Even if we do know the venue for 2018, off-season is still tough for Eurovision fans. 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 for months.
Despite the sunshine, summer can be bleak. It would be easy to mope until November, but the wiwibloggs team has a better plan. It’s time to dream!
For the next few Wednesdays our correspondents from across the world will be bringing you their ultimate wishlist for Lisbon 2018. And as this is all fantasy, we’ll also be taking a look at absentee countries, both long and short term. Because in our ideal contest everyone comes to the party.
To make sure that no one gets left out, we’ll be going through countries in alphabetical order, so this week we’re starting with Croatia and working through to Greece.
Croatia: Petra Kovacevic
Antranig: Since returning in 2016, Croatia has taken a kitchen sink approach to Eurovision — from daring costume changes to outrageous vocalists. Despite the variety, neither Nina nor Jacques managed to break into the top ten. Perhaps it’s time to go back to basics — some good old Balkan ethno-pop. Petra Kovacevic would be the perfect artist for the job. She has the attitude, the voice and the body needed to leave a big impression on the Eurovision stage. Her 2014 single “Buka, Galama” shows off her talents best.
Cyprus: Sophia Patsalides
Bernardo: She represented Cyprus at Junior Eurovision back in 2014, placing ninth with “I pio omorfi mera” (The Most Wonderful Day). And by the end of 2017, Cypriot teen sensation Sophia Patsalides will celebrate her 17th birthday, making her more than eligible to charm us on the adult Eurovision stage. She possesses a deep powerful voice yet she can hit those high notes with ease — gurl has vocal range and control. She’s spoiled us with covers of Adele and Ariana Grande, but we’re thirsty for some original material, ideally of the three minute bop variety.
Czech Republic: Mikolas Josef
Mikhail: Last November, we reported that Mikolas Josef had applied to sing for the Czech Republic in Kyiv. But for some unknown reason, he wasn’t even considered by the broadcaster’s expert jury. Nevertheless, the hype surrounding him is real. His music follows all the latest trends and wouldn’t seem out of place on Justin Bieber record. Additionally, Mikolas is also a skilled break dancer and acrobat. And that’s before we even get to discussing how hot the guy is! He’s already got the desire, along with the all important “fan favourite” tag, so surely it’s a question of when he goes to Eurovision rather than if.
Denmark: Lukas Graham
Mike: It’s the country with a reputation for sending safe formulaic pop music to Eurovision. But Denmark has so much more to offer. Take for instance Lukas Graham, the band responsible for the hugely popular “7 Years”. The melancholic ballad struck a chord globally, and even nabbed a Grammy nomination for the group. Their followup single “You’re Not There” is in a similar vein. Sad and dark, it’s not something we’d immediately associate with Denmark at the song contest. But why should the land of Emmelie de Forest always send the same generic tunes? Lukas Graham may be too big for Eurovision, but they’d definitely take the Scandi-nation back onto the right side of the final scoreboard.
Estonia: Jana Kask
Raphael: Whether their song was too dated or too cheesy, Koite Tomme & Laura’s next-to-last jury ranking at Eurovision 2017 ensured that “Verona” ended up lost in the second semi-final. And despite this surprise elimination, one takeaway that Koite & Laura — and even Juri Pootsman — made clear is that Estonia would do well to send acts firmly planted in the 2010s. Jana Kask has the modern flare to make it big at Eurovision. In 2008, she won Eesti otsib superstaari, becoming the youngest victor of any Idol series worldwide at 16. She’s been releasing albums and singles nonstop ever since. Her style combines electronic pop with powerful, balladic vocals, and based on her high-production music videos, there’s no question — girl can perform!
Kristin: Finland, like its neighbours in Iceland, hasn’t been particularly successful at Eurovision in the past three years. But hopefully that will change, because the Finnish music industry is literally bursting with talent. One of those talents is Alma Sofia Miettinen or simply ALMA — not to be confused with the French chanteuse Alma. The colourful singer first garnered attention when competing on Finnish Idol in 2013. Despite only placing fifth, ALMA caught the eye of one of the judges, Sini Sabotage. By 2016, things were moving quickly. ALMA signed a record deal with Universal in Germany, and released her first major single “Dye My Hair” soon after. ALMA is nowhere near done and maybe, just maybe, with a song like her latest work “Chasing Highs”, she is Finland’s ticket out of the semi-finals.
France: Christine and the Queens
Padraig: She’s a self-professed purveyor of freakpop. And despite the stage name, Christine and the Queens is just one woman. Much like Florence’s Machine and Marina’s Diamonds, Christine’s Queens are a fluid concept, inspired by drag queens she worked with in London. She’s been releasing music since 2012, but it wasn’t until last summer that she truly became a known name outside her native France. “Tilted” — the English version of her eponymous single “Christine” — proved to be a phenomenon. Charting right across Europe, the track brought both popular appeal and critical acclaim. She’s got the alternative quirkiness of Sebastien Tellier, the sophistication of Patricia Kaas and the youthful vigour of Amir and Alma. Plus her stage shows are mesmerisingly brilliant. Eurovision needs her!
Rezo: Known simply as Salio to her fans, Salome Korkotashvii is a Georgian pop, soul and R&B singer-songwriter. She’s enjoyed major success in recent times, first stemming from her appearance at the country’s Black Jazz Festival. There she was spotted by producer Quint Davis, who invited her to perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in America. Salio’s gone from strength to strength ever since, both at home and in the US. “Wayside” is taken from her debut EP Lost World, and something of its ilk would most certainly guarantee a Georgian return to the Eurovision grand final.
Florian: Mogli is a relatively new face to the German music industry. Her debut album Bird landed in 2015, the same year she featured on the soundtrack for the movie Pedal The World. She released her most recent LP Wanderer earlier this year. The 14-track record presents an alternative style and sound, which is reflected in her music videos. Mogli is unique, yet fits the “NDR formula” of sending up-and-coming female singers. And her work is different enough that it wouldn’t get lost. “Road Holes” is one of the best songs to come out of Germany lately, and another effort like that would take the 2010 winning country back to its glory days.
Greece: Nikos Ikonomopoulos
Adriana: After presenting us beautiful English songs over the last decade or so, it’s time for Greece to change its strategy. Nikos Ikonomopoulos was a fisherman and waiter before stepping into the limelight, after winning Dream Show – the Music 2 back in 2006. After nine studio albums, the modern laika singer has just released O Haraktiras. With a song about failed romance, the Greek lyrics may not be understood by most but the harmony sure is. Just like this year’s winner, 33 year old Nikos has the power to make us feel something. If the Greeks decide to take him to Portugal in 2018, he would certainly be a fan favourite.
What do y’all think? Have we chosen the best of the best? Or would you have chosen differently? As always, let us know below.