Vlatko Ilievski

FYR Macedonia announces twenty finalists for Skopje Festival

Tijana Dapčević © Tommy Engström, EuroVisionary

The Macedonian broadcaster has revealed the names of the twenty acts that will participate at this year's Skopje Festival which will take place on the 12th of November. Among them there are some of the most established artists of the national music scene and some familiar faces for Eurovision fans.

Some Eurovision names in the line-up of Sunčane Skale 2012

Sunčane Skale 2012

Sunčane Skale is one of the most popular music festivals in the Balkan region and the final will be held tonight with some former Eurovision artists among the participants. It will take place for the 18th time on the main square of Herceg Novi in Montenegro.

2011 - 2nd Semi-Final

2011 logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 May 2011
Contest type: 
Semi-Final 2
Venue: 
Fortuna Düsseldorf Arena (Espirit Arena)
Broadcaster: 
NDR
Presenter(s): 
Anke Engelke, Judith Rakers, Stefan Raab
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

Germany hosted the contest for the first time in 28 years. Last time, in 1983, the most memorable aspect of the contest was the thrice repetition of everything that was said (in German, English and French), making the contest seem a lot longer than the three hours, 20 minutes in actually lasted. This time round, the presentation was much less formal, much more relaxed and one of the more entertaining presentations in recent years. Actress Judith Rakers brought an air of professionalism to proceedings, while comedian Anke Engelke and Stefan Raab, already known to fans as a bit of a joker, brought some slapstick to the show. It was a welcome break from the straight-laced approach usually adopted by Executive Producers.

The arena chosen by NDR is usually associated with football matches, being the home of Bundesliga team, Fortuna Dusseldorf. However, it was built as a multi-purpose stadium and so was easily converted into an arena fit for the world’s biggest musical event. The Green Room, where the singers hung out when they were not on stage, was hidden at the back of the stage and revealed in spectacular fashion at the start of the voting.

Just when you thought the contest was shredding its image as home of the daft song title, along came the 2011 version to relight the unjustified reputation. There was a Haba, Haba, Boom Boom, Da Da Dam and a Ding Dong.

The biggest story of the contest was a very tragic one. The Icelandic song, Coming Home, was written by Sjonni Brink. He was also due to perform the song himself in the Icelandic semi-finals, but died before they took place. Instead of withdrawing the song, six of his friends came together to perform the song in his memory. They proved to be an unstoppable force as they won the right to represent Iceland in Dusseldorf. Sentiment can be a powerful emotion which some felt could have given Iceland its first victory. In the end, despite a strong and professional performance which would have made Sjonni proud, reaching the final was as good as it got. 

Every contest usually sees accusations of plagiarism, and 2011 was no different. The band representing Denmark, A Friend In London, had no sooner won the Danish final than videos were being posted on contest related sites which showed more than a passing similarity between their song, New Tomorrow, and three or four other songs. As is not uncommon, no official complaint was received by the EBU so the fuss soon died down.

While Denmark managed to have no problems where there may have been some, the Belarusians were not so lucky. They selected Anastasiya Vinnikova to sing a very patriotic song called Born in Byelorussia. However, the lyrics didn’t pass the political content test and so Anastasiya was sent to Dusseldorf with the equally patriotic but less political I Love Belarus.

For the first time since the very early days of the Eurovision Song Contest, the winner of the previous year came back to defend her title. Lena made it known soon after Satellite had given her and Germany victory that she would welcome the opportunity to participate again in Dusseldorf. This was an offer that NDR didn’t turn down, and so songs were commissioned for the German public to choose for her.

After many years of campaigning by fans, Italian broadcaster, RAI, submitted an entry for the first time since 1997. A continuation of the return of one of the favourite Eurovision countries may be in doubt due to the low viewing figures in Italy, especially in the second semi-final in which they voted. Italy was not the only nation to enter the contest after an absence, San Marino entered for the second time, Hungary also came back into the fold and Austria also entered again having dropped out after the 2007 contest. All in all, this brought a field of 43 delegations to Germany to fight it out.

The winner of the 1998 contest, Dana International came back to try again. Other returning acts were Dino Merlin and Zdob și Zdub. Some of the acts were already known to the viewers. Blue put their credibility on the line for the United Kingdom, while Jedward tried to gain some by ‘singing’ for Ireland.

Last dress rehearsal of the 2nd semi final

Ireland Dress rehearsal (c) Eurovisionary.com

The final dress rehearsal of the second semi final started at 15.00 o'clock. It was the last chance for the participants to get everything well prepared for the live show tonight. Just like during the 3rd dress rehearsal of the first semi final, most of the artists wore casual clothes instead of the ones which they will wear during the live show.

First dress rehearsal of the 2nd semi final

TWiiNS (c) Eurovision.tv

Today it was time for the contestants of the 2nd semi final to have the first of three dress rehearsals before the live broadcast tomorrow night. They now only have a few more chances to solve possible technical errors and make last improvements on their performances.

2nd Semi-Final - A Prediction

After the shocks (Switzerland in) and surprises (Poland out) of the first semi-final, attention now turns to the second semi-final on Thursday. There are nineteen songs vying for the ten available places left in the final on Saturday. What chances does each one have? Read on to find out.

Vlatko and dancers shine at 2nd rehearsal

Vlatko Ilievski ©  EuroVisionary

Vlatko Ilievski and his dancers gave a great show at the 2nd rehearsal for FYR Macedonia for the song, Rusinka.  There was a Russian theme running through the whole performance.

Day 4 - Press Conferences

Jedward ©  eurovision.tv

Today saw the remaining ten delegations on the second semi-final have the opportunity to rehearse, as well as holding the obligatory press conference.

Balkan Flavours on Stage for Macedonia

Vlatko Ilievski (c) Eurovision.tv.

Having failed to get to the final since 2007, the pressure must surely be palpable for Vlatko and his dancers. If he feels the pressure, he certainly didn't let it show, giving us a very professional first rehearsal.

High quality videos from Eurovision in Concert

Eurovision in Concert 2011 Logo ©  Eurovision in Concert

Do you want to see just how your favourite entry this year looks on stage just weeks before the Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf? EuroVisionary offers high quality videos of all the performances from last night's Eurovision in Concert held in Amsterdam.

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