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 San Marino and working through to the United Kingdom. And, before y’all ask, let’s say the Spanish choice is for 2021 and beyond.
Eurovision 2020 Wishlist (Part Five)
San Marino: Lo Strego
Edd: After achieving its best-ever result in 2019 with an international artist, we really hope San Marino are also going to deliver the local goods this decade. One of the Most Serene Republic’s most promising artists is singer-songwriter Lo Strego, who rose to fame on the sixteenth edition of Amici (the same show that brought us Italian Eurovision diva Emma Marrone). His music is fun, mysterious and dynamic; mixing elements of traditional Italic music along with modern production to create a captivating and nostalgic final product. He fulfilled his Sammarinese Eurovision jury service in 2018, but we’d love to see him bring those Cirque du Soleil vibes to the Eurovision stage in 2020.
Serbia: Milica Pavlovic
Antony: Serbia is known for pioneering the turbo-folk music genre, which combines traditional music with a banging beat. This is something that needs to be shown at Eurovision. One singer that can do that is Milica Pavlović. She rose to prominence after competing on the reality singing show Zvezde Grande in 2011, finishing eighth. Nevertheless, she signed a record contract, releasing hit after hit with her music videos amassing millions of views on YouTube. “Ljubi Ljubi” is one of my favourite songs from the singer — a song like this that could tear up the stage in Rotterdam and give Europe a Balkan “Fuego”.
Mikhail: Katarzia, aka Katarína Kubišová, is a singer-songwriter from Nitra. She isn’t particularly well known, but her music deserves to be heard. Her unique style is a mix of futuristic electronic beats futuristic beats with bits of folk and rap. Let’s just say it is hard to describe. What should be noted is her witty lyrics and artistic music videos. This would surprise many if Slovakia returns to Eurovision.
Pablo: One thing Slovenia would benefit from in the contest is to make a big statement — to take a bolder approach than before. And synthpop band Torul would be perfect for the job. With their ethereal sound and futuristic beats, the trio would not pass as just ‘okay’ in the contest. They’re easily capable of commanding an international stage. Frontman Maj Valerij took part in EMA before in 2018 as part of Indigo, so if he fancies a return, he should consider going with his main project this time around.
Jordi: Born in Benicàssim but with roots in Zaragoza, Álvaro Lafuente – the songwriter behind Guitarricadelafuente – is an exquisite talent with his guitar. Guitarricadelafuente merges flamenco with indie and rumba, which makes music that’s pure passion. Guitarrica managed to etch himself a place in Spain’s music industry with nothing but a guitar and his voice. “Nana Triste”, his collaboration with Natalia Lacunza – who placed third in Operación Triunfo 2018 – brought him to the spotlight. To date, he’s released seven singles and two collaborations. “Agua y Mezcal” brings contrasts of emotion and darkness. “Guantanamera” and “El Conticinio” are both contemporary and traditional showcases.
Sweden: Winona Oak
Sebastian: Low key, there’s a lot of pressure when selecting an artist for arguably one of the strongest Eurovision countries this millennium. But while Swede-pop is slowly exiting, what enters is 24 year old indie/dance/electronic Winona Oak. She was raised in the forests of Sweden, which no doubt contributed to her ethereal, sorrowful, otherworldly bangers. More recently, she’s been a little more upbeat, with her just-released track “Let Me Know” acting as a celebration of love, rather than her previous melancholic takes on the genre. She’s had some big collaborations, including a feature on The Chainsmokers track “Hope”, and is in the midst of hitting her strides. Definitely one to watch.
Switzerland: 77 Bombay Street
Oliver: After achieving its best result in over two decades, Switzerland has set expectations high for 2020. Our pick for the alpine nation is 77 Bombay Street. They hail from the small village of Scharns in the Eastern part of the country. The band has been around for a number of years now, with four incredibly successful albums under their belt — two of which have gone platinum and reached number one in the Swiss charts. Combining folk and rock elements together, 77 Bombay Street never fail to light up an arena and get the whole crowd on their feet!
Jonathan: While we may still be waiting for Turkey to return to Eurovision, one artist who should definitely head to the contest once they eventually do so is Simge. The dance-pop singer broke through in 2015 with the single “Miş Miş”. Since then, she’s gone on to become one of the top artists in the country, with five top-five charting singles, hundreds of millions of YouTube views and being the recipient of numerous awards. In 2018, Simge released her critically-acclaimed debut album Ben Bazen (I Sometimes) and was the second-most-streamed female artist of the year in Turkey. The star has even previously said she’d love to represent her home country at Eurovision, and with a song in Turkish. If Turkey wants to make an impact upon their return to Eurovision, Simge would be a great candidate for the task.
Ukraine: Vremya i Steklo
Renske: Mix a cheeky girl with a sweet voice and a laid-back guy who can rap. After that, add a catchy tune with beats and simple yet memorable lyrics. In Ukraine, this recipe has created one of the most successful groups of the past few years: Vremya i Steklo. In 2015, the duo got their big breakthrough after the cleverly-edited video for “Imya 505” attracted lots of attention. Since then, they’ve become ones to watch in the Russian-language pop industry. Their songs easily make it to the top of the charts throughout the whole region. Despite their success in Moscow, they have not forgotten their roots and were previously coaches on Ukraine’s answer to The Voice Kids. In early 2019, Vremya i Steklo also released their first song in Ukrainian, “Dym”. [Note this pick was made before the new Vidbir rules came out].
United Kingdom: Florence + The Machine
Jonathan: Authenticity wins the day at Eurovision nowadays. Regardless of musical genre, Duncan Laurence, Netta, Salvador Sobral, Jamala and more have all stayed true to themselves, and it’s that which resonates with audiences at home. For the UK to get back on top of the leaderboard, it needs a high-quality song written by an artist who has an emotional connection with the lyrics/melody and is then capable of delivering a stellar live performance that transfers those emotions to the viewing audience. Not too much to ask for…
The UK have had individual pieces of the puzzle in recent years (see 2014 and 2017). But, one act that ticks all the boxes is Florence + The Machine. Headed by vocalist Florence Welch, the indie-rock band have sold millions of records worldwide over the past ten years. Welch has writing credits on 99% of the tracks featured on their four chart-topping albums, and puts her soul into each song. Beyond that, the group are known for delivering spectacular live performances that connect with the audiences in front of them (not to mention Welch’s luscious vocals). If all the pieces were to finally fit together, Florence + The Machine could do magic for the UK at Eurovision.
What do you think of our choices? Who would you choose? Let us know in the comments.
CHECK OUT OUR PREVIOUS WEDNESDAY WISHLISTS.