Summer is drawing to a close, and the dreaded post-Eurovision depression is beginning to dissipate. Halleloo! But before we prepare to jump head first into the 2019 season — 1 September is only two and a half weeks away, y’all! — there’s time for one more trip to fantasy land.
For the last few Wednesdays our correspondents from across the world brought you their ultimate wishlist for Israel 2019. And as this is all make believe, we also included absentee countries, both long and short term. Because in our ideal contest everyone comes to the party.
To make sure that no one was left out, we went through countries in alphabetical order. So this week, as this year’s series comes to a close, we start with San Marino and work through to the United Kingdom. Let’s do this!
San Marino: Jimmi JDKA
Robyn: One of the best things about San Marino’s 2018 national final was the local act wildcard. It shone a light on some of the microstate’s talent and from there we find our Wednesday Wishlist candidate. Jimmi JDKA is a singer/rapper/entertainer/artiste who puts 110% into all his songs. He is bold and wild and could easily deliver San Marino’s most memorable entry since “The Social Network Song (OH OH – Uh – OH OH)”. He has even referenced “Nel blu dipinto di blu” — arguably Italy’s most iconic Eurovision entry — in one of his songs. His style might seem a little over-the-top, but he has an ear for a good hook and should be given a chance to unleash his talents at Eurovision.
Serbia: Saša Kovačević
Sebastian: Ageing like the finest of wines, Saša Kovačević has been a bit of a big deal in the Balkan world since 2005. The Belgrade singer has long been rumoured as a potential entrant for Serbia, strengthened by a bilingual pop-folk career and killer good looks. But don’t be fooled by his hunky exterior — Saša has been training in music since high school, and taking top prizes in the Serbian Radio Festival. A man not afraid to experiment, he’s recently dabbled in Serbian reggaeton, like 2016’s hit “Temperatura”, to great success. Eurovision needs more Serb men — Eurovision will be his best gateway to get his voice — and his guns — beyond the Balkans and into the world wide market. But there’s no doubt that if Saša goes to Israel, he’ll go there solely on his own terms.
Slovakia: Lina Mayer
Antranig: We would all like to see Slovakia come back to Eurovision. The country that gifted us the epic “Horehronie” is certainly capable of producing a pop star. There are few better than Lina Mayer. Born Karolína Majerníková, Lina Mayer has a catalogue of enchanting pop songs. Her 2015 self-titled EP contains a number of fascinating songs, including “Personal Sky” and “Nothing”. She has been somewhat dormant since then, but her 2018 release “Falling” announced her presence on the Slovak music scene once more and a Eurovision appearance would top it off. Her artistry would be a welcome addition to the Eurovision lineup, as would Slovakia’s return to the contest.
Slovenia: Luka Basi
Antony: Slovenian audiences were first introduced to Luka Basi when he appeared on Slovenia’s Got Talent as Matej Prikeržnik (his birth name). Since then, he took a career detour and established himself on the Croatian music scene, releasing successful songs under the direction of Raay. Raay — one half of Slovenia’s 2015 duo Maraaya — is his manager and co-wrote all of his songs to date. Luka has also had the opportunity to collaborate with some Croatian artists such as Lidija Bacic and Lana Jurcevic. Handsome and charismatic with a dreamy voice, I would love to see him on home soil at the Slovenian national selection for Eurovision singing a quality track written by Raay.
Luis: Tra, tra. Rosalía is the name of the year in Spain, and she would make the perfect Eurovision representative. She broke through earlier this summer with the release of “Malamente”. It became an instant hit thanks to its mix of flamenco and trap, its catchy chorus and slick music video. Aged just 23, Rosalía is preparing her second album El Mal Querer, which is set to arrive later this year. She’s already released two singles from the record. The second “Pienso en tu mirá” dropped three weeks ago, and this time, she mixes flamenco and pop beats, and creates what could be Spain’s answer to Dua Lipa. In fact, Dua Lipa herself praised Rosalía on her Twitter account. She’s not the only one: both Emily Ratajkowski and Kourtney Kardashian have uploaded Instagram stories playing “Malamente“.
Sweden: Lykke Li
Steinunn: Sweden is known for its endless supply of pop bangers. And while those bangers are a solid and a necessary part of pop music, the Swedish music industry contains some artists that do other types of just as solid pop. Lykke Li is one of those artists and she sure would spice up Sweden’s list of Eurovision alumni. She has been active on the music scene since 2007 and boasts a steady fan base, at least in the Nordics. Her music is characterised by a mixture of electronic gloominess and dreamy pop and could be described as the indie pop version of the Nordic Noir genre, a theme that gained popularity with European (and other) TV-viewers. Sweden wouldn’t be the first country to bring the Nordic Noir atmosphere (Finland 2017 being the latest example), but it sure would be a nice detour off the traditional Swedish pop road.
Switzerland: Vendredi sur Mer
Florian: Another year, another failed attempt for Switzerland to reach the grand final. Time for a different approach. Charline Mignot, known as Vendredi sur Mer, brings her very own unique style into her music. The emerging synth pop artist, who combines electro-pop with her personal aesthetics, is one to watch! Not only does she sing in French (like Switzerland’s most recent winner, Céline Dion)… her crystal-clear voice makes her songs hard to overlook. Consequently, Charline Mignot could be exactly what Switzerland needs in order to avoid another disastrous finish.
Erdi: Born in London — where his mom worked in a cafe and his dad for BBC Radio — Edis moved to Izmir, Turkey as a child. There he started his artistic carrier as an actor. Before long, he was discovered singing in a karaoke bar. He caught the attention of many people and released his first single “Benim Ol” in 2014. Many hits later, he released his debut album An (Moment) in 2018. Nowadays, he is compared with Turkish megastar Tarkan because of the attention they both get and their music styles. GOSSİP: While studying in Galatasaray University for one exam that he couldn’t pass, Edis want to his teacher with the ultimate excuse. He said “Teacher, you have to make me pass this exam, because I’m in talks with TRT to represent Turkey at Eurovision”.
Ukraine: Max Barskih
Chris: Sometimes, you have to look towards an established star to get the job done. And right now, there’s arguably nobody that fits the bill better for Ukraine than Max Barskih. His name might be familiar to some, as he finished second to Gaitana in the 2012 national final — but his glow-up since then has been something to behold. He’s toured across the US and Canada already this year, with other shows across Europe planned. In November, he’ll release his latest album at a special concert in Kyiv’s IEC… aka, the Eurovision 2017 venue. Could there be an ESC entry lurking in that track list?
United Kingdom: Nina Nesbitt
Lucy: She’s the “Peroxide” starlet hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland – with British and Swedish roots. Nina Nesbitt has some fabulous credentials to her name including performing at the T In The Park festival, as well as creating a tune for a John Lewis ad campaign in 2013. Her earlier sound was quite folksy with songs such as “Only Love” and “Selfie” being played on BBC Radio 1 regularly at the time. Now she has moved on to a more modern synth sound, as shown by the incredible track “Chewing Gum” — it’s about not wanting to commit to someone and being free to enjoy having fun in that sense. She would be a phenomenal representative for the UK and would bring sass and great stage presence – plus it’s been FAR too long since a Scot took the Union Jack to Eurovision. Bonus fact: Ed Sheeran has several songs about her on his album Multiply, including “Nina” and “Photograph”. In effect, sending Nina Nesbitt would be the damn closest the UK would ever come to sending Ed Sheeran, as some people keep demanding each year!
What do you think? Have we chosen the best of the best? Or would you have chosen differently? As always, let us know below.
CHECK OUT OUR PREVIOUS WEDNESDAY WISHLISTS.
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