Oh I love the name of this one, so formal. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to give it its full name (even better in French, Ex-République yougoslave de Macédoine) is so named in its dealing with the UN as an interrim measure while the name Macedonia is disputed with Greece. Greeks object to the country being named simply Macedonia because large parts of ancient Macedonia are inside Greek borders, and many Greeks identify themselves a Macedonian. While the two countries negotiate this ongoing dispute, one way to distinguish the two countries is a quick glance at their Eurovision track records (I doubt the UN did this).
Amazing flag by the way. Anyway while Greece has enjoyed practical invincibility in recent years, with eight consecutive top 10 finishes at the moment (and reason to suspect a ninth this year), FYROM has had very different fortunes since its debut in 1998.
After three mid-table results to kick off their career, the semi-final system really messed things up for FYROM. They clung to qualification by the skin of their teeth each year, finishing in their semi-finals in either 9th or 10th place for 6 years running.
On qualification they always outperformed their initial poor chances, with another string of mid-table finishes. An unfortunate “jury’s wildcard” rule invoked in 2008 & 2009 meant their 10th place semi-final result had to make way for a jury-favourite who would otherwise have not qualified. This seems to have hobbled their precarious but solid performance, and they’ve not made it out of a semi-final since.
Enter Kaliopi, FYROM’s original contender from 1996 that never made it through the untelevised pre-selection. Since then she became a successful songwriter, including unsuccessful attempts to represent her country in 2002, 2005 and 2009. However as an established performer in her homeland, with over 30 years in the music business, she was finally given her chance.
Given this back story I really hope to see that dazzling flag pulled out of an envelope in the second semi-final this year, I’d struggle to think of someone who had paid their Eurovision dues so much without even making it to the stage. The song itself is a very dramatic Balkan ballad, and while her voice might sound a bit strained, I’m sure with her experience she can command the crowd and muster up some points from the neighbours.
FYROM’s qualification chances seem again to be on a knife-edge, and while this song is no more a winner than their other mid-table entries, I think it would be a great moment for Kaliopi and her country to turn their Eurovision luck around.
HRRRNNK!!! Did you see the “Eurovision 2012” tab at the top? CLICK!