Macedonia, what happened?

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POSTED: May 16, 2016

The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest took place last Saturday, and finished with the kind of manufactured controversy that is so fashionable at the moment. The contest was won by Ukraine whose singer Jamala also wrote the song, which is called 1914 and is certainly different from most winning entries. The opening lyrics are:

When strangers are coming…
They come to your house,
They kill you all
and say,
We’re not guilty
not guilty.

Where is your mind?
Humanity cries.
You think you are gods.
But everyone dies.
Don’t swallow my soul.
Our souls

It is “not political” because it refers to a historical event, when Russian brutally enslaved the Ukrainian people. Any relationship to any more recent Russia / Ukraine annexing palaver is presumably in the eye of the beholder.

However, the main controversy in our house concerned the inexplicable global decision to not vote for Macedonia in the semi-finals, thus depriving the final of its best histrionics in years. Interestingly the song, as performed in the semi-finals, differs somewhat in interpretation from the official video released before the contest:

This is more restrained, less exuberant, and arguably more refined, than the belting version that was delivered live:

The backing singers are both more forceful and more prominent, the vocals are all-out, the between-line screams linger somewhere between unnecessary and perfect, and the last two notes of the live version are simply not there on the recording.

Macedonia was robbed!