mOff-season is 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 Israel 2019. 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: Damir Kedzo
Antony: He’s one of the country’s biggest rising stars. Handsome with a mellow voice, a Damir Kedzo love ballad could certainly get Croatia back to the Eurovision final. Not to mention melt all of our hearts in the process! Recently, Kedzo won the annual summer Splitski Festival with young singer Domenica and “Mi Protiv Nas”. However, one of my favourite songs from Kedzo is “Vojnik Ljubavi”, a beautiful love ballad released earlier this year.
Cyprus: Polina Christodoulou
Pablo: The island nation that brought us “La La Love” and “Fuego” has pretty much found its calling: sweltering summer pop. And in a Panik-controlled world, there is no shortage of prime candidates. Enter Polina Christodoulou. A local Cypriot diva coming from the X Factor season that gave us Ivi Adamou, Eleftheria Eleftheriou and Hovig (and outlasting all three!). Her brand is versatile yet modern, and lends for various tempos and genres. Polina would fit the summer sensation formula perfectly. Her sophisticated presence sets her apart from Cyprus’ past efforts, assuring her offering would not be a copy. It would 100% slay and the chance of doing so in Greek is a great bonus!
Czech Republic: Emma Smetana
Mikhail: She is one of the most unique artists on the Czech music scene. Emma Smetana began her career as a TV news presenter, before forming her own band. Not only does she sing, she also plays the piano and guitar. Her music is calm yet sensual. You can drown in it, enjoying the moment. In 2016 she released her first album What I’ve Done. The most successful single to come out of it was “No Fire” where she combined her voice with her husband Jordan Haj’s, a fellow musician and a songwriter. Other songs to note are “Waiting” and “Can’t Give You Up“. Emma would be a great follow up to the best Czech Eurovision result ever.
Denmark: Malte Ebert
Kristín: Despite his young age of 21, Malte Ebert is already well established in Denmark. He was formerly known under his alias Gulddreng and topped charts time and time again in his home country with songs such as “Ked af det” and “Se mig nu”, all sung in his native language. However, in 2017 Malte ditched the moniker and started releasing music under his real name. His first single “Rather Be” currently sits comfortable in the Danish top ten singles chart. Malte might be miles away from the epic viking ode of “Higher Ground”, but he is fresh, different and would certainly bring a completely new sound from Denmark to the Eurovision table.
Estonia: Cityflash and Laura-Ly
Lukas: An Estonian DJ and music producer, Cityflash has a lot of experience. His music style is filled with a mix of dirty pop, electro and house beats. Combining it with Laura-Ly — who herself has a unique and quirky style — gives us a very interesting duo. They’ve already enjoyed a number of strong hits on the Estonian music charts. Having a DJ on the Eurovision stage can be hit or miss. JOWST did very well back in 2016 and brought Norway into the top ten. By contrast, Poland’s last entry with Gromee failed to make the final. But Estonia with Cityflash and Laura-Ly can bring something new and daring to the song contest.
Finland: Sonata Arctica
Steinunn: Finland has tried almost every musical genre when it comes to Eurovision, but the only time they were victorious was with the monster rock of Lordi back in 2006. The Finns are known for their abundance of metal bands but they haven’t really sent us a proper metal number since 2008. So it is high time they send another one. Sonata Arctica are a power metal band originating in the northern town of Kemi, located in the Lapland region and not that far from Lordi’s hometown Rovaniemi. Their music can be described as melodic power metal and according to the band members their biggest musical influence is the legendary band Queen. Sonata Arctica have released nine studio albums since 1999 and a compilation album of their work between 2007 and 2017 will be released in July. So why not celebrate that by representing Finland in Israel 2019? Rock might not be the most popular or productive genre at the contest, but the melodic power rock of Sonata Arctica could be just what Eurovision needs. The contest should be a celebration of every single musical genre out there. And honestly, you can never have too much rock at Eurovision.
France: Maître Gims
Julia: Maybe France needs to look into former boy band members to find its next Eurovision megastar. Congolese rapper and singer Maître Gims (Master Gims) could be France’s answer to Justin Timberlake in terms of standout boy band icon. Breaking away from former hip hop band, Sexion d’Assaut, Maître Gims forged his own solo career with the release of the ground-breaking album Subliminal. His talents are considered legendary amongst French rappers with him being the mastermind behind hits including “Sorry,””Golden Disc,” “My Direction” and “Adult Problems.” Not only popular in his adopted country of France, his musical talents have spread far and wide including collaborations with Australian artist Sia and American rapper Pitbull. With his music taking inspiration from his home continent of Africa, his inclusion could add new flavour to the Eurovision stage by marrying African beats with French hip hop.
Georgia: Nino Katamadze & Insight
Rezo: It’s very difficult to choose an act for Georgia which has never participated at Eurovision before or competed in a national final — so many talented Georgian acts have strived for song contest glory through the years. Anyway, I’ve opted for the genius that is Nino Katamadze & Insight. Admittedly, I may be a little biased since I’ve worked as their PR manager for almost a year. They create original compositions, combining Georgian and modern world music to produce surprising results. High quality musical arrangements are supported by strong, emotional and deep vocals. Nino’s voice creates a wave of feelings that envelops the audience. You don’t need to speak or understand the Georgian language to enjoy Insight’s music. The music transcends lyrics and includes improvisations which are free of words. Nino sings her feelings.
Florian: Germany has always seen success at the contest when sending artists with different backgrounds and a creative vision. Lea’s first steps into music began at the age of 15. Similar to Michael Schulte, she started uploading videos on YouTube. Her music always takes a very personal approach and manages to drag the listener into her very own perspective. In 2017, she had her breakthrough when her song “Leiser” reached number 13 on the German charts and stayed in the top 100 for 29 weeks. Moreover, guess what – she lives in Hannover, the same city where Eurovision winner Lena is from!
Greece: Marina Satti
Jordi: Well we know that Greece has properly served Eurovision pleasure throughout its history: from Helena Paparizou to Eleftheria Eleftheriou to Sakis Rouvas, long live the Greek gods and goddesses. But since 2014, the Mediterranean nation’s performance in the contest has been in a consistent decline. Marina Satti has the modern flare and essence needed to make it big at Eurovision and stop the rot. Both traditional and contemporary sounds join Marina’s soul in her artistic attitude and music. Her hit “Mantissa” is the perfect taste of a pleasant upbeat mixture of Greek traditional rhythms and Bollywood elements. Described as the Greek-Sudanese emerging star who represents hope, Marina studies at Boston’s Berklee Music College and collaborates with international and domestic music industry stars. She’s managed to break away from the crowd, provoke reactions and build bridges with people of all ages – her video hit five million streams in just one week. Eurovision? “I’m not ready, but it can be done in the future”. Wooho! The world needs your attitude and swagger!
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.