North Macedonia. Where do we begin with North Macedonia? What an interesting history at the contest – at first the nations was somewhat successful, finishing mid table consistently, but semi-finals in the contemporary contest have not been their friend. Sometimes it’s the fault of the song, sometimes it’s the fault of the staging or a mixture of the two, but this year the nation is hoping to impress audiences with their ballad titled Proud which will be performed by Tamara Todevska.
Song + Vocals
Before we start reviewing this song, I want to take a moment of silence. For those who didn’t know, this isn’t Tamara’s first attempt at Eurovision, having participated back in 2008 with the song Let Me Love You. An ethnic bop, if you will, and a good one at that, but this was back in a time where finishing in the Top 10 didn’t guarantee you a spot in the final. At this point, jury vote was existent but not as it exists now, so the jury vote unfortunately overruled North Macedonia’s deserved 10th place – we will never forget.
I could write a whole article on how Tamara was robbed, but I’ll bring it right back to discuss how I don’t want North Macedonia to be robbed again. It’s no bop, but the nation is serving up what I believe to be one of the best ballads of the year. Wow. From first listen, this became a strong favourite of mine. Proud is a simple ballad which utilises and showcases the power of the voice while projecting an inspiring message.
Musically, this is minimal but stunning as a result of that minimalism. The strings in the instrumental are incredible, and as the song progresses, the contrast with the piano especially as the song reaches the final minute is inspired. All of this provides such an intense and moving backdrop for Tamara’s undoubtedly powerful voice which works very well with this style of song. Music and voice aside, lyrically this song cannot be faulted. It’s such a beautiful and relevant message, and perhaps one of the strongest messages of this year’s contest. This has the potential to relate to so many viewers and that can only be a good thing.
Tamara has performed this entry live, and she does not disappoint. She is vocally capable, and I think she is the most vocally capable since Kaliopi. I can’t wait to hear this song with the backing singers, as I think it will add so much more power to the already powerful vocal performance.
Act + Performance
North Macedonia is starting to become notorious for horrible stage performances. It’s not a good label to have, and now it’s becoming an annual question as to whether the nation will maintain that label. I sincerely hope that they do not ruin this song.
All I can say is KEEP IT SIMPLE. I just want Tamara’s voice to shine. I think there’s some wiggle room in terms of the backdrop and LED’s, but I would hope that there’s nothing too extreme so as to take away from the emotion in the song.
Surely this is North Macedonia’s best chance to qualify, and I would be sincerely disappointed to not see this in the final. With a fantastic spot in the running order, it has everything going for it. It’s the big ballad of the semi, and although Russia is also offering up a big ballad, I think the two are different enough to be able to both qualify. I can see the juries voting for this based on vocal power, and I think it has the potential for some televote pull provided the staging doesn’t flop.