North Macedonia first appeared on the Eurovision stage in 1998, but are yet to win the contest. In recent years, the nation has struggled to reach the final, however in 2019 impressed audiences with Tamara Todevska and her big ballad, Proud. In 2020, Vasil was set to represent the nation with the song You, and due to the cancellation of Eurovision, he was invited back to represent North Macedonia with the song Here I Stand. Will we see North Macedonia in the final this year?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
In last year’s review, we discussed wanting to see Vasil return to Eurovision with more of an ethnic ballad in national language. One of those wishes came true at least, with Here I Stand an epic, Disney-style ballad. Sadly, there’s no traditional ethnic elements as part of this song, nor is it in national language.
This song essentially feels like a platform to flex strong vocals, and don’t get me wrong, Vasil can certainly sing, but in a sense I think it came at the cost of producing a memorable song. For fans of musical theatre, this will probably appeal, but to the average listener, it all feels a bit too cheesy, and too contrived. There is no hook, and by the end of the song, I’m left feeling really indifferent.
The appeal of Tamara Todevska in 2019 was strong vocals, first and foremost, which ultimately grabbed the attention of the juries. But beyond that, she had a strong message that was delivered with conviction. In a way, it feels as if Vasil is trying to replicate that success with strong vocals, and while this song has a message, the package as a whole doesn’t have the same charm.
Performance and Act
I don’t believe we have seen this song performed live yet, and I think it will take something really special to capture attention in the voting at Eurovision. Based on the music video, I think they need to tone it down on the ‘sob story’ angle (intro monologue, I’m talking about you) because when that angle is pushed too far, it starts to come across as inauthentic. While I’m almost certain we won’t hear that at Eurovision, the issue still stands. I want to feel an authentic emotional connection with the song, and if it lacks in the song, the stage performance needs to make up for that.
I can fairly confidently say that North Macedonia will not reach the same heights as their 2019 results. At this point, I struggle to see the nation qualifying to the final. I think this song has its niche, but beyond that, it won’t make a strong enough impact. Vocally, I expect a strong performance, but looking at the entire package, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Song and Vocals
The Macedonian song is an music styled entry, with bombastic orchestration and vocal power. Technically, there is not a lot wrong with Vasil’s vocals. I believe he is also capable of performing this song live, even though there are definitely some tough parts and key changes in the composition.
Performance and Act
The whole package of ‘Here I Stand’ comes across a bit artificial to me. In theory, everything is right in the composition and song, but it is all a bit much for me and not very authentic. This is something that can be solved by extreme good camerawork and a performance by Vasil that sparks some kind of emotional connection with the viewers. If he doesn’t deliver that, he might be in trouble.
At this point, before the rehearsals, I don’t see North Macedonia as a qualifier. Their last qualification came because of a song with a deeper message, which came across with a very credible performance. Vasil is a good singer, he proved this as a backing, but whether he has what it takes to lift a musical song to something that actually makes an impact to the viewer, remains to be seen.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 5.2/10