Good evening Europe, good morning Australia! Over the past three weeks we have delved into the history of our Eurovision 2016 artists in search of the best song from their collective back catalogue. We dug up plenty of gems and have finally reached the grand final of Alternative Eurovision 2016.
We’ve already revealed the ten qualifiers from semi-final one and semi-final two. Joining them will be the four automatic qualifiers: host nation Sweden and Big 5 countries France, Italy and Spain. Germany and the UK — the two other Big 5 countries — were unable to participate in our contest because Jamie-Lee and Joe & Jake have not previously released music. Sorry ’bout it.
Therefore we have selected two wildcards. We could like to welcome San Marino’s Serhat and Denmark’s Lighthouse X back to the competition! So without further ado, let the show… begin!
1. Spain: Barei “Play”
Bárbara is beaming under the Madrid sunshine in her 2012 single, “Play”. Put on your sunglasses and eat up this undeniably Barei slice of uplifting piano-pop.
2. Croatia: Nina Kraljic “Zaljuljali Smo Svijet”
After winning The Voice Croatia, Kraljic went on to release her debut single, “We swung the world”. The song channels the mysterious, ethnic vibe present in her Eurovision entry, but through her Slavic mother tongue.
3. Ireland: Westlife “Uptown Girl”
For any of you living under rocks, Nicky Byrne was part of Ireland’s biggest musical export, Westlife. Their most successful single was their cover of Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl,” selling over 750,000 copies in 2001. Apologies for the Vietnamese subtitles.
4. Czech Republic: Gabriela Gunciková “Cerny andel”
Don’t be fooled by the flowers in her hair – “Black Angel” is just as dark as the title suggests. Ms Guncíková sings of God, the devil and being saved from eternal darkness in her 2013 satanic rock hymn.
5. Ukraine: Jamala “It’s Me, Jamala”
She is no Gaga. She is no Amy. She is Jamala — and she is not going to let us forget! Her colourful, jazzy craziness catapulted her to the top of the Ukrainian music scene. And it all comes together perfectly in her 2010 single “It’s Me, Jamala”.
6. Lithuania: Donny Montell “Wicked Games”
Lithuania’s hunky heartthrob recently teamed up with Radistai DJs for the colossal dance anthem “Wicked Games”. Love may be blind, but I ain’t deaf — and this is a tune!
7. Sweden: Frans “Fotbollsfest”
Frans shot to stardom at the tender age of seven with his tribute to Sweden’s most beloved footballer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. In his follow-up single he invites you to every Eurovision fan’s favourite type of party – a “Footballfest”!
8. Austria: Zoë “Adieu”
Say bonjour to Zoë, who is singing the French-language track “Adieu” with her signature sensuality and style. She performed the song in Austria’s 2015 national selection for Eurovision.
9. Russia: Sergey Lazarev “7 Wonders”
Ever fancied travelling the world with an outstandingly attractive Russian superstar? Well, we can dream. Meanwhile, enjoy his 2014 single “7 Wonders” – accompanied by a music video more expensive than Serhat’s bribe to SMTV.
10. Poland: Michal Szpak “Tic Tac Clock”
Szpak finished second in Poland’s X Factor in 2011, and went on to release his debut album, Byle byc soba (Only to be Yourself), four years later. Let Michal elevate you above the skies of Warsaw with the dreamy electro-pop number, “Tic Tac Clock”.
11. San Marino: Serhat “Je M’adore”
If you’re in the mood for some Turkish-Sammarinese electro-swing realness, then look no further than Serhat’s 2014 single, “Je M’Adore”. Mr Hacipasalioglu follows the first rule of making people like you…by telling the world that he adores himself.
12. Estonia: Jüri Pootsmann “I Remember U”
Eesti Laul’s third place finisher, Cartoon, recently teamed up with the winner — Jüri Pootsmann (duh) — to show us a more colourful side to stern-faced Juri in the drum-and-bass anthem “I Remember U”.
13. Belgium: Laura Tesoro “Outta Here”
After finishing second in The Voice van Vlaanderen in 2014, Belgium’s Laura Tesoro went on to release her debut single “Outta Here.” Staying true to her 70s sound, she dropped a song funkier than a multi-coloured octopus wearing flared jeans.
14. France: Amir “Oasis”
After finishing third in The Voice of France in 2014, monsieur Haddad went on to release his debut single for the French market, “Oasis”. Are you lapping up his water source or would you rather be munching on sand?
15. Serbia: ZAA “IRIE&COOL”
Since 2008 Sanja Vucic has been the lead singer of the musical crossover band, ZAA, which performs across genres from punk to soul to ska. Sanja gives us her best Caribbean accent and more spunk than a semen cryopreservation centre in their 2014 single, “IRIE&KOOL”.
16. Latvia: GACHO “Skills to Party”
Up until his participation in Supernova, Justs was part of the Latvian music Project, GACHO. Enjoy his pretty face dripping with fluorescent paint as he shows us his “Skills to Party” in their 2014 floor filler.
17. Hungary: Freddie “Mary Joe”
Shortly after finishing fourth on Hungary’s Rising Star, Gábor Alfréd Fehérvári – or Freddie as we now know him – released his debut single, “Mary Joe”. Prepare yourselves for ‘pockets full of soul,’ as he swaps his Eastern gongs for a Western harmonica.
18. Switzerland: Rykka “Movies”
Rykka’s 2015 single “Movies” kick-started her career in Switzerland. She filmed the music video inside the Rhone glacier, and after receiving frequent airplay on Swiss radio stations she decided to write a song for Eurovision.
19. Bulgaria: Poli Genova “Den s pleneno slunce”
If you thought that this woman already had enough achievements to her name, think again. Back in 2013, Poli Genova played the role of the princess in the original Bulgarian musical, Aladdin — and princess Jasmine slays in the haunting ballad, “The sun captured a day”.
20. Armenia: Iveta Mukuchyan “Summer Rain”
Back in 2014 Mukuchyan teamed up with Armenian DJ Lazzaro to bring us the upbeat banger “Summer Rain”. With vocals stronger than Farid Mammadov’s biceps, Iveta slays on the international water-fight anthem.
21. Iceland: Greta Salóme “We Are”
Let one of Iceland’s most coveted songwriters transport you to a Northern utopia with the magical ballad, “We Are”. The song features on her debut album, In The Silence, released in 2012.
22. Malta: Ira Losco “Shoudn’t Have To Bother”
Only Ira could make gutting a fish on a precarious pontoon look sexy. She represents Malta with her 2014 summer hit, “Shouldn’t Have To Bother” — a song even sunnier than the Mediterranean island itself.
23. Italy: Francesca Michielin “Sola”
There is absolutely no degree of hesitation in Michielin’s 2012 single, “Alone”. The rocky desert brings out the grit in this Italian beauty for one heck of a power-ballad.
24. Denmark: Lighthouse X “It’s a Brand New Day”
It may currently be 9 degrees Celsius in Copenhagen, but Lighthouse X are bringing the sunshine. Let the warm Danish summer breeze sweep your problems away in their 2015 single “It’s a Brand New Day.”
25. Australia: Dami Im “Super Love”
Forget the sound of silence: Dami Im is giving us the sound of a trans-Pacific megahit! The X Factor winner serves major seoul in her colourful 2014 single, “Super Love.”
26. Netherlands: Douwe Bob “Can’t Slow Down”
Since winning De beste singer-songwriter van Nederland in 2012, Douwe has gone on to release two albums. In his latest album he raises the tempo from his ESC entry with the contradictorily named “Can’t Slow Down”. Someone please do him a favour and install cruise control!
Now that you have heard all 26 entries, it’s time to cast your vote. Just like at the actual Eurovision, you can vote for as many countries as you like — however you can only vote once, so choose wisely. Be sure to click the box next to each act you want to support before pressing submit. Europe… start voting NOW!