For the sixth year running, the team at wiwibloggs is organising our “Wednesday Wishlists”. As the title suggests, it’s our yearly round-up of the artists we think would do a fantastic job representing their nation in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Over the five Wednesday Wishlist editions we have done, our wishes were granted a total of eleven times, with a total of twelve entries sent to the grand Eurovision stage. Will any more be granted in 2020?
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 Albania and working through to Bulgaria.
Eurovision 2020 Wishlist (Part One)
Albania: Xhensila Myrtezaj
Edd: If we ever want to see contemporary Albanian music at Eurovision, their national selection needs a revamp — and the perfect instigator of this is Xhensila Myrtezaj. The Balkan beauty is a massive name in the Albanian bop industry, releasing bangers that scorch and always collaborating with the country’s top artists. However, what sets her apart is her instantly recognisable vocals that she absolutely can pull off live, even in ballads. And what’s more, we know she’s thirsty for Eurovision, having participated in FiK back in 2012. Xhensila bridges the gap between what RTSH want and what they need for an Albanian Eurovision revolution.
Andorra: Els Pali
Jordi: Els Pali are here to prove Andorran diversity. Formed by Miguel Palacios (El Pali), David Amat and Toni Fernandez, the band showcases a festive flamenco fusion with rumba, mixing southerner vibes with joyful beats. Since 2016, the band has been spreading Andorran cheerfulness across the landlocked state – from villages’ Festes Majors to the Jambo Street Music Festival. “Respira ben fort” (Breathe Strong) showcases a Catalan fusion of Flamenco and rumba, with nothing but a proper taste of the Andorran Pyrenees. However, they don’t only sing in Catalan. “Besos de sal y limón” and “Mi Plano Privado” are exquisite picks of Spanish flavour.
Armenia: Sofi Mkheyan
Antranig: Armenia has hit a little bit of a slump in the last couple of years, so what better way to get back into form than going back to its roots. Armenia has previously found success with a blend of modern pop and traditional Armenian sounds. That’s where Sofi comes in. She is an artist with a big catalogue of great music and she can certainly bring a party to Rotterdam. Armenia need to find the next “Qele Qele” and Sofi Mkheyan is the woman who can do just that.
Australia: Tones And I
Sebastian: If Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke taught us anything, it’s that different does well for Australia. And to celebrate a new singer who is fresh-on-the-scene, female singer Tones And I would be the perfect choice for Eurovision. Her breakout hit, “Dance Monkey” was released only months ago to international fanfare — reaching number one in Australia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and France. It’s no doubt her sound crosses borders, and strikes as unique, aggressive yet melodic. Grounded and a hard worker, she has made her way from busking on the streets of beachy Australian suburbs to charts worldwide. It’s a fairytale story that would be well suited to an international stage.
Austria: Seiler und Speer
Patrick: Austria lost its qualification streak last year. And that screams for something completely new, or as I would say, send Seiler und Speer! The duo consists of the comedian Christopher Seiler and movie producer Bernhard Speer. In the Austrian music scene, they are known for lyrics that portray the daily Austrian humour while also touching upon love and relationships. The fact that they sing in the Austrian dialect might be a big plus in the competition. Seiler und Speer just recently had a big hit with “Alan bin” (When I’m Alone). And they know how to handle success, playing in front of 100,000 people in Vienna. They would be a perfect fresh start for Austria.
Pablo: Azerbaijan usually leans on sleek, high-quality pop. If this route is the one to continue on, look no further than Elyar. Formerly known as Elyar Fox, this Azerbaijani-British artist is no stranger to the charts, with his 2014 singles “Do it All Over Again” and “A Billion Girls” storming into the UK top 20. Returning from a long hiatus, there’s no better opportunity to let the world see this new version than the Eurovision stage. Besides, the only other Azeri-Brit they have sent, Nikki Jamal, did end up taking it all in 2011. That’s a good omen!
Renske: VAL — that’s Vlad Pashkevich and Lera Gribusova, two of the many talented graduates of the Belarusian State University of Arts. VAL originally started as Lera’s solo project when she first rose to prominence following her participation at the Slavianski Bazar 2015. She finished as a runner-up to Kazakh world star Dimash Kudaibergen. Her partner Vlad, who previously worked as a background singer for Eurovision 2017 act NAVIBAND, subsequently joined her and formed Belarus’ answer to zalagasper. With music like their first single “Tihaya gadan'”, the duo would show Europe and Australia a completely different and new angle to Belarusian indie pop music.
Belgium: Roméo Elvis
Esma: Roméo Elvis, pseudonym of Roméo Johnny Elvis Kiki Van Laeken, is a well-known artist in Belgium, just like his sister Angèle. Roméo’s childhood was far from easy – drugs had a major impact on his life, resulting in a criminal record. Luckily, his love for music has dragged him from a deep trough. While his first EPs were being released, Roméo Elvis was working as a cashier at the supermarket chain Carrefour. Despite his success, he was not able to earn enough money from rapping alone. Shortly before the release of the album Bruxelles arrive, he quit his job and devoted himself solely to music. Roméo now has many hits to his name and is one of the most famous hip-hop artists in Belgium. His style could bring an interesting and unique dimension to the Eurovision stage in a way which has never been shown before.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Rialda
Antony: For someone to reinvigorate the country’s participation at Eurovision, look no further than Rialda. She’s best known for auditioning on the fifth season of the reality singing show Zvijezda možeš biti ti (You Can Be a Star). She competed again in the seventh season two years later and made it to the finals. During the competition, most of the songs she sang were originally by Croatian pop star Severina, with the Sarajevo-based magazine Ekskluziva even calling her the “Bosnian Severina”. Recently, she released a banger called “O Da” which has already amassed 1.4 million views. However one cannot look past “Ljubav Od Baruta”, especially when Balkan Ballads are the backbone of the country’s music culture at Eurovision.
Katie: If Bulgaria were to return to Eurovision next year, could they bounce back with such a bang that they finally snatch their first victory? This could become a possibility if they send Preyah — a seasoned artist who is everything we need in a Eurovision diva. Preyah rose to fame through features on songs by renowned Bulgarian artists Grafa, Billy Hlapeto and Mihaela Fileva. Her debut single “Malkite Neshta” became the most played video on Bulgarian TV in its debut week of release in 2014. The first single from her debut album Preyah, her latest release “Lo6 Navik” (Bad Habit) is fluorescent, dubstep-tactic and shows off Preyah’s sultry vocals perfectly. Now that Preyah runs her own record label, rather than being tied to a bigger label, could we see Preyah signing the dotted line and bringing Bulgaria back to Eurovision in Rotterdam? We sure hope so!
What do you think of our choices? Who would you choose? Let us know in the comments.
CHECK OUT OUR PREVIOUS WEDNESDAY WISHLISTS.