The last year we saw North Macedonia (back then: Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia) in the Eurovision final was in 2012. Seven years later, the nation not only finally reached the final again, they also got their best result ever: 7th.
The song ‘Proud’ by Tamara Todevska probably did what it promised. It made the people of North Macedonia very proud. ‘Out of nowhere’, the country won the jury vote in the final (when the results were corrected) with a stunning 247 points. Who would have thought that would happen?
Todevska’s return to Eurovision
Tamara Todevska took part at the Eurovision Song Contest before, back in 2008, as part of a trio with Vrčak and Adrian. After a couple of good years for the Balkan-nation, it was the first time they didn’t qualify for the final. ‘Let me love you’ started a streak of non-qualifications. Between 2008 and 2018, Macedonia only reached the final in Baku 2012 with Kaliopi’s ‘Crno i Belo’.
The internal selection of Tamara Todevska for 2019 therefore did not immediately spark high expectations for the Eurofans. However, when the song ‘Proud’ was presented, the tone of voice changed. North Macedonia could be in with a shot, to finally make it to the final again.
Song release on International Women’s Day
North Macedonia’s entry, ‘Proud’, was initally planned for release on March 4th, but it was delayed to March 8th to coincide with International Women’s Day. And when the world could listen to the song, it was understandable why Todevska waited fort his date. ‘Proud’ is an acoustic, piano and string-driven ballad, with the topic of women empowerment.
The song is composed by Darko Dimitrov, Robert Bilbilov and Lazar Cvetkoski. But the lyrics, obviously, were written by a female: Sanja Popovska, together with Kosta Petrov.
Less is more: Simple and minimalistic staging
The stage direction was conceived by Mari Forsman Ryberger and Tine Matulessy. The concept was simple and minimalistic, with Todevska singing alone with a microphone stand on the stage. The dress worn by Todevska was created by Aleksandar Noshpal, who is also credited for making the dress for Karolina in 2002 and the suit for Toše Proeski in 2004. The dress was also featured as a visual enhancer, mirroring the structure of the backside on the screens.
The performance starts with Todevska subtly lighted, as the dress’ reflections starts to show. As the light hits Todevska’s face, she started to choreograph hand gestures, which indicates confidence and power. When the first chorus hits, purple start to come out from the bottom spotlights. In the bridge, the stage darkens again, with images of women and girls being shown on monochrome in the back screens. The ending note was executed with Todevska shone under a wide spotlight, with the picture of her holding her daughter, Hana, shown on the screen.
Seventh place finish: Best result ever
Prior to the 2019 contest, North Macedonia had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest eighteen times since its first entry in 1998 as F.Y.R. Macedonia. The nation’s best result in the contest to this point was twelfth, which it achieved in 2006 with the song “Ninanajna” performed by Elena Risteska.
Following the introduction of semi-finals for the 2004, Macedonia had featured in only five finals. In 2018, Eye Cue failed to bring the country to the final with their song “Lost and Found”, that marked the nation’s sixth failure in a row.
Media lyrical with the result
North Macedonian medias in general describes Tamara’s result as historical and spectacular. After the final, Tamara’s sister Tijana told to the local medias that she was the most proud sister in the world, although she didn’t understand why the public vote ranked Tamara so low.
Tamara herself told to the Serbian magazine Blic that her achievement in this year’s contest was a result of a team effort and that she is very proud of her team. She also sad that the Dutch victory was well-deserved, and that she personally like the winner song ‘Arcade’. After the correction of the jury vote, she was even more pleased to find out that Macedonia even WON the jury vote.
To top it all, the government of North Macedonia showed, how much they appreciate her great result by honoring her and her team with a special plaque.
The Aftermath 2019 series is made in collaboration with our Australian partner website Eurovision Union.