It’s the time of year when the Post-Eurovision depression is in full swing, but there’s no better cure than to reminisce! Together with ESCDaily Editor, Dennis Van Eersel, we will be discussing each of this year’s competing nations – from their results to how we think they could improve in the future!
Predictions, Personal Scores and Results
Results: 15th place, Semi-Final
Did North Macedonia live up to expectations?
D: Both the bookmakers’ and my expectations of North Macedonia at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest were very low. So yes, Vasil and ‘Here I Stand’ lived up to the expectations. During the rehearsals he impressed with strong vocals and presentation, but it wasn’t enough to get him more than 23 points and the 15th place in the field of 16. Let’s be honest, the quality of this song was way too low to be saved from an early elimination.
A: It’s true that if the expectations are low, it’s fairly easy to live up to them, and North Macedonia definitely fell into that basket this year. The song itself was unimpressive, although Vasil vocally delivered. The staging was simple, and it looked great with the mirror effect, however overall it just wasn’t enough to impress juries or the public.
How do you personally feel about the song for North Macedonia at Eurovision 2021?
A: This song never appealed to me, and I feel like it was definitely a bit more niche. Musical theatre fans may have enjoyed this, but for me it was too dated and too rigid. I hadn’t listened to the song much since it was revealed, and that won’t change now that Eurovision is over.
D: I am not against musical songs per sé, but usually they flop at Eurovision. This was also the case for Vasil in 2021. Also because even within its genre, ‘Here I Stand’ had a very cliché build-up of the song and the lyrics were also not very inspiring. I did not like the Macedonian song for 2021 and I do not think I will listen to it a lot in the future now that the contest is over.
Could North Macedonia have done anything different?
D: North Macedonia could have selected a different song and singer than Vasil, haha. The song and the performer are of course the biggest issue causing a lack of success in 2021. Because I think Vasil and his team really made the most out of this. I think he deserved a higher placing than the 15th place, based on what he actually did on stage with this weak song. The visuals were stunning, the gimmick with the jacket got a huge reception in the venue and Vasil seems like a genuinely nice guy. The presentation was good, but this song was not saveable.
A: We have that point of comparison with North Macedonia based on the nation picking Vasil in 2020. His previous Eurovision entry wasn’t a traditional pop number, but was a bit more upbeat and had a bit more interest. ‘Here I Stand’ was just way too cliche and outdated, and those types of songs aren’t rewarded as they once were in the contest. Vasil is a great singer, but without the right song, North Macedonia was always going to struggle.
What can North Macedonia do to ensure success in future years?
D: I think Macedonia needs to stick to selecting their artists internally, since the years using Skopje Fest as a selection method have proven not to be very successful for them, to say the least. And in 2019 this selection method at least gave them a great result. Vasil used to be a backing singer and sometimes we see that artists can take the next step to becoming the lead artist. It’s always hard to predict when this is the right time.
Without knowing much about the music industry in the former Yugoslav nation, I think Macedonia needs to try to find a more established artist willing to take part. Someone who is currently doing well in the charts already in their nation with a more refreshing contemporary act that can have a wider appeal in the region and Europe.
A: Internal selections certainly do feel like the more sensible option for the nation, and they have proven that they can deliver strong vocalists. The issue remains the songs and to some degree, the staging. I agree with Dennis that the nation needs to find someone a bit more contemporary, or at least someone who can perform a contemporary song. What I really crave from nations such as North Macedonia is a perfect mix of traditional Balkan sounds with modern beats. Just imagine a super upbeat, contemporary pop song in the national language and a fierce staging – please, make it happen!
Which was better, the live-on-tape performance or the actual performance?
A: The concepts were very similar, but the visuals were delivered better on the Rotterdam stage. The mirror jacket didn’t have the same impact in the live-on-tape performance, but otherwise, the performances were very similar.
D: This is easy. The performance in Rotterdam was much better. For instance, in the live-on-tape recording the gimmick with the disco jacket did not work out at all. In Rotterdam it visually was completely how they wanted it. Well done! The vocal delivery and mimics of Vasil were also much better in Ahoy than in the studio in Skopje.