All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.

Later today we will learn which act Macedonian Radio Television (MRT) will be sending to Turin, Italy, to represent North Macedonia at Eurovision 2022.

This year, North Macedonia did not internally select their candidate, and opted for a national selection of sorts. Six hopefuls were chosen, and audition videos were posted on MRT’s website and the public could vote for their favorite. The online vote will count for 50% of the final score, with the other 50% coming from an international jury.

Za Evrosong 2022 has not had quite the fanfare of Spain’s Benidorm Festival or Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival, but since North Macedonia has done alright for itself lately at Eurovision and Junior Eurovision, they still deserve a full court press, and like Spain and Italy, we at ESC United will be covering North Macedonia in our cycle of announcement, review, results, and preparation.

Giving our thoughts on North Macedonia’s selection of Eurovision hopefuls is our “expert” panel from across the globe. “Across the globe” is as good as it gets for this motley bunch, and here is our panel:

  • William Carter: Our ESC United Texas correspondent who often brings us bluebonnets from the bowels of the Abyss.
  • Tyler Griffiths: Our ESC United Alaska correspondent and the world’s foremost hakarl enthusiast.
  • James Maude: A British expat living in California after jaunts in South Africa and Pittsburgh.
  • Boris Meersman: ESC United’s resident Belgian correspondent. Insert One Euro, say “Cicciolina,” and watch the rants fly.
  • David Popescu: ESC United’s resident Denmark correspondent of Romanian extract and random score generator.
  • Roy Postema: ESC United’s resident Dutch correspondent and YouTube Reactioneer.
  • Stefan Resimić: ESC United’s resident Serbian correspondent and reality television expert.

Andrea – “Circles”

 

Boris – 5.5 – “She’s so close to a viable song for Eurovision lol. Personally, I don’t think Andrea is quite *there* yet, but the bare bones are there, so if Macedonia went with “Circles” it may not be a total disaster (yes, that is the situation they’re in right now.)”

David – 3 – “Innocent and touching song, but… it’s just the usual. I’m not really hearing anything in this song that would make it stand out in any way, so it’s just there and forgotten afterwards. Overall, very bland and boring to be fair. I do like her voice, and her connection, but I’m just not feeling it at all.”

James – 8.5 – “Andrea is dressed in her audition video like she’s hanging outside a 7-Eleven asking strangers for change for coffee, and she legitimately just wants it for coffee and will rip your head off if you suggest otherwise. There is an intensity to Andrea that makes her a compelling performer, and based on her hand gestures I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of any tirade from her. “Circles” is easily the best of this selection even though I suspect international voters will veer towards novelty of a more famous entrant. Could “Circles” and Andrea do North Macedonia “Proud” at Eurovision? I think she will come close if given some proper backing.”

Roy – 3.5 – “This is just an okay ballad supported by a mediocre, overused trap-beat. Makes it feel a bit dated and ordinary.”

Stefan – 3.5 – “Circles, running in circles and going nowhere. Just meh. I can’t say it monotonous cause there are beats and rhythms. And just like that, I had to wander was this song really good enough for the jury to select it for the national final.”

Tyler – 8 – “I like a song that’s about breaking up and I quite like the lyrics for “Circles”! The song is giving me late 2000s early 10s altpop and I don’t mind that at all. I quite welcome it as it helps it stand out! That being said, presentation will be the thing that either saves this or sinks it on stage, and this feels like it could be a miss for North. I still enjoy this though, would put on my Spotify playlist.”

William – 3.5 – “I respect this more than I really love it. She seems dope, though.”

Total: 35 points (Average = 5.000)

Kaly – “Love and Light”

 

Boris – 4 – “Belarus’s auditions may have left the Eurovision Canon, but their spirit lives on in attempts such as these. Bless you for the message, but the song just ain’t it.”

David – 1 – “I… wha… I just don’t know. I’m honestly out of words here, it’s like someone just threw all kinds of things into a song. I don’t know what style it is, the lyrics were random, I really don’t know what I listened to.”

James – 5 – “This sounds like the opening theme to a new fantasy show on Amazon Prime. I have no idea what the song is about, and for all the bombast of the chorus it just ends on a whimper. It needs that extra 25 seconds to launch to an explosive ending that the lords of love and light (or whatever) promised early. This song feels incomplete, as if we’re supposed to vote for its promise and the Macedonian delegation will just finish it between now and Turin.”

Roy – 5 – “A better orchestrated ballad that has some staging potential. I am not fully sure if the lyrics work for me, but there is something catchy about the use of the word ‘holiness’ Some potential here!”

Stefan – 6 – “Well first there’s a build up, that’s a good thing, but then it goes back down. And the drama, oh my can you feel it? I’m also getting slight Malta 2007 vibes, so there’s that. Let’s just hope that in the case she wins, she’ll have a spectacular stage performance, because that’s the only thing it can help to improve the overall impression.”

Tyler – 7 – “Love and Light” would be an interesting choice for North as it doesn’t feel conventional to be safe, but it isn’t unsafe enough with its choices if that makes sense? I like the chorus and the sort of ethereal nature of the instrumentation at times, and that almost makes up for some of the clunky lines in the lyrics. I wouldn’t mind seeing how they stage this as I think it could be interesting! But would need killer staging to move on past the semi.”

William – 3 – “I mean, she’s feeling herself. I’ll give her that.”

Total: 31 points (Average = 4.429)

Lara Ivanova – “Flower of Sorrow”

Boris – 2 – “I will never understand why people think these musically barren ballads are good songs. This one in particular is both boring and bad? Move along, basic bitches.”

David – 2 – “I’m booooooooooored! It’s a ballad… of course I’m struggling to pay attention. Lovely voice though.”

James – 2 – “”All I can hear is Terrible Sound” is geared to be the meme of the national selection season. I read that there is a Macedonian version out there, and I am wondering if that is the original version and they hastily translated it to English? The lyrics do have that word salad feel. Lara does sound like a promising newcomer and she gamely gives it her all, but the track does her no favors. It’s a ballad with orchestral elements, with lyrics and a feel that seem too mature for Lara (was this written with someone else in mind?). It also just dead-ends right at the three minute mark without feeling like it’s a natural conclusion. I’d like to see Lara come back someday soon, but with a peppier track, perhaps more jazz influenced to better suit her voice.”

Roy – 6.5 – “This has a lot of potential for some clean camera angles. It is a decent ballad that could do decently depending on the live-performance. The issue is that it isn’t the most ground-breaking or sophisticated ballad that you will ever hear..”

Stefan – 6 – “And we have our designated ballad. It’s not your typical Eurovision ballad and you could say it’s a good thing, but when you’re missing a culmination and with that sudden end I can’t hide my disappointment. When it started I honestly had high hopes, but… (sighs inside himself).”

Tyler – 6.5 – “I do like the musicality of “Flower of Sorrow”, but don’t quite like the lyrics in this. It reads as an English translation rather than natural, and it sticks out to me not in a good way. That doesn’t mean that Lara can’t be understood, she can! I think Lara could give a good performance for North, but doesn’t have that oomph to me for Eurovision.”

William – 4 – “Probably North Macedonia’s best option. Kind of a bummer, though, huh?”

Total: 29 points (Average = 4.143)

Ris Flower – “Flying to Berlin”

Boris – 4 – “Professional dentist decides to follow those midlife crisis tingles and tries out for Eurovision. Is it good? Eh, not really, but don’t let that discourage you – you’re special little snowflake mr Flowerovski. Live the dream ^_^”

David – 1 – “You know that feeling when a song finishes too fast, and you can’t believe it’s already over… well, that ain’t the case here. How was this song “only” 3 minutes… sheesh! Felt like 10 minutes! How did I manage to get past this song? I can appreciate some old school, but this? NEXT!”

James – 8 – “It was only a matter of time before Serhat’s illegitimate children started popping up. And like the Great Serhat himself, Ris Flower (Boris Cvetanovski) is a dentist, though no word on whether he aspires to Macedonian Jeopardy! You can tell that all Serhat left for young Boris is a mix-tape with Roy Orbison and Matthew Sweet, and that classy jacket he wears in his audition video. Bonus points go for using “ASAP” as a lyric and not using the Eurovision host city, even though it would still rhyme. Negative points go for everything else in this care free ham bone rocker, but it gets a strong score because The Spirit of Serhat is strong with this one.”

Roy – 2 – “There was some potential in his voice and in the main sentence. The unfortunate thing is that they decide to go for a rather basic and underwhelming chorus. If they went balls to the walls ‘Mumiy Troll’-style, this might have had some more things to cling onto. As is, this is just not good enough unfortunately.”

Stefan – 2 – “Awww… He’s trying so hard to be a cool rock star, but he’s not managing to do it. You first need a good song and also some charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. And he lacks many of those things.”

Tyler – 5 – “This is so cheesy lol. I can see why she’s heading to Berlin instead of staying in North with him! I do like the instrumentation as it gives me vague ’80s new wave, but I don’t like the lyrics at all. I’m trying to get over my “guy playing an electric guitar” bias, but Boris’s song is only partially good here.”

William – 3.5 – “Gives off slight … pre-taped skit for an office Christmas party vibes.”

Total: 25.5 points (Average = 3.643)

Viktor Apostolovski – “Superman”

Boris – 6.5 – “Hyperactive douchebro <3 To be fair, I laughed at (with?) this even-trashier-than-the-original ‘Brutalero’ spirit clone, which is… more than what the rest gave me. “Superman” won’t ever qualify for the Grand Final… but let’s be real none of the other Macedonian songs will either, so might as WELL go for something entertaining and off-beat, right?”

David – 2 – “This is how you go down with your ship… HARD! Screw it! Might as well just go all out on the crazy and pray for the best, what’s to lose? Dude has balls of steel for even daring to sing junk like this, but at least it’s attention worthy, so… that’s a win?”

James – 1 – “It’s like an airport hotel bartender found a leftover LMFAO track in the bins behind that strip club in Moon Township, Pennsylvania that proudly offers a “free hot dog night!” and started goofing on top of it. I can appreciate the Chad energy (the lyrics where Viktor contemptuously shouts “blah! Blah! Blah!”) in a dork package, but this is just poorly done. A Question for the trivia buffs: if this wins Za Evrosong 2022, will this song have the first “Mom” joke ever at Eurovision? Yes, this is the level of classiness that North Macedonia could be bringing to Eurovision. Quite a step down from “Proud,” right?”

Roy – 1 – “Insanely dated dance tune with cringey lyrics and a drop that reminds me of the music used in Formula 1 memes when drivers charge through the field. I am sorry, this is horrible.”

Stefan – 10 – “Hahahaha… Well I am glad I had a laugh listening it. I’m not sure should I call it a BOP or a JOKE. I mean the lyrics are hilarious, but the beat is so good. And then the backing vocals came in. I just can not not give it a 10/10.”

Tyler – 4.5 – “If “Superman” becomes North ‘s entry, then perhaps they need to go for the camp factor to make this a more palatable entry. As is, the music is bland electronica from 2006, the lyrics are laughably simple, and the entire song feels more annoying to me than anything. It wasn’t excruciating to get though, but it wasn’t fun. Go for fun and camp with this entry if this gets chosen. Otherwise, enjoy the semi!”

William – 🍍 – “Iconic disasterpiece. I voted for it. I would vote for it again, if I had the chance. Can’t wait to watch this come dead last in Turin.”

Total: 25 & 🍍 points (Average = 3.571)

Yon Idy – “Dreams”

Boris – 2 – “Oh a white guitar guy with a break-up ballad. :takes out notepad, writes down ‘2/10’ and moves on with his life:”

David – 4 – “A decent attempt, a dude playing his guitar and just singing it out. I actually don’t mind this one, very innocent and simple, it’s one of those cases of less is more. Of course, nothing outstanding but there’s nothing to dislike, but then again, nothing really to like really.”

James – 2 – “A bitter lullaby where Yon is ranting about his lying ex-girlfriend. The electric guitar adds a tone of dread that doesn’t belong in a song like this, which along with his sneering delivery gives the impression his ex’s head is buried in a box in the Mojave Desert somewhere. I’d give Yon a mandalin, a pina colada in a pineapple shaped glass, a ticket to Hawaii (maybe KaYra will be there?), and order him to serenade a new girlfriend. Just to stop his whinging.”

Roy – 8.5 – This reminds me a lot of songs like Kedvesem or Da Da Dam. I believe that it has the potential to be a great moment on the stage. Just a guy with an acoustic guitar playing the song to the world, that would be wonderful! Easily my pick of the bunch!!

Stefan – 7 – “You’re at home, just sittin’ down and chillin’ and this is the song you’ll play. It’s very simple and I can say it works in his favor, but having in mind that competition at Eurovision is brutal I am scared he would just be lost in the bunch.”

Tyler – 5.5 – “Trying to get over my “guy playing a guitar” bias here, but I’m sorry this is only okay! “Dreams” doesn’t feel natural to me as the lyrics feel forced and isn’t dynamic enough for me to enjoy. I think the instrumentation could be interesting, but if the performance is just Yon with a guitar then I don’t think it’ll get votes for North.”

William – 4 – “I like the vibe. Wouldn’t be mad if it won.”

Total: 33 points (Average = 4.714)

So after our reviews, the scores are as follows:

1.) Andrea – “Circles” – 35 points (Average = 5)

2.) Yon Idy – “Dreams” – 33 points (Average = 4.714)

3.) Kaly – “Love and Light” – 31 points (Average = 4.429)

4.) Lana – “Flower of Sorrow” – 29 points (Average = 4.143)

5.) Ris Flower – “Flying to Berlin” – 25.5 points (Average = 3.643)

6.) Viktor Apostolovski – “Superman” – 25 points and a 🍍(Average = 3.571)

So Andrea wins ESC United’s writer series, though she does so with an average of exactly 5, which is… well, average. The message sent by the writers here is that in a year of 26 national selections, North Macedonia’s appears to be the poorest so far.

The scores here across seven writers of very different tastes should cause concern for North Macedonia’s broadcaster. Also of note is that the two novelty songs both came in last. If North Macedonia thinks they’re going to use humor to get to the Grand Final at Eurovision 2022, they got another thing coming.

Do #YOU agree with our writers’ verdicts? Or do #YOU think that there are some gems in this rough of a national selection? Let us know in the comments below, on our social media, or in our forum.

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