever Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2003. Since then, she has participated in many festivals in Macedonia and abroad. She has released many singles over the years, one of which is “Opium”. Many past Junior Eurovision entrants have progressed to the adult contest over the years and Viktorija could join their ranks in the future.
Will Jana get lucky or keep dancing on her own? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, MRT, YouTube)