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 Hungary and working through to Malta.
Hungary: Gábor Alfréd Fehérvári
Judit: Hungary has its own version of Rising Star, and with it we have our very own “Golden Boy” – Gábor Alfréd Fehérávari. He’s older and sounds completely different to Israel’s Nadav, but I’m sure he would be perfect for Eurovision! So far he’s the most successful graduate from the talent show, despite only finishing fourth. This showbiz newcomer is both talented and sexy, two very important qualities! His first single, “Mary Joe”, became a big hit with the Hungarian public and wiwivision voters. Alfréd has the potential to win A Dal 2016 and call me a dreamer, but he could totally win in Stockholm too. He’s successfully worked with Kállay-Saunders in the past. If the duo join forces again they could be unstoppable!
Last time we chose: Linda Király
Iceland: Of Monsters And Men
Padraig: For a brief period in 2012, Of Monsters And Men were unavoidable. Their debut single, “Little Talks”, charted worldwide and has since racked up over 154 million views on Youtube. An album quickly followed, and it too hit the top spot. However, again Eurovision comes around, all that will have been four years ago. The band have continued to have moderate success, but it’s a case of diminishing returns. Their latest effort, “Crystals”, barely scraped into the top 100 in most territories. Their second album did relatively better, but came nowhere near the highs of their debut. Basically, they need a Eurovision shaped reboot. After, last year’s misfire, they would certainly return the island nation to the final. And if we had to put money on it, we’d say they’d be far more likely to do a Katrina & The Waves rather than a Cascada.
Last time we chose: Retro Stefson
Ireland: Sinéad O’Connor
Jason: “Hello, RTÉ? This is Sweden calling. Keep up the good work.” What happened to the Ireland of the ’90s? Between 1990 and 2000, Irish entries placed outside of the top ten only twice, not to mention the two second places and four wins. Now we can’t even make it out of the semis, and this makes me really sad. Like seriously sad. Doesn’t anyone at RTÉ care? With Sweden so dangerously close to matching their record, I suggest that Ireland takes a risk. Convince Sinéad O’Connor to represent them. She embodies everything that the country has lacked in recent contests: creativity, individuality, controversy and most importantly, credibility. Her participation would generate much-needed interest in Eurovision at home, and would perhaps reconfigure public perception of the contest. High-profile artists of her calibre are exactly what Ireland needs for Eurovision, yet they are reluctant to get involved. Sinéad O’Connor, you are needed desperately.
Last time we chose: Hozier
Israel: The Young Professionals
Sopon: The Young Professionals (TYP) is a collaborative project consisting of producer Johnny Goldstein and singer/songwriter Ivri Lider. Ivri is one of Israel’s best-selling contemporary artists, whereas Johnny released just one album before TYP was formed in 2009. The pair have two albums and a plethora of remixes to their name. Amongst those they’ve remixed or featured are Eva Simons, Mylène Farmer, Zedd, Tegan and Sara, and Lana del Ray. The duo have won multiple awards, including the 2011 MTV Best Israeli Act Award. TYP know how to party, and they would certainly bring the crowds to EuroClub.
Last time we chose: Eden Ben Zaken
Italy: Malika Ayane
Mike: In 2008, at the beginning of her career, Malika Ayane was chosen to take part in the newcomers section of the San Remo festival. Two years later she competed in the prestigious 60th edition of the main San Remo contest where she won the Mia Martini critics award. The Italian songstress has never looked back, and her upward trajectory continues. Her latest single, “Senza Fare Sul Serio” (Without Getting Serious), went platinum and hit the top ten. She has the class of Nina Zilli, with a dash of Emma Marrone‘s edginess – the perfect mix for Eurovision.
Last time we chose: Raffaella Carrà
Latvia: Carnival Youth
Mario: Carnival Youth are one of the most exciting emerging indie rock bands in Latvia. Formed in late 2011, they have already toured across the Baltics. Their first trip further afield brought them to the UK’s Great Escape Festival in Brighton. The twin brothers from this four-piece band, Edgars and Emils, are sons of Renars Kaupers – the lead singer of Latvia’s Eurovision 2000 act, Brainstorm. The apple certainly doesn’t fall far from the tree. Their Oasis-like sound should appeal to a wide audience and secure the country its second consecutive visit to the grand final. Remember, an act with a very similar style and sound secured Latvia their second best result in the contest.
Last time we chose: Fox Lima
Dayana: Nineteen year old Simonna, is an up-and-coming star. You may remember her from Lithuania’s National Selection in 2012, when she sang “One Of a Kind”, a song originally written for Carola. She came seventh, but did earn the title of the youngest ever participant! Since then, her career has been going strong. She’s released two chart-topping albums with songs in both Lithuanian and English. Simonna has also taken part in numerous competitions and received multiple awards. Besides music she acts in a popular Lithuanian tv series. Maybe now is the time for Simonna to finally bring Lithunaia a win.
Last time we chose: Jurga Seduikyte
Luxembourg: Natas Loves You
Robyn: Every year there’s hope that this Eurovision foundation country will return, and every year they say neen. But there’s so much good musical talent in the tiny duchy that broadcaster RTL wouldn’t even need to do their previous move of recruiting French singers. That’s where Natas Loves You comes in. Despite having a name more suited to a teen metal group, Natas Loves You are more of an indie rock band. They have a good knack for writing strong three-minute pop songs with epic choruses, but they can also deliver delightful weirdness, which is always good to have as an option for Eurovision.
Last time we chose: Angel At My Table
FYR Macedonia: Rennata
Renske: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia needs to score. The Balkan country has never entered the top 10 at Eurovision, it’s about time they broke the curse! Twenty-five year old Macedonian singer Rennata, born Renata Kralevska, might just be the person for the job. She sings English-language pop songs and has released four albums since 2012. Like Kaliopi, her personality and performances scream fierceness – and that’s exactly what FYR Macedonia needs!
Last time we chose: Natasa Malinkova
Malta: Lauren Aquilina
Patrick: Okay, Malta needs help. They sent a warrior to Vienna, but it didn’t work out. However, girl-power is always good. It might be time to send Lauren Aquilina into battle. Born in 1995, Lauren is of British and Maltese descent. She began to sing at eight, and has played the piano since the age of nine. After some appearances at music festivals and her first UK tour in 2013, Malta noticed her and loved her to bits. Her debut single, “Fools”, brought her fame across the island, transforming her into a media-darling. She’s released two more songs and is currently working on an album with Island Records and Universal Music Group. Could she bring Malta its first victory?
Last time we chose: Kevin Borg
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 Moldova through to Russia.