On December 16 Ireland became the sixth country to reveal its Eurovision 2017 act, joining the likes of Cyprus, The Netherlands, Belgium, Macedonia and Azerbaijan. These countries clearly want to start building hype early — and give themselves plenty of time to choose the perfect song.
We know that the song is everything when choosing a winner. But at this stage which act is lighting your fire the most? Who do you think can slay if given a killer song? We’re dying to know so we’re launching a poll right now.
Azerbaijan — Dihaj
Last year she served as a backing vocalist during the Eurovision 2016 rehearsals, helping Samra get ready for her stage show.
But now Diana Hajiyeva — the aspiring pop star better known as DiHaj — is ready for her moment in the spotlight.
The Baku-based beauty definitely beats to her own drum, dropping other-worldly experimental pop. You can see that most clearly in “I Break Again” — her first single, which hit YouTube in December 2014.
Reaction from our readers has been overwhelmingly positive, with the majority saying they hope she’ll get to write her own music and showcase her songwriting ability.
Will Ictimai TV let her go her own way? Or will it draft in help from Swedish songwriters once more? Either way, we hope and expect DiHaj to deliver something magical.
Belgium — Blanche
Wallonian broadcaster RTBF has internally selected Blanche, who appeared on the most recent edition of The Voice Belgique under her real name, Ellie Delvaux.
Ellie is busy finalising her debut album. RTBF was so impressed with one of the singles that they jumped on the chance to send it to Eurovision.
Thus far she’s known primarily for her breathy covers, including her take on “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran.
Blanche was coached by French band Cats on Trees during her time on The Voice. She made it through to the live shows, ultimately going out two weeks before the final.
Along the way, she performed songs by the likes of Adele, Radiohead and Beyoncé. With her own YouTube page showing off some more covers as well, it’s clear that there’s a lot of genres Blanche can lend her hand to.
Cyprus — Hovig
The 27-year-old Cypriot of Armenian heritage — who goes by the stage name Hovig — will perform a song written by the Swedish Eurovision maestro Thomas G:Son.
This won’t be the first time G:Son has worked with Cyprus — he co-wrote Minus One’s 2016 entry “Alter Ego”.
Hovig was a contestant on The X Factor Greece in 2009, the same year as Ivi Adamou. Over the series, he demonstrated himself as a versatile performer with strong rock vocals, able to deliver upbeat songs as well as emotional ballads, in both English and in Greek. He eventually placed seventh on the show.
In 2015, Hovig competed in the Cyprus national final The Eurovision Song Project, with his song “Stone in a River”. He eventually placed fourth, but given that runners-up Minus One had their chance at Eurovision the year after, perhaps it’s no surprise that CyBC are drawing on the talent pool of the 2015 national final.
Ireland — Brendan Murray
Broadcaster RTÉ has internally selected Brendan Murray, a former member of the Irish boyband HomeTown. A search is currently on for his song and public submissions will be considered.
Twenty-year-old Brendan is being steered through the process by X Factor judge and Irish music mogul Louis Walsh, who clearly saw Brendan as the standout of the Irish six-piece, who announced their split on December 7.
Brendan has drawn comparisons to two former Eurovision stars from Belgium — Loic Nottet (high-pitched and edgy) and Tom Dice (an acoustic dream).
He recently uploaded a cover of Sia’s “Chandelier” to his Facebook page, showing his ability to serve it up with just a guitar and his unique, easily recognisable voice. If you check out HomeTown’s cover of Adele’s “Hello” you’ll see just how much Brendan’s voice stands out — even among other talented vocalists.
Macedonia — Jana Burceska
Jana came to fame in Macedonia in 2010 when she appeared on the first season of Macedonian Idol. There, she placed 5th, ending up as the highest placing female singer.
Interestingly, one of the judges on that first season was none other than Macedonian legend Kaliopi!
Jana has gone on to participate multiple times at Skopje Fest. The years she has participated in the contest, however, were when it was not the selection process for Eurovision. Jana’s back catalogue includes a number of different styles of song too, from big band to rock to folk.
We could be kept guessing about just what kind of performance we’ll be seeing from Macedonia this year!
The Netherlands — O’G3NE
O’G3NE is a girl group consisting of three sisters — Lisa, Amy and Shelley — who competed at Junior Eurovision in 2007. The O in their name stands for their mother’s blood group, while G3ne represents the genes that bind the the three sisters.
Most recently the girls appeared on The Best Singers of The Netherlands. In the first episode they sang their own version of Emeli Sandé’s ‘Clown’. It immediately went to number one on the iTunes charts. You can buy it here.
AVROTROS have not revealed when the group’s song will be released, but we know the girls are not worried about delivering something big or staying true to themselves.
In September they spoke with 100%NL Magazine, revealing that if they did get the chance to compete, they’d do so on their terms and with their own style in mind. They are definitely in it to win it. They added:
“If we go, we go our way. And we certainly have an idea of how we could win….It’s all about the big picture. Everything has to be right. You are not going there to promote an album or get an international career. Only a win would count for us.”
Eurovision 2017: Who is your favourite act so far?
Those are your candidates so far. Who has what it takes? Let us know your favourites in our poll below. You can vote for as many acts as you’d like, but you can only vote one time. Be sure to click the box next to each act you want to support before pressing submit.