It’s a new year, it’s a new day, it’s a new dawn….and it’s most definitely a new opportunity to get excited about the upcoming edition of Eurovision!
In our last poll — which featured Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland, Macedonia and the Netherlands — Dutch girl group O’G3NE came out on top. They won a third of all votes, suggesting that their harmonies and sisterly love are winning them lots of fans all over Europe. But in recent days four more countries have joined the race, with Albania, Armenia, Austria and Montenegro all revealing their acts. Can any of the new entrants knock the sisters Amy, Lisa and Shelley from the top spot?
The latest Eurovision 2017 contestants
ALBANIA: LINDITA HALIMI – “BOTË”
Former American Idol contestant Lindita Halimi will represent Albania after winning Festivali i Këngës 55. Her winning song “Botë” (World) will have English lyrics for Eurovision and may also undergo a musical revamp, away from the classic orchestral sound of the FiK version. Will it be FiKing amazing? Only time will tell. But as for now you can listen to this sneak peek she shared with on during a recent Skype call.
Former Voice of Russia contestant Artsvik will represent Armenia in Kyiv. She won the three-month-long national selection show Depi Evratesil, however her song for Eurovision will be internally selected at a later date. She proved herself to be the queen of the power ballad during the national selection, so we imagine she’ll play to her strengths and go for the high notes yet again. Hopefully Armenia will pull her into 2017 with a modern number, and leave the likes of Whitney and Mariah in the past.
R&B and pop singer-songwriter Nathan Trent has been internally selected by Austrian broadcaster ORF. His song for Kyiv will be released in February. In 2011, he made it to the final 12 of the German X Factor as part of the duo Boys II Hot. They were the first act to be eliminated in the live shows.
Nathan has been writing songs since he was 11 years old, but his biography notes that he has only recently taken his songwriting “to the next level”. Earlier in the year he released his single “Like It Is”. It has a fresh pop sound, and shows off Nathan’s R&B vocals and songwriting skills.
MONTENEGRO: SLAVKO KALEZIC – “SPACE”
After many weeks of deliberation, broadcaster RTCG has internally selected the flamboyant singer Slavko Kalezic. He will perform the song “Space”, due to be released at a later date.
Like Highway last year, Slavko is a graduate of X Factor Adria. But Kalezic is more than just your average talent show wannabe. The guy is talented! He graduated from the Montenegrin National Theatre, specialising in singing and dancing. He’s also dabbled in acting and TV presenting — he even hosted an episode of X Factor Adria.
PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED ACTS
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.