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 Moldova and working through to Russia.
Moldova: Irina Rimes
Bogdan: It’s no surprise that Irina Rimes’ first single “Visele” skyrocketed to the top of the Romanian Shazam charts. The singer was unknown prior to reaching the finals of the Moldovan talent show Star Factory, but now her fan base is growing as fast as her YouTube view count. She’s a natural beauty and excels as a live singer. I have no doubt that she would do exceptionally well on the Eurovision stage, should she strive for international recognition.
Robyn: Ok, I know — Beyoncé is not Monégasque, nor does she live in the tiny principality. But I fear we have exhausted the current pop performers of Monaco, and Queen B and husband Jay Z regularly holiday there. If we’re going to go with a Beyoncé track (and Lemonade is off limits because it’s not on YouTube yet), why not go with one of her boldest tracks, the staunch feminist anthem “***Flawless”? u slay, B.
Montenegro: Jovana Mustur
Edd: One of my greatest Eurovision fantasies is seeing Enya represent Ireland. However, that ain’t gonna happen, so I’ll take Jovana Mustur representing Montenegro instead. Harp, bagpipes, and the beautiful Montenegrin language — how could you resist? This girl is also trained in classical music, and is a very competent opera singer. Montenegro has sent some solid entries since their comeback, but Jovana could be the one to finally stand out and bring the country into the top ten.
Zakaria: Taken from Morocco’s deep south, Oum’s songs are colourful and unique. Mixing multiple ethnic sounds such as Gnawi, Amazigh and Sufi with jazz and soul, Oum’s music is a tribute to her Sahrawi origins. With her bewitching voice and peculiar looks, Oum is widely renowned for her mesmerising live performances where her Moroccan identity is heavily emphasised. Oum is considered an ambassador of Moroccan culture and has already flown the country’s flag at numerous international events. She would be perfect for Eurovision… if Morocco ever returns.
The Netherlands: O’G3NE
Mike: There is only one act to choose for the Netherlands — O’G3NE. They’re the hot favourites to fly the Dutch tricolour in Ukraine, with odds of almost 1 to 1. The trio took part in Junior Eurovision a few years back and also competed in The Voice of Holland and The Best Singers of The Netherlands, where they introduced a new way of singing in which all three of them sing small parts of the lyrics. The girls can sing and they’ve made it perfectly clear that they want to show off their skills on the Eurovision stage.
Norway: Julie Bergan
Sami: After finishing in the Eurovision top ten three times in a row, Norway failed to qualify for the final in Stockholm. We don’t want to see the country return to ballads. They need to send something commercial, and who would do it better than one of the hottest pop artists in Norway right now, Julie Bergan. Julie already took part in Melodi Grand Prix back in 2013 with “Give a Little Something Back” but failed to qualify to the final. Since then, she’s completely changed her style and released huge hits “All Hours” and the chart-topping “Arigato“. With another electronic ballad or club banger like Julie’s previous hits, Norway shouldn’t have any problem returning to the left hand side of the scoreboard.
Marek: Everyone wants Sylwia Grzeszczak or Doda for Poland. But I listened to my heart and immediately thought of Monika Brodka. She’s nothing like the two ladies above. Firstly, she’s not a brash attention seeker. It’s unusual to see her at any event and she rarely does interviews. She lives her life, her life is music and we can really hear it. Her songs are full of emotion, mostly sadness, but who ever said that a winning song must be happy? She doesn’t release music for the sake of it. She takes her time and we wait — last time it took six years for new music to materialise. But the results are unbelievably good. When Loreen was asked about Brodka she answered: “Brodka? It’s your (Polish) artist?! Everyone knows her! Brodka. Beautiful name.” With such an endorsement, I don’t need to say anything more.
Portugal: Diogo Piçarra
Jordi: When it comes to Eurovision, Portugal really struggles. Is it because they insist on singing in Portuguese? Or maybe their songs are simply dated? Personally, I love their authenticity, and if we mix that with a modern sound and an amazing voice, we have Diogo Piçarra. The 25 year old has everything the Iberian nation needs to return to the final — personality, emotion and a truly enchanting voice. His passion for music started pretty early and at only 17 he formed the band Fora da Bóia. He went on to win the fifth season of Portugal’s Idolos, for which he got a Universal record deal and a scholarship for London’s Music School. He’s released two albums to date, Sessions (2014) and Espelho (2015). His lastest single “Dialeto” is taken from his upcoming album. It’s fresh, modern, sung in Portuguese, and could totally work at Eurovision.
Bogdan: Although less known than Inna and Alexandra Stan internationally, Delia is a bona fide Romanian superstar. Wildly successful and talented, with countless hit singles and a place at the judges table on the Romanian X Factor, Delia looks and sounds like a Eurovision gold ticket for the Eastern European country. Alas, Delia’s very busy schedule would never allow it, but we can dream. And look, she’s taking a cue from Aliona Moon’s dress sense!
Russia: Egor Kreed
Dayana: It seems like Russia is more successful with guys rather than girls… so our choice is Egor Kreed. A frequent chart-topper, he started his career in 2011. He broke into the mainstream in 2012 when he was signed to Black Star Inc. — one of the most successful music labels in Russia, owned by rapper Timati. Since then, Egor has earned a huge fanbase in CIS countries and is a regular guest at music festivals, award ceremonies and various TV Shows. In addition to all that, the 22 year-old has collaborated with many Russian singers such as Nyusha, Alex Sparrow, Hanna, and Timati. His biggest hit is “Samaya Samaya”, for which he received dozens of awards.
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 for our final wishlist and our choices for San Marino through to the United Kingdom.