Initial Review: “Circles” by Andrea (North Macedonia)

I don’ t think Ze Evrosong had an obvious winner, but “Circles” by Andrea was one of the better songs available. However, this is a fairly contentious victory: Andrea comfortably won the jury vote, but finished third in the televote. Victor Apostolovski (“Superman”) won the televote but came third with the jury. Given that there was a 50-50 split in the way votes were weighted, this meant the two songs were tied. In any national selection I can think of, a tie is usually decided by the televote, but North Macedonia’s rules gave the jury to have the final say, so Andrea came away the win. I’m sure this will be much discussed, especially if the song doesn’t do well at the contest.

Nevertheless, “Circles” is the song that North Macedonia is sending, and even though I don’t think any of their selection were particularly strong contenders to qualify for the final, if there’s one thing that this song does, it’s emotions. As I mentioned in my brief review of the song, Andrea emotes really well in her vocals, and this can take a song far if they can get the staging right. Lyrically I think this is one of the strongest of the songs selected so far, and even though Andrea effectively sings the same thing twice, the shift in tone the second time underlines the desperation her character feels regarding her failing relationship, and I’m impressed by how well this works.

I’d really like to see a quick revamp of the backing track though: sometimes it works, but other times it could give Andrea a bit more support rather than just being an ominous backdrop. Maybe a quick guitar solo in the final minute rather than whatever that synth line was supposed to be. I think it needs fuller drums as well — this is an authentic-sounding song, so give it clearer, cleaner instrumentation.

Lastly, I’m not sure from the video performance that Andrea has a particularly strong stage presence — she seems a little withdrawn. I realise the artists didn’t have much to work with in terms of how they were filmed, but I hope that the eventual staging features someone who represents her “partner”. This would give her a good focal point and bring to life the story in the lyrics.