Last week, in a bid to overcome our PED (Post Eurovision Depression), we launched the inaugural Wednesday Wishlist. If you missed it click here. The premise is simple – for the next few Wednesdays our correspondents from across the world will be bringing you their ultimate choices for Austria 2015. As this is all fantasy, we’ll also be taking a look at absentee countries, both long and short term. Because in our dream contest everyone comes to the party! To make sure that no one gets left out, we’ll be working through countries in alphabetical order, this week we’re looking at Cyprus through to Hungary.
Cyprus: Valando Tryfonos
Billy: Lynda Woodruff asks “why can’t Cyprus win the Eurovision Song Contest?”. Well the answer is easy – the Cypriots simply don’t send their best singers. However, they could break this bad habit by selecting Valando Tryfonos. Born in Nicosia in 1988, she participated in the Cypriot national final in 2006 with the song “After You”, but didn’t manage to represent her homeland. Her profile has increased significantly since she won the “Greek Idol” series in 2010. She took part in the 2011 Greek national final with the wonderful ballad “The Time Is Now”, but once again she failed to make it to Eurovision. At this year’s Cyprus Madwalk she joined Freaky Fortune on stage to perform their summer hit “In A World Without You” and a cover of Sia’s “Chandelier”. It was a spectacular show! (Interesting fact – she was once a member of the European Youth Parliament).
Czech Republic: Verona
Patrick: The Czech Republic at Eurovision – not really a very successful country. But why? Hmm… maybe because they don’t seem to put a lot of effort into their music. It’s hard to find a well-known Czech singer, but after much searching I eventually found one band who make decent music – Verona. The duo consists of singer Markéta Jakslova and composer Petr Fider. They started off in 2006, and since then they have released a bunch of tracks, in both Czech and English. Their biggest hit is “Hey boy”, which earned them international prestige. But I decided to introduce you to their beautiful ballad – “Ztracená bloudím”. It really touches my heart, even though I don’t understand the message at all (unfortunately my language skills don’t extend to Czech). Listen and maybe you’ll see why I think a Eurovision audience would be similarly touched.
Denmark: Ida Corr
Mike: I first discovered Ida Corr back in 2007 when she released the single “Let Me Think About It” with Dutch DJ Fedde Le Grand. Seven years later and it’s still on my playlist! Ida has not had many more hits in the international charts, but last year she released a new track which I fell in love with – “Jungle Fever”. Great music accompanied by a fabulous video! I don’t know how well she’d do at Eurovision, but if any performance is as good as her taste in hot naked guys, she is already one step ahead of the rest.
Estonia: Jaan Lehepuu
Sopon: Estonia’s niche, by far, is lounge ballads. Which is fine if all they want to do is showcase their beautiful language, but if they want to win Eurovision… well they’re gonna need so re-assess matters. One option could be to go down a dancier pop route. After all, Estonian pop is very catchy. Jaan Lehepuu would be the perfect man for such a job, and he’s well capable of bringing home another top ten placing for Väike Eestimaa. His hit, “Üksinda (Alone)”, makes him Estonia’s answer to Calvin Harris. It’s a hip-hop, pop, house, and electro hybrid, and despite the mish-mash of genres, everything melds together nicely. Something similar could work wonders in Eesti Laul 2015.
Finland: Laura Närhi
Chris: Finland’s Eurovision success may still lie pretty much with Lordi, but their music scene is amongst the very best in Europe. One of those spearheading the surge in quality is Laura Närhi. Formerly of the group Kemopetrol, Laura originally balanced her band duties with a blossoming solo career, but decided to try it on her own properly in 2012. Her latest album, “Tuhlari”, has some really incredible songs which show off a wide variety of styles – all driven by her impressive vocal. She moves effortlessly from the haunting “Hetkyn tie on kevyt” to the country-tinged duet “Siskoni”, recorded with fellow Finn Erin. But it’s the title track where she really stands out; a simple beat that’s ridiculously catchy. It’s no surprise that she’s been racking up the hits in Finland, and if the country wants to get serious with a legitimate act for Eurovision, then I can’t think of anyone better.
France: Mylène Farmer
Angus: France have never really recaptured the supremacy they enjoyed in the ancienne concours. Even Patricia Kaas, a chanteuse cast in the mould of the greats, only scraped into the Top 10. Star-power made France in 2009 and they need to go big again. Anggun was a one-hit wonder, Amandine a failed reality star and TwinTwin an embarrassment. Mylène Farmer on the other hand is everything France should be putting forward to the Contest. She is a HUGE star, with more number ones than most ESC artists (ABBA and Celine excepted…) will amass in their lifetime. Mylène, more than any others France 3 might field, has the distinctive artistry to catapult France back up the leader board. The likelihood of Paris sending her is slim but it’d be remarkable if they did choose her.
Georgia: Katie Melua
Padraig: For many Katie Melua is the quintessential British songstress – sophisticated, safe and inoffensive. But there are two things worth remembering. Firstly, Katie was actually born in Georgia, only moving to the UK when she was eight. Secondly, she has on occasion ventured outside her “Closest Thing to Crazy” and “Nine Million Bicycles” template, most notably in 2010 when she released the slightly bonkers (well by her standards) “The Flood” and “Happy Place”. Unfortunately, these underperformed and she soon returned to her usual formula. However, were she to take such risks again, she would make a very exciting prospect for Eurovision. And where better than the land of her birth? She is still a big name in the country and recently appeared as a guest judge on their version of the X Factor. After the horrors inflicted on us by the Shin, the Georgians owe us some quality
Germany: Mandy Capristo
Zach: With her sultry vocals, infectious beats, and drop dead gorgeous looks, who wouldn’t want Mandy Capristo to represent Germany at Eurovision? The extremely talented Mandy would surely bring a pop gem to the Eurovision stage and capture the voters’ attention instantly. Her stage presence is wonderful, vocals on point, and she sports enough sass to remain in your memory long after her performance is over. Germany dominated the World Cup, and Miss Mandy would dominate the Eurovision scoreboard!
Greece: Eleni Foureira
Colin: Greece has been one of the most successful countries in recent Eurovision history. But over the last three years they have had a shakey record. One singer who could change that and bring the contest back to Greece is Eleni Foureira. This fashionista tried to represent Greece in 2010 with Manos and Giannis Pirovolakis, but lost to Opa! Maybe she would shine brighter on her own! She has edge and could bring something different and new to the Eurovision stage!
Hungary: Linda Király
Judit: Hungary has reached the Eurovision final for the last four years, with ByeAlex and Kállay-Saunders doing particularly well. But their quest for that ellusive first victory continues. I believe that Linda Király would be an ideal choice to take up the challenge. You may already know her from A Dal. In 2012 she sang “Untried” with her brothers Viktor and Benjamin, and in 2014 she tried again with her solo effort “Everything”. She started her career when she was 16, and after she moved back from the US nothing could stop her. This lady’s voice is simply brilliant and she already sounds like an international superstar. She has had a lot of hits in Hungary, but her latest is the best. “Runaway” is all about painful love, and is a perfect combination of vocals and music.
What do y’all think? Have we chosen the best of the best? Or would y’all have chosen differently? As always let us know below. And check back next Wednesday to read our choices for Iceland through to Monaco.