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 Ukraine 2017. 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.
Croatia: Lana Jurcevic
Antranig: It’s been a long time since Croatia were at the top of the Eurovision leaderboard. While “Lighthouse” took them to the final in 2016, Lana Jurcevic could go even further. It’s not Eurovision without a Balkan dance song and Lana would be just the person to deliver one in 2017. With millions of views on YouTube and a wide variety of music in her repertoire, Lana is exactly what Croatia needs. Pack your tanning lotion and towels and let her lead you to the beach in “Ludo Ljeto”.
Jason: Cyprus has never really set Eurovision alight, crashing out in the semis on six occasions in the past ten years. Boo! Nikolas Metaxas, the runner-up on Greek X Factor‘s first season, could be the man to finally smash the island’s lacklustre record. Nikolas (or Metaxas as he seems to go by) competed to represent his country in 2008, and in fact wrote the 2009 Cypriot entry “Firefly”, which was sung by his sister Christina. His YouTube channel features many covers of old and new hits, as well as new material such as the haunting “Selene”, giving us an idea of what he could bring to the contest. Because who doesn’t love a brooding Cypriot hunk?
Czech Republic: Lenny
Mikhail: After seeing Czech Republic reach the final for the first time this year, we’re confident that their results will only get better. And there are lots of artists who could help them achieve continued success. Lenny is definitely one of the most promising. Young and ambitious, she possess a truly remarkable voice. She writes her own songs, giving them a unique flavour. Flirting with both pop and indie, she released two EPs in 2013. Her single “All My Love” was huge. She won over the public immediately, picking up the “Newcomer of the Year” award at the Ceny Andel music awards. In September she will release her first album “Hearts”, from which you can already here the single “Hell.O”. Maybe there will be something on the record that could conquer Eurovision…
Denmark: Turboweekend & Oh Land
Deban: Denmark is bursting with talent. This was partly documented in our Dansk Melodi Grand Prix wishlist back in February. But there’s more. Rather than picking a single artist or act, I’m being cheeky and proposing a grand collaboration. A fusion of Turboweekend and Oh Land could bag a trophy at Eurovision. Four talented musicians who have worked together in several constellations solidify as one united force — Turboweekend. Their synth-rock sound has brought them four successful albums and made them a staple at music festivals across the continent. Their collaboration with Oh Land — another four album heavyweight starlet — gives us a peek of what we could expect at Eurovision. Oh Land, the daughter of a pianist and an opera singer has sass, sparkle and perhaps one of the most versatile voices in today’s music industry. Their fusion would definitely shake up the leaderboard.
Padraig: Estonia is in a bit of a dour and depressing rut. Sometimes that works — see Elina & Stig — other times it fails massively — hi Jüri. They need to shake things up, banish the grey clouds whilst retaining their quintessentially alternative spirit. Step forward IIRIS. The 25 year old tried to represent the Baltic country twice before, finishing second in 2008 and fourth in 2010. However, while those results were respectable, they don’t reflect the artist she’s evolved into today. Back then she’d yet to discover her quirky yet appealing sound. She cemented her place in the Estonian consciousness with the release of “Tigerhead” in 2013, her best known hit. It fuses oriental sounds and imagery in ways that Germany’s Jaime Lee can only dream of. Since then she’s been on a bit of hiatus, but she returned in a big way earlier this year, releasing an EP and co-writing Cartoon’s Eesti Laul entry “Immortality”. The woman has both the talent and desire needed for Eurovision. Send her already!
Sami: While Finland’s national selection Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) has gotten better every year, one problem remains — it’s mostly open for newcomers and the county’s biggest stars show no interest in taking part. Luckily there are some great new talents, and Niila is one of them. After supporting Sunrise Avenue on their German tour, Niila performed to huge audiences and his debut album was released in Germany through one of the country’s biggest record labels. Niila’s sound is very international and despite being slightly melancholic, his melodies are extremely catchy. After failing to qualify twice in a row, Niila might have that something to get Finland back in the final.
Zakaria: When it comes to Eurovision, we all know that originality stands out and it’s fortunate because Brigitte have plenty of it. In a total league of their own, Brigitte is a duo consisting of Aurélie and Sylvie. They joined forces and decided to go indie after failed attempts with their respective bands. Since 2010, they have experimented with all kinds of music, from soul to folk to psychedelic rock. And the they are killing it! Their voices match perfectly and they possess an unmatchable charm and sense of showmanship thanks to their over-the-top and very sensual stage performances. Not surprising when you know that the band was named after French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot, ooh là là.
Jordi: Following 2016’s big experiment with an indie-alternative band and electronic vibes, let me introduce you to Nini Bregvadze (or just NINI). She’s a 20 year-old hip hop, R&B, pop artist with a truly amazing voice and a strong personality. Her urban styled music mixes hip hop roots with pop and soul. She recently released her debut album Crazy I, in which you can find powerful and meaningful lyrics and a strong voice. My summer obsession is “Ocean”, with a characteristic dark essence that also worked well with Nina Sublatti in 2015. I’m also really into “Born for Peace”. NINI stood out in the Georgian version of The X Factor in 2015, and I would love to see her flying the Georgian flag in Ukraine.
Patrick: Germany is failing badly at Eurovision lately. They need to make changes pretty fast and get their mojo back. It is time for something different and maybe the German language could be the answer. Glasperlenspiel is an electropop band made up of Carolin Nymczik and Daniel Grunenberg. Funnily enough they started singing in a Catholic youth choir before coming together as Glasperlenspiel. They participated in the Bundesvision Song Contest twice, and since then they’ve had several chart hits, made music for TV shows and had lots of concerts. Glasperlenspiel could — and surely would — turn Germany’s string of bad results into gold.
Andy: If there is one country that could and should incorporate rap into their entry for 2017, it is Greece. And it should be with the hip-hop group Kings. They consistently work their way up the charts, releasing catchy and current singles that still have that saucy sexy Greek flavor. Greece is one of the most consistent countries at Eurovision when it comes to qualifying for the final — at least until this year. It’s time for Greece to return to the formula that makes it so popular across Europe — give us an upbeat song we can get down to, at least on the the dance floor.
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.