1 Day YouTube Views: 264,760
1 Day YouTube Likes: 9,351
The former FYR Macedonia has returned as North Macedonia, bringing their 2019 Eurovision entry, Proud by Tamara Todevska. A social-justice inspired power ballad aimed primarily at female empowerment but could easily be adopted by any minority group. Like many songs this year, it has an epic feel which builds as the song progresses.
While all in favour of empowerment, there is so much media, be it songs or movies not-so-subtly telling women to be proud and that they're beautiful, that as an outsider looking in, it actually feels rather patronising - achieving the opposite effect. I wonder how women who ARE perfectly secure in themselves feel living in a world that assumes they require constant validation - or the effect on women who might otherwise be perfectly happy had they not lived in a world that assumed they weren't. So for me at least, the message is diluted in the sea of similar messages.
All this may be academic anyway seeing as most of Europe won't understand the lyrics. Europe will be listening to the song and in that regard, Tamara delivers one of the best vocal performances of this year's crop, particularly the final third. I'm a big fan of the 'elevator-pitch'-ness of a Eurovision song, it needs to capture and hold your attention within the first 30 seconds, you don't want your song to be the one in which the audience nips to the loo. This is the weak-point of Proud, the song starts very slowly indeed, it doesn't really get into its stride until around 50 seconds in. There's also a 20 second instrumental section in the middle which, while adding emotion to the song, I feel saps the momentum a little too.
It's much harder to project emotion down the TV than it is to project fun. The worst thing that could happen for North Macedonia would be to be sandwiched between two upbeat numbers, sending it down the memory-hole. The North Macedonian delegation need to focus on having staging that matches and compliments the emotion of the song. If Tamara is able to give a vocal performance anything close to that of the music video, she should score highly with the juries.
North Macedonia's YouTube stats for the music video have been among the highest compared to others, particularly in Views where it rivals Switzerland and Sweden. They sing in the second-half of the competitive second semi-final too where places to qualify will be scarce. I think it will come down to the running order to make an educated guess as to whether or not they'll qualify. While the song did grow on me after a few listens, Tamara will only have one shot on the night - even so, there's no way this would be anyone's go-to Eurovision song from the selection so I lean toward no-qualify for now.
Will Tamara be singing with pride in the finals? Let us know what you think in the comments below.