In recent weeks our readers have been busy deciding which country they would throw out of Eurovision if the EBU had to downsize the event. Now it’s time to get our happy back and celebrate the countries we most anticipate seeing at ESC. Contestants obviously change every year (outside of San Marino, anyway), but there are a few obvious trends. Ukraine’s state broadcaster knows how to do over-the-top. Malta has a rich history of power ballads. Greece knows how to make the audience move. And Azerbaijan has a knack for getting its staging just right. We could go on and talk about Sweden’s songwriters, Italy’s soul, Romania’s originality and Iceland’s deep pool of vocal talent—but we won’t.

You can hear some members of our blog team argue the case for their favourites below. Then you can vote in the poll. You can vote for as many countries as you would like, but you can only vote ONE time. Be sure to click the box by each country that you want to support before pressing submit. This poll closes in two weeks on September 24!

What Our Bloggers Say

James Puchowski: I say Italy. Since their return in 2011, they’ve really given us a show. Their San Remo format really works and it allows musicians of all corners of life to give it their best shot. The fact that they have been the most successful Big 6er in the last 3 years is commendable. They ought to be encouraged and I really hope that we see a win for them in the next few years (once I am financially liberated, you see, I want to go on holiday there ;)). I could be wrong – perhaps they’ll send something godawful next year, but I feel very comfortable with what they’ve done. Having no Italy for such a long time was a real shame – a massive portion of Europe was missing for 14 years, so they must be retained.

David: Turkey is part of Europe and participating in ESC helps make them so.

Angus Quinn: If I had to save a country from the chop, I’d likely plump for Norway. Barring a terrible choice in 2010, they’ve consistently delivered entries that I’ve enjoyed and rooted for. They’re not as reliable as performers as Sweden, but they equally don’t do things by halves. They either soar to the top of the scoreboard, or crash in burn in a blaze of red-dressed backing dancers. I’d also feel semi-obliged to make the case for the U.K. too. True we don’t take the contest as seriously as others, but we have delivered a few quality productions like ‘It’s My Time’ or the unfairly derided ‘Love Will Set You Free.’ Also, considering what Latvia sent this year, and Austria the year before, the U.K.’s taking it a lot more seriously than others. So the BBC might be being lazy sending Bonnie Tyler. Or, on the flipside, they sent an established performer who made it into the Top 20 and delivered a pleasing, if not exactly illuminating song.

Zach Thomas: I would definitely save Ukraine. In terms of recent years and consistency they have been my favorite by far. They are also the only nation that I have all of their songs from 2007 through this year on my iPhone. The reason they’re my favorite country is that they can send a little bit of everything, and it still works wonderfully in terms of vocal ability as well as overall appeal and consistency year to year. 2008 gave us some sexy pop with awesome dance moves by Ani. 2009 was a cheese fest made in heaven, and Svetlana is one of my guilty Eurovision pleasures. 2010 threw both out the window for a meaningful rock influenced track, with Alyosha dominating the song and stage, all while remaining alone up there in Oslo. 2011 brought both sand art and good vocals, Mika gets way too much hate! 2012 was the feel good summer song of the bunch, Gaitana sure did have some pipes! And just this year we got Zlata, a sky high singer with a grounded personality that made me fall in love at first sight, and a powerhouse song/voice to match.

Padraig Jude: As for saving a country I’d be highly tempted to save Sweden since they tend to send such high calibre acts. The only thing is they are also responsible for sending Charlotte Pereilli – twice, which in my book is unforgivable. Therefore, I’d choose to save Luxembourg from the Eurovision wilderness. I think it’s a real shame that a country responsible for such timeless classics as “L’amour est Bleu” and “Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son” no longer takes part in the competition. I think it’s about time the people of Luxembourg got over their 2 decade long sulk and returned to the competition. Not only are they spiting themselves but they’re also depriving the rest of us of some high quality tunes. So please Luxembourg, come back, we miss you!

Katie Wilson: My country to save would be Romania. I always look forward to hearing Swedish, Norwegian, Maltese and Turkish (before they withdrew) entries, but there is always something about Romanian entries that makes them special. With a lot of quality entries, there is a British or American singer that you can compare them too and it is a style of music that you’re quite familiar with. But it is never like that with Romania. Their entries are always BRILLIANT but they’re always something that you’ve never heard before. Mandinga and Cezar were perfectly suited to Eurovision and they are artists that you will only ever hear a at Eurovision. There’s nowhere else that they can possibly perform! Eurovision is perfect for them, and you can discover a whole new style of music thanks to a Romanian Eurovision song. They always put such effort into their costumes and staging too! I don’t care what anyone says, Cezar did not look like a “scary, dubstep, opera, vampire”. He looked fabulous and he was the most memorable for a reason! Mandinga also had amazing costumes, and their total craziness reminded you why you watch Eurovision, why Eurovision is unique and why Eurovision is so much fun! There are probably many countries that this applies to, but Romania is the one that stands out most to me 🙂

Bogdan HonciucI am most looking forward to and would like to “save” Poland. I really hope they participate next year. Their musical talent is undeniable and they bring something interesting to the table, despite their poor record (and absence) in recent years. Their second place finish in 1994 is testament to their great potential, and their 1995 entry is one of the most avant-garde moments in ESC history for me, music-wise. But mostly I would be very interested to see what they’d come up with in 2014.

Deban Aderemi: If there’s one country that I’d like to save from potentially being removed from the Eurovision Song Contest, it is Israel. Israel has participated since 1973, winning the contest three times. Israel is part of the European Broadcasting Union which stretches across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Caucasus. The EBU is European not in the geographical sense, but in respect of this random international convention of broadcasting areas. For many years Israel was the only non-European country which took part in the contest regularly, and in this sense, affirmed the notion that the ESC was evolving into a contest without borders.

Having Israel in the contest isn’t without its drawbacks. Because of Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, many countries that are eligible to participate decided not to do so. Tunisia, Lebanon and Morocco are a few examples that regularly boycott the contest. In 1978, during the performance of the Israeli entry, the Jordanian state broadcaster JRTV suspended the broadcast, and instead showed pictures of flowers. When it became apparent during the later stages of the voting sequence that Israel was going to win the contest, JRTV abruptly ended the transmission. Afterwards, the Jordanian news media refused to acknowledge the fact that Israel had won, and announced that the winner was Belgium which had actually come in second. Yes, Israel isn’t without its controversy, but why should it be penalised for other peoples’ reactions?

They have held themselves in positive regard and continue to participate in the contest, sometimes addressing some of the pressing international concerns through the power of music. In 2006, Israel presented a gospel track about the need to unite, and overcome differences in order to progress as the human race. In 2009, they heated the discussion by showcasing a duet with a Jew and Arab singing a protest song that emphasises hope and understanding through common humanity. There Must Be Another Way opened the pathway for renewed debates within Israel and internationally, and spun a follow up documentary with the same title. This is what good PR should do, and Israel gets it. When reaching out to over 170 million viewers, Israel is one of the few participating countries that understand what making a positive impact is all about.

Israel is the only country to have won the contest with a transgender singer, and unlike some other LGBT winners Dana International isn’t in the closet. Instead, she has campaigned tirelessly for LGBT rights across the continent. This is a positive thing. In a contest that runs like clockwork, it was refreshing to note that the only late showing of the winning entry also goes to Israel. After winning the contest, Dana International caused a stir by arriving to the presentation late after a long delay in changing into an extravagant costume designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier, adorned with bird feathers before performing the reprise. Only Israel provides such DRAMA!!!

Lately, Israel has failed to advance to the finals. A tad ironic especially as they’ve submitted remarkable entries. In my humble opinion, Moran Mazor should have finished in the Top 10 this year, and Izabo’s quirky delivery should have earned them a place in Baku’s finals last year. Still, Israel soldiers on and has pointed no fingers like Russia, or threatened to pull out like Turkey. Such dignity is hard to shoulder year after year in a contest riddled with accusations and allegations. Hello Eurovision voting scandal 2013!

Finally the Israeli delegation that travel to the host countries is the most sizeable of any, and they bring with them fun and positivity, as well as their love for music. When it comes to plugging their own artists, they throw the best Eurovision parties and often invite other delegates to share the stage. Israel gets the message of ESC, and as a result, we should help in preserving its continued participation.

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You can keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.

Photo mash-up courtesy of Eurovision.tv (EBU)

22 Comments
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Nikos
Nikos
8 years ago

I would like to see the return of hiatus countries like Morocco and Luxembourg. I would like to keep everyone in! It is sad when countries have to withdraw 🙁

Tini
Tini
8 years ago

Every Year!
Malta & Moldova! <3

Robert
Robert
9 years ago

Croatia
Azerbaijan
Poland
San Marino
Portugal
Slovakia

MoOn-FLoWeR
9 years ago

CaNiM AzErBaYcANIm <3

takecare
takecare
9 years ago

o my gosh i forgot sweden!!!! so i voted now for sweden too! and thank you for your kind words about romania!

Ayten
Ayten
9 years ago

AZERBAIJAN!

Clockwork Angel
Clockwork Angel
9 years ago

My votes went to:
– Azerbaijan – because I care about the music & Azerbaijan provided us with some quality songs since their debut
– Israel – because I totally agree with Deban Aderemi
– Malta – because their songs always have that “it” factor that makes them sing-able & unforgettable
– Moldova – because they’re our neighbours & we share the same tastes in music
– Romania – because it’s my country & I usually like our entries(not this year though…)

Alejandro
9 years ago

five countries , of course Ukraine , Azerbaijan , Germany , Norway and United Kingdom

Priam
Priam
9 years ago

Poland!

whatifiwoulddieforyou
whatifiwoulddieforyou
9 years ago

I say Ukraine, I love their entries. I love Serbia, Italy and Norway too

R
R
9 years ago

Estonia – I’m thrilled to see them being voted on much! They’re just consistent year after year. The little country that could. If the Sweden – Denmark pattern is right they’re slated to win next year!

Other brilliant countries – Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and (hush now you know they’re good) Azerbaijan.

MoOn-FLoWeR
9 years ago

A
Z
E
R
B
A
I
J
A
N

Julian
Julian
9 years ago

Russia, Turkey (hope they return), Ukraine, Italy, Spain – all hugely talented countries with very interesting and surprising entries

Eurovision 2014
Eurovision 2014
9 years ago

question: Which country do you most want to see at ESC 2014?
answer: Azerbaijan <3
Each year the super representative <3
Each year the super songs <3
Good luck <3 Azerbaijan <3

Emily
Emily
9 years ago

Next year, I want to see the Bulgarians NOT fall flat on their faces like they normally do every year.

Eurovisionheart
Eurovisionheart
9 years ago

Norway and Azerbaijan <3
Greetings from Denmark

Levi
Levi
9 years ago

any country but cheating Azerbaijan!

Marion
Marion
9 years ago

Everyone has a place, so i don’t know

takecare
takecare
9 years ago

i voted for the countries that almost never disappoint me,,,,romania, moldova, ukraine, serbia, greece and turkey (wish they came back) and i think i forgot azerbaijan

Alex
Alex
9 years ago

I gave my vote to Bosnia and Herzegovina. We need full Balkan strength back so that at least one of the former Yugoslav republics qualifies this time around, and besides, B&H gave us a real gem in Bistra voda back in 2009.

Eurovisiondco
Eurovisiondco
9 years ago

@ moon -flower , oh so you want to see the rig voting syndicate countries

MoOn-FLoWeR
9 years ago

<3 AZERBAIJAN,TURKEY,MALTA <3