Monty’s Eurovision Countdown – Macedonia (FYR of)

Dance Alone by Jana Burčeska

Every now and then a song comes along which completely bucks the trend of history for the country it represents. Macedonia has tended to represent a national flavour in her entries, but it’s an approach that has not been fortunate for her, yet to crack the top 10, and with only one qualification in the past decade. Even bringing back local heavyweight Kaliopi (she of the one qualification) for 2016 couldn’t bring them back to the final. This year Jana has ditched any pretence at bringing something typically Macedonian, but with it I think she brings their best ever chance. Singing a tale of secret, and unrequited, desire this is a breath of fresh air, a cracking pop song with instant widespread appeal. There’s a terrific video to match, with an older woman escaping into a dream world of not-to-be memory through virtual reality goggles, a brief but bittersweet respite from the lonely drudge of her pitiful existence. It would be terribly sad were it not for the defiant resilience of Jana’s lyrics.

The unexpected joy of this entry is however tempered by the reliability of Macedonia to completely fuck it up with the staging. After the stiffness of Kaliopi’s Dona, and the incongruence of drafting in Blackstreet to back Daniel Kajmakoski I shudder to think what horrors might be thrust upon Jana for her live performance. Literally dancing alone to Dance Alone wouldn’t sell the song to its full potential, but I fear some interpretative demonstration of dancing alone by, ironically, not having her dancing alone but by some trite and clumsy choreography playing out tastelessly around her. Maybe she shouldn’t have set her bar so high with such a brilliant promo clip.

My marks – douze points!