Alternative Eurovision 2016: Vote now in Semi-Final 1

Now that all the songs have been selected for the 61st Eurovision Song Contest, we enter the quiet period before the artists make their way to Stockholm in May. But fear not, as we’re launching a competition to keep the Eurovision soul pumping through your veins: Alternative Eurovision.

The contest features exactly the same artists. They’re competing in identical semi-finals for the opportunity to win the Alternative Eurovision trophy in our grand final. The twist is that they won’t be competing with their Eurovision entry – but instead with another song from their repertoire, carefully selected by our Wiwi Jury. So let’s delve into the musical history of our 2016 contestants as we search for the ultimate Alternative Eurovision entry.

*Unfortunately Germany and UK cannot participate in the contest, as they are yet to release original material (other than their ESC entries).

Armenia: Iveta Mukuchyan “Summer Rain”

Back in 2014 Mukuchyan teamed up with Armenian DJ Lazzaro to bring us the upbeat banger “Summer Rain”. With vocals stronger than Farid Mammadov’s biceps, Iveta slays on the international aqua park anthem.

Austria: Zoë “Adieu”

Say bonjour to Zoë, who is singing the French-language track “Adieu” with her signature sensuality and style. She took the song all the way to third place in Austria’s 2015 national selection for Eurovision.

Azerbaijan: Samra “O sevir”

https://youtu.be/Mk2xZCk8Dc8

If there are any straight men out there, this one’s for you. Watch the beauty that is Samra Rahimli splaying herself along a beach, whist illustrating perfectly why Azerbaijan employs Swedes each year to write their Eurovision entries.

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Deen “Deset Miliona Ljubavi”

There’s nothing like a slice of the 2002 Bosnian music industry to brighten up your evening. Let Deen take you back in the disco with one of his earlier hits, the glittery euro-dance number “Ten Million Loves”.

Croatia: Nina Kraljic “Zaljuljali Smo Svijet”

After winning The Voice Croatia, Kraljic went on to release her debut single, “We swung the world”. The song follows the similar mysterious, ethnic vibes to her Eurovision entry, but is sung in her slavic mother tongue.

Cyprus: Minus One “Shine”

National final followers will remember that Minus One attempted to represent their island last year with the rock number, “Shine”. The song won the jury vote, but came last in the televote, leaving them lingering in third place. Do you think they deserved better?

Czech Republic: Gabriela Gunciková “Cerny andel”

Don’t be fooled by the flowers in her hair – “Black Angel” is just as dark as the title suggests. Ms Guncíková sings of God, the devil and being saved from eternal darkness in her 2013 satanic rock hymn.

Estonia: Jüri Pootsmann “I Remember U”

Eesti Laul’s third place finisher, Cartoon, recently teamed up with the winner – Jüri Pootsmann (duh) – to show us a more colourful side to Juri’s stern looks, in the drum-and-bass anthem “I Remember U”.

Finland: Sandhja “Hold Me”

Finland swaps tundra and pine forests for deserts and grasslands in Sandhja’s 2013 single, “Hold Me”. This woman still oozes soul, but allows us to see her vulnerable side too.

Greece: Argo “Den mou kaneis”

Ethno-hip-hop is what they do, and ethno-hip-hop is what you will get. Europond – who changed their name to Argo for Eurovision – turn up the heat in their 2012 single “You’re Not Enough.”

Hungary: Freddie “Mary Joe”

Shortly after finishing fourth on Hungary’s Rising Star, Gábor Alfréd Fehérvári – or Freddie as we now know him – released his debut single, “Mary Joe”. Prepare yourselves for ‘pockets full of soul,’ as he swaps his Eastern gongs for a Western harmonica.

Iceland: Greta Salóme “We Are”

Let one of Iceland’s most coveted songwriters transport you to a Northern utopia with the magical ballad, “We Are”. The song features on her debut album, In The Silence, released in 2012.

Malta: Ira Losco “Shoudn’t Have To Bother”

Only Ira could make gutting a fish on a precarious pontoon look sexy. She represents Malta with her 2014 summer hit, “Shouldn’t Have To Bother” — a song even sunnier than the Mediterranean island itself.

Moldova: Lidia Isac “I Can’t Breathe”

And now for a flashback to last year’s O Melodie Pentru Europa 2015, when Lidia Isac was competing with the super saxy dance number, “I Can’t Breathe”. Hopefully y’all are feeling this more than Moldova was – in the final she finished in joint last place, with a grand total of nul points.

Montenegro: Highway “Sam”

After finishing in fourth place on X Factor Adria last year, Highway went on to release their debut single, “Myself,” in November. The band give you the unique opportunity to listen to Balkan rock whilst looking at Balkan rocks – oh you do spoil us Montenegro!

Netherlands: Douwe Bob “Can’t Slow Down”

Since winning De beste singer-songwriter van Nederland in 2012, Douwe has gone on to release two albums. In his latest album he raises the tempo from his ESC entry with the contradictorily named “Can’t Slow Down”. Someone please do him a favour and install cruise control!

Russia: Sergey Lazarev “7 Wonders”

Ever fancied travelling the world with an outstandingly attractive Russian superstar? Well, we can dream. Meanwhile, enjoy his 2014 single, “7 Wonders” – accompanied by a music video more expensive than Serhat’s bribe to SMTV.

San Marino: Serhat “Je M’adore”

If you’re in the mood for some Turkish-Sammarinese electro-swing realness, then look no further than Serhat’s 2014 single, “Je M’Adore”. Mr Hacipasalioglu follows the first rule of making people like you, by telling the world that he adores himself.

Now that you have heard all 18 entries, it’s time to cast your vote. Just like at the actual Eurovision, you can vote for as many countries as you like — however you can only vote once, so choose wisely. Be sure to click the box next to each act you want to support before pressing submit.

The 10 acts with the most votes will advance to the final, along with the qualifiers from semi final 2 (which we will launch imminently) and the automatic qualifiers. Europe… start voting NOW!

View semi-final 1 results here

Vote in more of our Eurovision 2016 polls