Kaliopi is back. If you are thrilled by the idea of seeing the balkan rock lady on stage, you are not alone – I am too. She has achieved the second best results ever for her country (top of the list Elena Risteska in 2006) and the Macedonian television has decided to play it sort of safe this year, picking her internally.

Which meant that no one really watched the Skopje fest this year.

But anyway, as she stated a few days ago, she is looking to write a better song than 2012 in order to bring back glory to her country. But will that be enough for a qualification and a top 10 placing? Let’s take a look at all the factors in place – hoping she won’t mind my FYROMing throughout this article.

Luck counts.

I know, opening an article like this is a bit counterproductive, but luck counts – especially for the FYR of Macedonia. They failed to qualify in 2008 and 2009 even though they came 10th because of the (very weird) EBU rule of 9 qualifiers + 1 picked by the jury. So they have already been screwed over by Sweden and Finland.

Again: does luck count? Yes it does. But let’s call it more “context”: that’s what mainly counts. That is why sometimes is pretty much stupid to compare pattern from different years without taking into consideration the context. Clearly Azerbaijan would have never won if that song was entered in 2012 against Loreen.

Second time’s charm?

Kaliopi already qualified (I won’t count the 1996 attempt, as there was no televised semifinal) – which is usually the goal for every country that is not the nordics or Russia. So this year’s goal is to do better and maybe reach top 10. But how many people had a better result coming back to Eurovision?

Charlotte Perrelli wasn’t one of them – as she almost didn’t qualify (see the luck part). Jedward didn’t achieve a better result the year after their comeback – and so did Lena Mayer-Landrut (as much as that was a pretty impossible mission).

But let’s look on the bright side: Zeljko Joksimovic brought Serbia back to the podium in 2012 (even though in 2004 he came 2nd), Anna Vissi got to the top10 on her third attempt and Dino Merlin came 6th in the final after a 7th place in 1993 and so on. Will Kaliopi be the next one on this list?

(I should not forget to mention our beloved Valentina Monetta and her qualification to the final in 2013. I know how all of you fans love her).

Don’t overdo the staging

Bringing important acts together is nice. Having quality people on stage is fine. But clearly, overdoing it just for the sake of it doesn’t work. It has happened many times that a simple song, to be sung in a very understated key has been overdone by props. Or by backing singers that overshadowed the main singer.

That’s what possibly happened with Daniel Kajmakoski this year. Daniel alone was perfectly fine on stage. They could have employed a few props just to make it more fancy – and stick to a group of unnamed people hidden behind the swirling balls of the Vienna Stage. But nope. And they didn’t qualify.

Don’t overdo in general

What an engaging year was 2013 for the Former Yugoslav Republic! As much as it would have probably started a political crisis in Malmö (but we were in Sweden, so they would have solved it easily), Imperija was a pretty together song.

It still reeked a bit of trainwreck as Esma and Lozano looked like an odd artistic couple, but it was fine. Not a qualifier, but fine.

But then the Macedonian television decided to send the Grandmother and Child to Sweden with another song, Pred da se razdeni, that clearly sounded like a mash up of very far away sounds. Esma bluntly declared that she wasn’t really happy with the song. Lozano was wise not to comment on it. Thing was, for us Eurovision fans, the song grew on us. But for a first time viewer, the apparition of Esma in a very bright red dress shouting out “le le le” wasn’t really a thing. So: tone it down.

Do bring nice personalities

In the run up to the contest, we tend to meet all the artist and familiarise with them. As much as we know that we won’t be really influencing the voting (as most of the people reading this website are probably in the arena or representative of just the 2% of all televoters), it’s always nice to get to know a singer who’s fun, outgoing and a good PR for the country they are representing

It is in poor taste when journalist ask political questions about a country to a poor singer who’s just supposed to entertain. But the FYR Macedonia/Greece naming dispute debacle has been very well managed by two people so far: Kaliopi and Tijana Dapcevic. So we are pretty sure this will work in their favour, as Kaliopi seems to be the nicest (and craziest) person on earth.

(And now let’s take a second to admire this magical moment)

Never compromise yourself for the stage

This is probably the most important tip for FYR Macedonia and, mostly, for Kaliopi. When she was on stage in Baku, everyone could feel she was comfortable, in the right place at the right time. Let’s hope the Stockholm stage will be the same.

Maybe rock and Eurovision are not the quickest association done by viewers, but when Kaliopi brought Crno i Belo in 2012 it deserved even more than what they ended up getting. So my hope for 2016 is to see another Kaliopi song, with the same energy, with an understated but elegant stage.

Will FYR Macedonia qualify? I certainly hope so.

Italian in the UK, with a strong preference for Sweden. I support myself tweeting (not even joking) - and that's why Social Media is my kingdom. Drama tends to follow me, hence why I really feel connected to the #skandal and #fiasko hashtags.

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