Off season is a strange time of year for a Eurovision fan. 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 on for ages. Even wiwivision is over! Despite the sunshine, the summer months can be bleak. It would be easy to mope until November, but the wiwibloggs team have a better plan. We’ve decided to dream.
For the next few Wednesdays our correspondents from across the world will be bringing you their ultimate wishlist for Stockholm 2016. And 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, so this week we’re starting with Croatia and working through to Greece.
Mario: Luce – real name Lucija Custic – is a new name on the Croatian music scene. Her career has been on the up ever since the release of her debut single, “Možda mi”, in May 2014. Before her big break, the 27-year old competed in Hrvatska traži zvijezdu 2010, making it to the top 60. Fans often compare her to Adele. We hear it too – her deep, soulful voice definitely reminds us of the British superstar. However, Luce is not fond of the comparison. Instead she draws inspiration from The Cranberries, Pearl Jam, and anything that possess blues, soul, indie or grunge elements.
Last time we chose: Franka Batelic
Cyprus: Kyriacos Georgiou
Edd: Kyriacos Georgiou may not be the most digestible of Cypriot names, but the rest of him is pretty edible! Performing in musicals in London’s West End since the tender age of 12, the man is dripping with experience. In 2011 he moved to Athens and since then has been pursuing a career in the music industry. Well, what better way to explode onto the European music scene than good old Eurovision? We already know he’s interested – this year he entered Cyprus’ Eurovision Song Project with the criminally underrated summer jam “Shake Dat”. Next year we wanna see him back, spreading his jam all over Stockholm’s Globen Arena. Anyone else up for a (sticky) Mediterranean hunk-pop revival?
Last time we chose: Valando Tryfonos
Czech Republic: Veronika Stýblová
Mikhail: Veronika is a rising star in the Czech Republic. In 2010 she was amongst the top 14 on Czechoslovakia’s Got Talent and in 2013 she reached the top 5 of Czechoslovak Superstar (coincidentally Marta Jandova will be a judge on this year’s edition). Now she’s completely focused on cracking the charts. Her first single ,“Too Hard To Break Through“, was recorded in English. This girl is ready to go global, y’all! Veronika has also appeared in a number of musicals in Prague, and in 2014 she released her second single “One More Time”. Could her next effort be destined for Stockholm? Let’s hope so!
Last time we chose: Verona
Denmark: Stine Bramsen
Padraig: Too often Denmark’s Eurovision entries are accused of being overly-clinical, cynical productions. Let’s make 2016 the year to change that reputation for the better. Pop aficionados will undoubtedly remember the noughties band Alphabeat. Their unique brand of Scandi/bubblegum pop briefly took over Europe as they released gems such as “Fascination”, “10,000 Nights”, and “Boyfriend”. Fast forward a few years and the group are on hiatus. But their frontwoman, Stine Bramsen, is still churning out the hits. She’d be the full package for Eurovision – she can do quirky fun (“Karma Town”) and serious ( “Prototypical”). And best of all, her sound is completely organic and original. Sign her up already!
Last time we chose: Ida Corr
Estonia: Liis Lemsalu
Mike: Estonia is a slient warrior at Eurovision, with no less than three top ten places in the last seven years. Most previous contestants (Getter Jaani, Ott Lepland, Birgit Oigemeel and Elina Born) took part in the Estonian version of Idol – Eesti otsib superstaari. And so has our hope for 2016. Liis Lemsalu won the 2011 series, and has gone on to record a multitude of hit singles. Her latest, “That kinda”, is a funky, happy-go-lucky blast of disco delight. The music video is worth watching for Ott Lepland’s dancing cameo alone!
Last time we chose: Jaan Lehepuu
Finland: Anna Abreu
Max E: Following 2015’s mishap, Finland should look no further than Anna Abreu for their 2016 selection. This 25 year-old former Pop Idol contestant has carved out a hugely successful career in her home country (she is placed among the top 100 best-selling Finnish musicians of all time) and has already released a Greatest Hits album. Clearly, it’s high time for Anna to go continental. Her stylistic versatility presents endless possibilities for a Eurovision entry. The Finns could go for a slick electro-pop tune in the style of 2014’s “Right in Front of You”. However, I would recommend something similar to Anna’s recent release, “Bandana”, which, coincidentally, runs to under three minutes. Although it would be far more mainstream than Finland’s recent entries, I’m sure that a similarly catchy track would return the country to the top ten.
Last time we chose: Laura Närhi
France: Amel Bent
Sopon: Amel Bent is everything that France so desperately needs at Eurovision. Since her career began 11 years ago, she has repeatedly seen herself in the top 20 and has reached the number one spot in both Belgium and France multiple times. She’s like Taylor Swift, in the sense that her songs usually are either fluffy pop songs or light ballads. Amel’s a longtime performer, a modern singer, a fresh face, and a recognizable name. Basically, she’s the exact opposite of Lisa Angell. France, send her ASAP!
Last time we chose: Mylène Farmer
Mike: Bera Ivanishvili, or just BERA, is a Georgian musician born in Paris. The son of Georgia’s richest person according to Forbes, he was classically trained at the age of four and plays piano, drums and violin. Nowadays, he is one of the country’s biggest stars and he parties alongside the likes of Justin Bieber and the Jenner sisters. Next autumn he will release his second album, but for now here’s his song “Calypso Lover”.
Last time we chose: Katie Melua
Patrick: Lately, Germany seems regard a good placing at Eurovision as too mainstream. So maybe they should venture off the path completely and choose Oonagh. Half Italian and half Bulgarian, she has the international points factor for sure. The 25 year old singer and actress, born Senta Sophia Delliponti, rose to fame on a daily soap opera. However, for the past year her music career has moved to the fore. Her charming natural rhythms mixed with fictional lyrics and a wonderful mystical voice could finally bring Germany back to the left-hand side.
Last time we chose: Mandy Capristo
Gökhan: At this stage, y’all are really familiar with Tamta – the Greek-Georgian diva. Her modern sound and fame in Greece, Georgia and Cyprus would be a great mix for Eurovision. She took part in the 2007 Greek selection but failed to win. Ever since, she’s been a perennial on the Eurovision rumour mill. This year, she even said she wanted to sing for Greece but missed the deadline. Her participation would almost certainly return the nation to their top ten highs of 2004 to 2011. Plus, her roots would probably guarantee Greece it’s first ever Georgian douze points.
Last time we chose: Eleni Foureira
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 Hungary through to Malta.