The first of September has come and gone. So it’s safe to say that PED (Post Eurovision Depression) has passed, as we have a new season of national finals, Junior Eurovision, and, of course, the main contest to look forward to. Summer is over, but we still have one thing left to do. It’s time to unveil our last Wednesday Wishlist for 2016.
For the past few weeks our correspondents from across the world have been presenting you with their ultimate choices for Stockholm. As this is all fantasy, we took 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 was left out, we worked through countries in alphabetical order, so for this week’s final instalment we’re starting with San Marino and finishing with the United Kingdom.
San Marino: Irol MC
Robyn: It’s not easy being the smallest country at Eurovision. But while San Marino’s talent pool is smaller, that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of talent in the hillside microstate. Irol MC (aka Lorenzo Salvatori) is a San Marino rapper who’s been making quite a name for himself. On “Lappa da Grappa” he brings a Sammarinese twist to rap. And yes, rap never does particularly well at Eurovision, but traditionally San Marino never does too well either, so maybe the double bad luck will cancel itself out. Rapping over Ralph Siegel beats? It could happen!
Edd: What better way for Serbia to celebrate the contest being held in Stockholm than sending their very own Swede? Ana Rab AKA Gnucci was born in Belgrade, Serbia but grew up in Västerås, Sweden. Her music is loud, hyper, hip-hop house – or in Gnucci’s words “I make pussy power rap, clit spit.” At Eurovision she would surely raise eyebrows with her outrageous lyrics, as well as giving us a show to remember (proof here). Whether that would lead to a Lordi-style success or a Dustin the Turkey flop… well, there’s only one way to find out. It’s time to take a risk, Serbia!
Last time we chose: Ceca
Slovakia: Celeste Buckingham
Mikhail: Celeste has the potential to conquer Europe. The Swiss-American singer grew up in Slovakia and has been plying her trade from an early age. In 2011, her career received a huge boost when she appeared as a finalist on Czechoslovak Superstar. A talented singer-songwriter, Celeste has a unique sound which has even reached the US. Her single “Run Run Run“, is perhaps her biggest hit, reaching the top two in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and racking up over 18 million views on YouTube. She was only 17 at the time! Her most recent single, “Unpredictable”, continues her amazing success rate. Celeste would be the perfect candidate to bring Slovakia to its first ever grand final, and maybe even to snatch a victory.
Last time we chose: Katarína Koscová
Sopon: Eurovision comes at a convenient time for artists, since summer is right around the corner. What does that mean? Summer hits, everyone! France took advantage of the timing with Jessy Matador in 2010, and now Slovenia can do the same with Kingston. Fronted by singer Reno Cibej, guitarists Dare Kaunic and Dejan Dimec, keyboardist Zvone Tomac, and drummer Klemen Ogrizek, Kingston is known for summertime smashes accompanied by music videos with bikini-clad ladies and maritime locations. While some of their discography is reggae-based *shudder*, their pop songs are totally fair game for Eurovision. Let Kingston bring the party to Stockholm!
Last time we chose: Petra Marklund (formerly September)
Spain: Varry Brava
Luis: Spanish summer festivals are well known throughout Europe. FIB, Arenal Sound, BBK… they’re all full of drunk Europeans who just want some fun and lively tunes. Because, of course, there’s much more to Spain than toreros and flamencas. We need to go for it, and Varry Brava may be the best bet. Fun, fresh, happy-clappy music to cheer up the audience and the viewers between endless ballads, these fast beats are what Europe craves. The group has been on the go for five years now and they are a recurring name on festival posters. They are more than experienced and would most definitely rock the boat in Stockholm, just like they do at Benicàssim. Somebody get me a pint, please!
Last time we chose: Amaia Montero
Padraig: Robyn at Eurovision? Surely that’s pushing the boundaries of reality to their limits? But hear me out. Despite having a discography crammed with electro-pop gems, and a Grammy nomination, Robyn’s only had a handful of bona-fide hits – “Do You Know (What It Takes)”,“With Every Heartbeat”, “Dancing On My Own”. She’s a critical darling, but when it comes to the record buying public, she retains something of a cult-appeal. Such a status gives her a much greater degree of independence, allowing her to experiment continuously. In 2010, she gave us the three part “Body Talk” project. Last year, saw her release a whole EP with Röyksopp, and in 2015 she did one with La Bagatelle Magique. Why can’t Eurovision be her next venture? The lady has nothing to lose. A flop will not destroy her existing reputation, and a victory may finally endear her to the masses. And lets not forget, Robyn has flirted with Melfest before, when she co-wrote the 1997 fourth place finisher, “Du gör mig hel igen”.
Last time we chose: Hakan Hellström
Switzerland: Beatrice Egli
Patrick: Switzerland finished last in this year’s contest… not a result to be proud of. In fact, it’s been a long time since they’ve even placed inside the top ten. Will 2016 be their time to shine? It’s definitely time to shake things up. Beatrice Egli is one of the country’s most popular schlager singers. She rose to fame thanks to the Grand Dame of Eurovision, Lys Assia, participating alongside her in a Folk Song Contest for German speaking countries. Beatrice also became the first ever schlager winner of the German Pop Idol, and went on to release number one hits in Switzerland and Germany. Since 2007, she’s won several awards and released six albums. Schlager has fallen out of favour at Eurovision of late, but we’re sure that Beatrice could bring both the genre and Switzerland back to the top.
Last time we chose: Stefanie Heinzmann
Gökhan: There’s still a question mark regarding Turkey’s participation in Stockholm. Nevertheless, we keep searching for names to carry the Eurovision torch. Names such as the German-born Atiye. Her mother is Dutch and her father has Turkish-Arabic roots. With her unique voice and fashionable style, Atiye would be one of the best names to represent Turkey. But what does Atiye think about Eurovision? Back in 2012, when Turkey was part of the contest, she said that “I am ready to represent my country. I have a song to sing on the Eurovision stage.” Only last week, she released her new new single, “Abracadabra”, and announced that she’s working with Sony again. Next stop Eurovision?
Last time we chose: Aynur Aydin
Dayana: Ukraine has a reputation of sending the prettiest girls to Eurovision. If their formula ain’t broke, why fix it? Let me indroduce you to Alloise – a Ukrainian pop singer, who successfully combines fresh catchy tunes with retro sounds. In 2012, she won the MTV EMA award for best Ukrainian act. But before all that, she was a member of the Ukrainian group, Gochitza. They supported major international acts such as Nelly Furtado, J.J. Johanson, and Faithless. And Alloise is not content to just be big in Ukraine, she’s aiming for global domination. Her video for “Tell Me of Fire” was even shown on MTV USA. Alla (her real name) has shared the same stage with Loreen, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Craig David and many many more. She has everything – professionalism, international recognition, beauty and, of course, an alluring voice. What else is needed for a victory?
Last time we chose: Vera Brezhneva
United Kingdom: Hurts
Deban: Hurts combine critical acclaim with commercial success, and vintage glamour. Their first two albums took up residency in the top ten both at home and abroad. They have played to sold-out arenas continent-wide from Finland to Lithuania. Their recognisable sound takes inspiration from past decades, and helps to separate them from other electro-pop offerings. Unlike other boy-bands who seem cringey to most people post-puberty, Hurts are uber-cool and suave. They write their own songs, sing with conviction, and photograph beautifully. They haven’t shot to fame through TV talent shows, but have grafted their way to the top and are still rising. And lest we forget, the duo are actually interested in Eurovision. Their participation on Europe’s biggest platform can only achieve one thing- success for The UK!
Last time we chose: Mutya Keisha Siobhan (MKS)