Sometimes you tune in to a national final ahead of Eurovision and sometimes you look back on a country’s other options after all is said and done. But in both instances you’ve inevitably asked yourself, at some point, “How did he/she not win it all?!” or “What could he/she have done to make it through?” Thankfully many of the artists who don’t make it to Eurovision leverage their national final appearances to give their career a bump. Some sign record deals, others hone their sound, still others find a new artistic direction entirely.
So, since summer is long and there is time to think, we present you with five artists we think should have another go at trying to represent their nation at Eurovision.
We’ll revisit what they have done in 2018 and see how have they evolved as artists ready to kill it on any stage — including the one at Eurovision! While there are plenty of established musicians all around, we want to highlight those that have featured in less hyped selections. Sanremo and Melodifestivalen alums are busy bees, y’all!
He’s the Belgian boy who was thiiiiis close of representing Belgium in Stockholm with his pop ditty “I’m Not Lost”. As an artist he was a huge favourite, but to many his song felt a bit too sanitised — the kind of number one might hear at Melodifestivalen one too many times.
Some years later he’s dropped “Tom” — call him Frantzis — and we have a potential pop icon on our hands. Working an edgier but still natural image, Frantzis flirts with a more electronic sound — his beats are gritty and multi-layered, but the innocence in his voice still remains. His current offerings could see huge success on the charts all across Europe with the proper backing. While it is RTBF’s turn to pick for Eurovision 2019, VRT did give a chance to a Walloon once with Axel Hirsoux, so who knows? Belgique, what do you say?
Two-time national finalist Thomai Apergi gave us two MAD shows with her jazzy entries “One Last Kiss” and “Jazz & Sirtaki”, coming close to winning the Eurovision ticket. Since then, she has developed a brand new attitude and emerged totally Greek Bomb.com. With songs like “Keep your head up high” and “Daddy”, Thomai’s all about the ladies taking charge and we are here for it! She hasn’t lost her Greek flair, showing her versatility between genres and styles. Whether you want a traditional Greek goddess or a feisty pop queen, ERT would be wise to bet on this charismatic, unique talent.
She’s taking a page from the Zoë Straub manual of cheeky French pop — and it does a body good! In 2017, Ginta Biku brought the beat, the legs, and all the French sass enhanced with AR and VR. The Swiss-Lithuanian diva was considered the only one with a chance to topple the favourites Timebelle, but only managed fourth place. While “Cet air la” was praised for being animated, the long instrumental breaks left something to be desired. Cut to her next single “Mais oui mais non” and BAM — there’s some serious glow-up. Ginta brings us something decidedly more chanson, lyrical and sexy, all the while giving us face and fashion for days (look at that pantsuit). An offering like this is bound to impress even the most stern audience panel, non?
Ramona Nerra — Selectia Nationala 2017 (Romania)
Known for her repeated efforts trying for Romania and Switzerland, Miss Nerra’s brand is one of skill and convenience. Her songs were decent pop offerings, but ultimately inoffensive and safe. Someone of her talent needed to find a direction. Enter Cat Music and we might have competition for bop queens like Margaret in a future. She’s replaced the cheap Europop with tropical fierceness and has ditched the wailing for the swag-filled bars of “Sorry (For You)”. The quick-delivery song features rap, attitude and pulsating beats without a single iota of moaning diva. If Ramona keeps this up, be it solo or paired with her new urban friends, she may well prove that no one can cool her down!
Max Barskih — Evrobachennya 2012 (Ukraine)
Runner-up to Gaitana in 2012, Max Barskih has become a household name in Slavic pop. One of the most complete male pop acts in the country, Max is will to snake up any and all musical paths. Seeing his performances and hearing his material is a delight, and he has not lost a bit of charm since he gave us “Dance”. The Ukranian answer to Sergey Lazarev is as talented behind the scenes as he is on the stage, pinning iconic songs like “I Love You” for TAYANNA. Now the time may be right for Mr. Barskih to try his hand (and voice) at Vidbir once again; Ukraine is heavy on stunning female talent, but if a change of pace is needed, Max is your man.
So who do you think deserves to have another go at a national final? What other artists have picked themselves up from their national finals and released killer material? Who are you dying to see grace the Eurovision stage Let us know down below!