We’ve become used to regular UK failures at Eurovision, but UK fans should spare a thought for the Macedonian viewers, who have had nothing to shout about in a near two-decade Eurovision history.
They first entered in 1998, as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and 21 years later will be making their first appearance as North Macedonia, but while the nation’s name has changed, their Eurovision results have remained consistently bad. Their best showing so far was a 12th place finish in 2006. In eighteen attempts, they have only reached the final on eight occasions, missing out on qualification in each of the last six editions.
This time round, things could be different as they have called on the impressive Tamara Todevska, who is likely to be among the best vocalists in the competition. Her song, Proud, which she sings in English, is a slow-burning ballad that doesn’t stand out initially, but reaches a rousing finale, and the sheer power of Tamara’s vocal performance could well attract the support of the semi-final juries. She has also been helped by the running order, which has scheduled her as the penultimate performer in the second semi-final, giving her a chance to make maximum impact.
But despite her vocal prowess, the Eurovision markets have remained unmoved. North Macedonia are priced up in the 50/1 to 80/1 range by most bookmakers, and those odds haven’t moved following Tamara’s performance on Day Four of rehearsals this week. That may partly be down to Eurovision punters’ wariness to back a nation with such a poor record, while there remains some work to be done on the staging of the song, judged on the evidence of rehearsals.
The fundamentals of the song seem strong, however, and with such a powerful vocal performer on their side, North Macedonia would appear to have a good chance of breaking their losing streak and reaching the final for the first time since 2012.