Even if we do know the venue and dates for 2018, off-season is still tough for Eurovision fans. The PED (Post Eurovision Depression) cloud is just beginning to lift, but the contest is still the guts of a year away. The nearest national final is in December and the junior equivalent won’t be for months.
Despite the sunshine, summer can be bleak. It would be easy to mope until November, but the wiwibloggs team has a better plan. It’s time to dream!
For the next few Wednesdays our correspondents from across the world will be bringing you their ultimate wishlist for Lisbon 2018. And as this is all fantasy, we’ll also be taking a look at absentee countries, both long and short term. Because in our ideal contest everyone comes to the party.
To make sure that no one gets left out, we’ll be going through countries in alphabetical order, so this week we’re starting with Moldova and working through to Russia.
Moldova: Carla’s Dreams
Luis: If you live outside Eastern Europe, chances are you first met Carla’s Dreams during last year’s wiwivision. This Moldovan project — made up of five masked musicians — would bring a completely new side of Chisinau to Eurovision. Their music is raw, rude, adult, and slightly sleazy. But it’s very much accessible to the wider public — they’ve collaborated with Romanian pop diva Inna and scored a number one hit in Russia. Their on-point music videos have multi-million view counts, yet the band itself is shrouded in an air of mystery — like with Sia, we never see their real faces. In the year of #SayNoToFastFoodMusic, Carla’s Dreams would bring a slow cooked stew with plenty of flavour.
Monaco: Brod’ Earth
Robyn: Based in Monaco and Nice, Brod’ Earth is a duo of brothers Bertino and General Dan Dada. The siblings, who have roots in Africa, have lived on the northern side of the Mediterranean for nearly a decade. They combine sounds of Africa, particularly Senegal, with modern European hip hop. Their sound is a bit like Belgian superstar Stromae but with French Riviera realness riding in on a warm wind from Africa. Brod’ Earth would be the perfect act for Monaco to make a Eurovision comeback, a modern face of the tiny principality.
Montenegro: Milena Vucic
Jovana: With several regional hits under her belt – including her debut single “Da l’ ona zna” and “Luce” – Milena Vucic is undoubtedly one of Montenegro’s best known singers. Vucic’s solo career began in 2006 when she won the pop music festival Suncane skale. She had previously been a member of girl group Negre, which placed third in Serbia and Montenegro’s 2004 selection. This time last year it was reported that the blonde pop star wanted to represent Montenegro in Kyiv, but she later backed out. Let’s hope her interest in taking part in Eurovision can be revived for 2018. Because her strong vocals coupled with a well produced song and stage show would definitely attract televote support from right across the Balkan region.
Morocco: Samia Tawil
Zakaria: Born in Switzerland to a Moroccan mother and Syrian father, Samia Tawil is the beautiful fruit of a cross-pollination of cultures. Her music ranges from soul and funk to rock and oriental sounds, often with a nod to her Arabic origins. Also a philosophy teacher, Samia was embraced by the Moroccan public after opening for Christina Aguilera in front of a home crowd of over 100,000 people. She’s known for her fierce but colourful persona and her strong live performances where her cultural identity is strongly present. She has all the ingredients to be a wonderful representative for Morocco… or, more likely, Switzerland.
Netherlands: Jody Bernal
Mike: Cue spilt drinks from all our Dutch readers. Jody Bernal had a hit way back in 2000 when he reached the top of the Dutch charts. And afterwards he did nothing impressive — until now! His new song ”La Colegiala” which translates to schoolgirl is making waves, and the man is damn good again. From Sweden to Hungary to France, the single is already proving to be a radio smash, and I could actually see something like this doing extremely well for the Netherlands at Eurovision. But first dear Dutchies, it’s time to mop up those spilt drinks.
Adriana: Another year, another top ten finish for Norway. As one of the most successful countries in Eurovision history, Norwegians don’t want to repeat their 2016 disaster. Young and beautiful Sigrid might be just the one to continue her nation’s legacy. With a growing career since 2013, this girl has already conquered many hearts throughout Europe, especially in the UK. With songs like her last hit “Plot Twist” and “Don’t Kill My Vibe”, we certainly know why she has performed at Glastonbury for the past two years. It’s high time for her to bring some of that care-free spirit to Eurovision.
Poland: Dawid Podsiadlo
Raphael: From “In the Name of Love” to “Color of Your Life”, Poland has proven itself as a country with a knack for connecting emotionally with viewers across Europe. Dawid Podsiadlo would be a fitting artist to continue this trend. Judging by the success he’s found in his home country, there’s no doubt that his authentic and classic style would win over the Lisbon audience. After winning the second season of Poland’s X Factor, Dawid signed a recording contract with Sony Music and promptly released his first album Comfort and Happiness in 2013. It debuted at number one on the Polish albums chart and was the best-selling LP of the year. Unafraid to address the darker side of emotions, Podsiadlo returned in 2015 with his new record, Annoyance and Disappointment. It too, debuted at the top. Dawid’s style is laid back and possibly a bit retro, but his vocal expression is so genuine that even these English-speaking ears don’t feel left out!
Portugal: Carolina Deslandes
Bernardo: After winning Eurovision for the first time ever in 2017, Portugal already has an eye on the future. But could the future be an English-language song? Even if it’s in Portuguese, Carolina Deslandes takes care of business. The Portuguese pop star already has hits in both languages. She won the bronze medal on Idol back in 2010 and her career has blossomed ever since. Her AGIR collaboration “Mountains” has over 11 million views on YouTube — that’s more than the entire population of Portugal!
Romania: Mihai Chitu
Renske: One of Romania’s rising stars, Mihai Chitu — not Traistariu — worked with several well-known local rock bands in the early 2000s. However, he only rose to fame while competing on the Romanian version of The Voice in 2013, which he eventually won. His latest hit “O ultima tigara” is a collaboration with Mellina and was an intimidate YouTube hit, racking up more than one million views in just two weeks. Mihai looks nice and sings even nicer, the perfect combination for Eurovision!
Dayana: At this stage, almost every famous Russian singer has gone to Eurovision — Polina Gagarina, Sergey Lazarev, Alex Sparrow. But there are some talented acts whose commercial heydays may have just passed. One such star is a lady with a “male” pseudonym — Maksim (real name Marina Abrosimova). Between 2006 and 2010 she dominated all the radio stations and music festivals. Everybody knew the lyrics to her most played songs and always sang along (even if it was super-annoying). She has released five albums, opened her own studio of arts, and published her first autobiography in 2016 She even boxes from time to time. Oh, and she also has two children. Go girl!
What do you think? Have we chosen the best of the best? Or would you have chosen differently? As always, let us know below.