It’s that time of year again when we ponder and dream about which artists would be fantastic picks for their countries at Eurovision. And while the 2020 off-season is different than all the ones that have come before, we’re still running our annual “Wednesday Wishlist” series.
Of course, many broadcasters have already selected their 2021 representatives, so consider these lists more as a chance to discover new music rather than 2021 hopes — we’re not proposing for any singers to be replaced.
Who knows, perhaps some of the wishlist names will have a free schedule come 2022?
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.
Eurovision 2021 Wishlist (Part Two)
Croatia: Marko Kutlić
Antony: Singer-songwriter Marko Kutlić is a rising star within Croatia’s music industry. He started off in 2014 as the lead singer of the band Pravile Igre. Their debut single “Nebo na mojoj strani” topped the local charts. However, Kutlić left the band in 2017 to focus on his solo career. With that, he released an album in late 2019 entitled “U kapi tvoje ljubavi”. In 2020, he participated in the annual Zagrebački Festival. He came first with “Samo nek’ ona sretna je”, which also reached number one in the charts. Marko’s raspy voice would be a nice addition to the contest with a pop-rock ballad.
Cyprus: Charis Savva
Oliver A: Cyprus well and truly seems to have found its Eurovision formula — powerful female vocals and stunning choreography. And that’s exactly what Charis Savva serves. Charis is no stranger to the Eurovision scene. As part of a duo with Elena Mannouri, she previously represented Cyprus at Junior Eurovision 2008 with “Gioupi Gia!”. She later appeared in the Cypriot selection show for Eurovision 2015, performing the power ballad “Deila den agapo” with Nearchos Evangelou. Since then, her style has evolved dramatically. “Kryfto” is a summer pop banger with thumping beats, punchy riffs, and just a hint of that Mediterranean flair that has proven very popular with voters. I can very clearly imagine this at Eurovision with some intense hairography, outfit reveals, and enough pyrotechnics to set the stage en fuego!
Czech Republic: Jordan Haj
Padraig: He’s a singer-songwriter who’s been part of the Czech Republic’s music scene for several years. But it was only in 2020 that Jordan Haj released his first solo single — “The End Of The World”. The track became an instant hit, getting heavy traction on radio and topping airplay charts. But success is nothing new to Jordan, he’s collaborated on big songs with other artists, including Emma Smetana — his partner and mother of his daughter. Smetana herself is a previous Wednesday Wishlist pick of ours, and together the pair have released “Lost And Found” and “No Fire”.
Jordi: Christina Mekdes Vinholt Pedersen — known as Mekdes — was born in Ethiopia, but is based in Kolding, Denmark. She’s her own producer and songwriter and works from her self-made home studio. Mekdes shines through her music, reflecting her very own personality and soul on singles like “Out of Here” and “Lose a Minute”. Inspired by a great artistic scene that includes Mahalia, Kehlani and Joja Smith, Mekdes grabbed the attention of many after winning the Danish festival Smukfest 2019’s Live Camp. The 21-year-old has just presented her most personal song — “In Favour of You”. It focuses on the importance of expressing love, especially in tough times like today. Her soulful style would give Denmark a fresh and distinctive flavour at Eurovision, different from its usual diet of Scandinavian pop.
Lukas: Eesti Laul might be starting to lose its spark, but there are a lot of new and promising singers to be found in Estonia. And Beatrice is one of them. This 16-year-old just started her music career but has already put out two catchy songs and people are loving them on YouTube. She knows how to move and could be the fresh air which Estonia needs. With a great upbeat song she could be the new Getter Jaani at Eurovision who Beatrice herself sees as a huge inspiration. She might be young, but we’ve seen plenty of up-and-coming artists slaying on the Eurovision stage. Beatrice could be one of them.
Tom: Finland has struggled recently. In fact, in the last five years, Suomi has only made it to Saturday night once with Saara Alto’s “Monsters”. Finland needs to do something different, something out of the box. Enter JVG. The Helsinki based rap duo, made up of Jare Joakim Brand and Ville Galle, would be an ideal choice to open some eyes and turn some heads. The duo originally became famous for their unique and comical sports-themed songs, where they rapped about ice hockey, soccer, doping and Finnish sportspeople. Now, they have five number one albums, 11 number one singles and are three-time winners of the MTV EMA for Best Finnish Act. Plus, they are massively popular — 700,000 people tuned in to their virtual gig during lockdown!
France: Kendji Girac
Padraig: He burst onto the scene upon winning the third season of France’s The Voice in 2015. And Kendji Girac has not looked back since. The artist of Catalan Gitano descent immediately cemented his status as one of France’s biggest popstars with the massive singles “Color Gitano” and “Andalouse”. In the interim, he’s racked up numerous smash hits, seven of which have passed 100 million views on YouTube. On top of that he’s released three chart-topping albums and won multiple awards. He’s never ruled out the possibility of Eurovision — addressing the question in both 2015 and 2018.
Åri: My zany experimental indie wishes aren’t usually well-received, but when it comes to Georgia, this might even be a tone down from its craziness in recent years. After self-labelled ethno-jazz in 2018, nationalistic hard rock in 2019, and whatever 2020 was, Mgzavrebi‘s unique harmonic indie-folk style could be an interesting path to go down. And if this doesn’t finally bring Georgia back to the grand final, nothing will. I personally love it when Georgia sings in their native language, being one of the few who stan its 2019 entry. I feel like a Georgian-language three-minute indie rock masterpiece will resonate with the European crowd. Mgzavrebi have more up-beat tracks, some artistic symphonic ones, but below is what I would like to see them go for in Eurovision, in an ideal world.
Germany: Sarah Connor
Calvin: Germany rarely goes for big names. And when it does, there’s always the potential for a glorious disaster. However, after 13 consecutive attempts with an English song, why not return to German? In combination with one of the biggest German acts of this century — Sarah Connor. Connor is responsible for several hits in the early 2000s on German radio and beyond (like this, or this, or maybe this). Her songs have reached the top 20 in Australia, UK and the Netherlands. In 2015, she took a risk and released her first German album — her bestselling album so far. If there’s a chance for successful participation in German, Sarah Connor is amongst the most promising candidates. It may seem unlikely for this to happen, as Germany already revealed its selection method, but Sarah Connor would be an enrichment to the Eurovision family. Connections to Eurovision exist. She was part of the German jury in 2016 and performed on multiple occasions during the German pre-show.
Greece: Vasiliki Ntanta
Esma: Greece was one of the most successful countries in the early years of the 21st century. However, the once-powerful competitor has struggled to deliver outstanding results recently. One singer who could change that and bring Eurovision back to Greece is Vasiliki Ntanta. This Greek Goddess possesses a euphonic voice and incredible dance moves. Also, she has worked with big names from the Greek music industry like Notis Sfakianakis and Christos Holidis. Vasiliki Ntanta is known for Mediterranean bops such as “Mazi Tis”, “Den Me Richneis Tora Pia” and her most recent release “Ola Ta Nai”.
What do you think of our choices? Who would you choose? Let us know in the comments.