Summer is drawing to a close, and the dreaded post-Eurovision depression is beginning to dissipate. Halleloo! But before we prepare to jump head first into the 2018 season — 1 September is only two and a half weeks away, y’all! — there’s time for one more trip to fantasy land.
For the last few Wednesdays our correspondents from across the world brought you their ultimate wishlist for Lisbon 2018. And as this is all make believe, we also included absentee countries, both long and short term. Because in our ideal contest everyone comes to the party.
To make sure that no one was left out, we went through countries in alphabetical order. So this week, as this year’s series comes to a close, we start with San Marino and work through to the United Kingdom. Let’s do this!
San Marino: The Slight
Robyn: The microstate might be the smallest country competing at Eurovision, but there’s no shortage of talent in San Marino. The Slight is a talented musician and he placed second on the 2016 edition of the San Marinese talent show I talenti dei Castelli (the winner was a rhythmic gymnast, so that makes him the top placed musician). The Slight is visually striking with his tattoos and dreadlocks but he can also lay down some seriously seductive alternative R&B styles. If SMRTV choose to return to Eurovision in 2018 (come on, San Marino!), there’s no need for them to look abroad for their act.
Serbia: SevdahBABY and Djixxs
Jovana: Should you go clubbing in Belgrade, you will inevitably hear at least one song by SevdahBaby and Djixx. This duo, consisting of producer SevdahBaby and singer Djixx, are one of the biggest acts on Serbia’s electro-pop scene. SevdahBaby’s songwriting skills and Djixx’s contagious energy would easily conquer the Eurovision stage, making them decent successors to the likes of Maraaya and JOWST.
Slovakia: Carmel Paradise
Mikhail: We chose Celeste Buckingham for Slovakia in 2015, probably the most famous Slovak artist internationally. Well, now it’s the time to talk about her sister — Carmel Paradise. Music definitely runs in this family’s blood. But Carmel has taken a slightly different route than her sister. Her sound is more alternative and electronic. Her experimental songs have drawn high praise, and she would certainly bring something really interesting to the table. Fingers crossed for Lisbon! (Of course, Slovakia need to come back first).
Slovenia: Challe Salle
Antranig: They’ve dropped the ball in recent years and now it’s time for Slovenia to go big or go home. And they don’t come much bigger than Challe Salle. He has both the look and sound to be a standout at Eurovision — Slovenia’s very own golden boy. The personal fitness coach and nutritionist may not be the country’s biggest name but he can bring something new to the mix. While Slovenia have secured some good results this decade, the string of pop hits like Maja Keuc’s “No One” and Maraaya’s “Here For You” are fading out of recent memory. After all, it wouldn’t be Eurovision without some Slovene rap, would it? Plus, we’ll never object to a little eye candy.
Spain: Sara Serena
Jordi: After a string of poor results, Spain needs to make some major changes to its Eurovision strategy. So, let me present to you Sara Serena, a nineteen year old songstress born in Zaragoza but now based in Los Angeles. She’s an opera singer turned popstrel. And she already knows how to slay at big competitions. She first rose to prominence on The Voice Kids, before smashing the global talent TV show Aim2Fame, in which she represented Spain in a field of 43 countries. Afterwards, she signed to Nexar Music and now she’s working with some of the world’s most successful songwriters and producers. Her single “Chasing Dragons” has achieved more than a million streams on Spotify, while her debut album Skyline debuted at four in the charts. She’s chasing dragons and ready to fight for a Spain victory at Eurovision. Yas gurl!
Sweden: First Aid Kit
Kristin: They’ve always been a well-oiled pop machine, and one can always rely on Sweden to deliver a solid and well produced number at Eurovision. They in it to win it, simple as that. But the folk rock duo First Aid Kit would set a completely new tone for the Scandi nation. Made up of sisters Clara and Johanna Söderberg, First Aid Kit began life in 2007. They quickly gained worldwide attention with their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”. Since then, the siblings have recorded three albums, two EPs and been nominated for a Brit Award. Their music might be heavier than Sweden’s past entries, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t fit. Sometimes it’s good to let loose and try something different, and Clara and Johanna could definitely rock Europe’s socks off, given the chance.
Switzerland: Anna Känzig
Florian: The Eurovision struggle is real. Just ask Switzerland. Canadian-Swiss singer Rykka and Swiss-Romanian group Timebelle both missed the mark in the last two years. And while Eurovision is all about celebrating diversity, the Alpine nation could look between their own mountains for voices waiting to be heard. Voices like Anna Känzig’s. She’s been making music since childhood, starting off in a cover band. Anna eventually went out on her own, releasing her debut album Sound and Fury. “Lion’s Heart” is among her stand out tracks, a rousing song which proves that Anna isn’t “afraid of the dark”. This style of empowerment anthem could be just what the Swiss broadcaster needs for 2018.
Turkey: Aleyna Tilki
Rezo: She’s the young Turkish pop star who’s been making serious waves of late. Aleyna Tilki’s first brush with fame came when she entered the sixth season of Turkey’s Got Talent, reaching the semi-finals. She’s gone on to enjoy major success with hits such as her Emrah Karaduman collab 2Cevapsiz Xinlama” and “Sen Olsan Bari”. Aleyna is just the sort of artist we want for Eurovision, and she’s already driving us crazy. She’d be the perfect choice to front a Turkish comeback.
Dayana: We know that all of you watched the first semi-final of Eurovision 2017 — if not, who are you? You’ll definitely remember the outstanding opening act — Monatik with his hit “Spinning”. The original Russian language version “Kruzhit” has over 50 million views on YouTube. And he’s a multi-talented guy, writing songs for well-known Eurovision artists like Dima Bilan and Loboda. Apart from singing and songwriting, his other “professional” hobby is dancing (as you saw in May). That leads to one of his other successes — participating in both The X Factor and Everybody Dances!. The man has all the skills needed to represent Ukraine.
United Kingdom: Little Mix
Padraig: The United Kingdom might have the largest and most successful music scene in Europe, but you’d never guess that from their Eurovision record. Heck, even our past wishlists have failed to scrape the surface — the zombified remains of a once great girl band and a shouty YouTuber aren’t exactly the stuff of Eurofan dreams. After dour balladeers — hi Adele, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Emeli Sandé — there’s one thing Britain does better than anyone else — girl bands! And the group of the moment is Little Mix. Easily the country’s biggest pop export since One Direction disbanded, the X Factor 2011 winners boast a back catalogue bursting with bangers. Just imagine the girls delivering yet another “Black Magic” or “Touch” on the MEO stage. And our William and Deban would be morally obliged to play the accent challenge with Jesy.
What do you think? Have we chosen the best of the best? Or would you have chosen differently? As always, let us know below.