After five weeks and forty countries, we’ve almost reached the end of our Wednesday Wishlist series *sob*. For those of you joining us for the first time (eh – where have y’all been?), the concept is quite straightforward. Every Wednesday our correspondents from across the world bring you their ultimate choices for Austria 2015. And as this is all fantasy, we’ve also been taking a look at absentee countries, both long and short term. Because in our dream contest everyone comes to the party! So far we’ve had superstar rappers, pop princesses and dance-floor divas. If you’ve missed any click here. Read on to discover our final batch of dream contestants. We begin with Serbia and work through to the United Kingdom.
Kaja: When it comes to Ceca, there are two kinds of people – those who love and those who hate; there’s no middle ground. Ever since her 1995 marriage to Željko “Arkan” Ražnatovic and his subsequent death five years later, she has made her name as being one of Serbia’s most controversial popstars – she was even put under house arrest back in 2011. Despite all of this, she has amassed a loyal fanbase, particularly in the Balkan region, managing to sustain a lasting career – 26 years and counting. This success has even led to some labelling her as “The Mother of Serbia”. But why would she be a good choice for Serbia? Well mainly because her fans across Europe would be sure to vote for her like crazy. Plus what would Eurovision be without a divisive diva? The contest needs drama, and she’d bring it in bucketloads.
Slovakia: Katarína Košcová
Sopon: There is only one reason for Slovakia’s abysmal Eurovision record – they simply don’t give a damn. Which is majorly annoying when the country has so much talent. However, if they were to return and choose the right act, their attitudes and fortunes could change for the better. Obviously, they’d need to send someone with oodles of talent, capable of giving an understated, sophisitcated performance. Katarína Koscová comes to mind. She won the first season of Slovensko Hl’adá SuperStar (aka Pop Idol) in 2004, but unlike so many other reality tv graduates she exudes classiness. She’s resisted the temptation of mediocre pop and risqué outfits, sticking to what she does so well – simplicity. Most recently, she put her jazzy vocals to good use on a demo with pianist Daniel Shpiner. They recorded “Ticho”, a three minute track which shows off her strengths wonderfully.
Slovenia: Petra Marklund (formerly September)
Anthony: With only three final appearances under their belts since 2004, it’s no wonder Eurovision fans consider Slovenia to be one of the most underrated countries in the contest. It may be time they edged out of their comfort zone and opted for someone with international appeal, like Petra Marklund. Of course, you may be curious as to why I’ve picked a Swedish singer. Well, Petra is in fact half Slovenian, courtesy of her mother. And just like her nationality, there’s two sides to her music. There’s the dance diva of yore, when she was known as September, and the more restrained scandipop songstress of late. Regardless of whether we see the euro-pop goddess responsible for“Satellites” and “Cry for You” or the present day version, she’d be a hit. Her last album was called “Inferno”, which is exactly what she’d cause if chosen in 2015.
Spain: Amaia Montero
Mario: If you were to compare Spain’s Eurovision career could be compared to a trampoline. One year they bounce up, only to come crashing down the next. It’s seems to be a neverending cycle, from almost last place (Lucia Perez, ESDM), to the dizzying heights of the top ten (#teamPastoraLorenzo). Well it’s time to break the pattern. One person who could bring about such a miracle is Amaia Montero, a 37 year old singer from the Baskia region. She started off in 1996, as the lead singer of La Oreja De Van Gogh (Van Gogh’s Ear). In 2007, she went solo, with the release of her self-titled debut. The record was massively successful, even crossing the pond to chart throughout Latin America, Mexico and the USA. Two further LPs – “2” and “Si Dios Quiere” – followed. Amaia is described as fun, sociable, and accessible – basic requirements for any Eurovision star. And she has performed for crowds as big as 120 000, so the Eurovision stage would pose no problems. Sign her up already!
Sweden: Hakan Hellström
Gokhan: Sweden is one of the most successful countries at Eurovision. Obviously, Melodifestivalen is the key to their good fortune, but the grand prix isn’t easy to win. So who’d be up for the challenge? Whilst the country seems to have a conveyor belt of pretty boy teen idols and fem-pop divas, they do occasionally produce singers who break the mould, like Hakan Hellström. The 40 year old indie-rock star is famous throughout Europe. But such fame hasn’t made him forget his roots, he regularly performs in his birthplace of Gothenburg, much to the delight of the home-crowd. Surely, the next step would be to represent them on the international stage.
Switzerland: Stefanie Heinzmann
Chris: If Stefan Raab could win in 2010 with a teenage prodigy, then why wouldn’t Switzerland be able to the same, with one he found *before* Lena? After winning a Raab talent contest in 2008, Stefanie Heinzmann was quickly signed up to a record label, resulting in a string of top ten singles and albums. Her pop-soul sound is very much of the moment; she’s worked with several well known songwriters, including Joss Stone, Ronan Keating and Jamie Cullum. In many ways, her earlier songs sound like a more mature version of Lena – a proven formula at Eurovision (obviously). Her 2012 single “Diggin’ In the Dirt” is probably the best example of her development as an artist though, and would make a great entry in itself. After the Swiss returned to the final this year, it would be a wise move to send someone with Heinzmann’s experience to keep that momentum going.
Turkey: Aynur Aydin
Denise: I LOVE Turkey, it’s my favourite country in the world and I like almost all their Eurovision songs, so I hate the fact that they quit participating. I really hope they return next year with another great song, and once again reach the top five highs of 2009 and 2010. If you ask me, they should send Aynur Aydin – a Turkish pop singer, born in Germany. Most of her music is in both English and Turkish, so she has mass appeal. My favourite is “Life Goes On”. A typical summer song, perfect for a drive to the beach. Something similar at Eurovision would be amazing, especially as she’s a pro at live performances. I put all my trust in Aynur.
Ukraine: Vera Brezhneva
David: Vera Brezhneva was the most talented singer in Via Gra and has performed even better since striking out as a soloist. She is pitch perfect in her staging, has an amazing voice, and her songs totally pull you in. In addition, with her experience, she brings a level that is only possible from years of repeated practice. In this video you see her totally own the screen as she sings her way through a compelling story. And of course she has the key component of any Ukrainian act – beauty and a banging set of pipes.
United Kindgom: Mutya Keisha Siobhan (MKS)
Deban: Harmonies don’t get any better than the original line-up of the Sugababes. In addition to being the founding members of a band that spawned 22 UK Top 20 hits, including six number ones, Mutya Keisha and Siobhan have had their share of catfights and media spotlight. As individuals, they’re spicy enough to hold their own. When they team up as a unit, sparks fly. Although there is no winning formula to winning Eurovision, Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan would generate the much-needed excitement, and media frenzy that gives the contest its heartbeat. As a trio, they’ve managed to balance credibility with commercial success and positive critical reception. Also, what better way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the contest, than by featuring three girls that founded the most successful British female act of the 21st century?
There you have it. We’ve come to the end of our five week trawl of potential acts for 2015. It’s gonna be sad to let go… or is it? The list may have reached a natural conclusion, but so far it’s been all about our personal choices. Y’all haven’t had a say at all! And as everyone knows the public vote is a crucial element of Eurovision. So what good is a Eurovision Wishlist without a little democratic fun? Well we plan on rectifying matters. So check back next Wedenesday for a slightly more interactive Wishlist spinoff. Until then share your thoughts below.