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 Hungary and working through to Malta.
Eurovision 2021 Wishlist (Part Three)
Barnabas: Nguyễn Thanh Hiền, known simply as Hien, is a Hungarian singer-songwriter of Vietnamese descent born in Budapest. She first entered the spotlight during the 2008 season of the TV talent show Megasztár, when she was only 14 years old. She later appeared in A Dal 2014. Since then, she’s worked on evolving her sound and musical style, graduating from the famous Berklee College of Music last year. Her newest single “Boy” cultivates an alternative/indie-pop sound, accompanied by a music video which showcases the relationship between two men in Hanoi, spreading a message of inclusive love.
Sebastian: This year has been big for Iceland with plenty of cookies framing both its entry into Eurovision in 2020, as well as its portrayal from Will Ferrell’s Netflix film. If there’s anything Iceland can do to top the cooky, is to make it classy. Hjaltalín fit that bill to a tee. A stalwart of the Icelandic music scene, their reinvention in “Baronesse” creates something ethereal and beautiful out of something just a little bit out there. Their old back catalogue is just as beautiful and considered, but their most recent release very much feels like a rebirth of their sound – which hopefully, one day, can be shared on the Eurovision stage.
Padraig: She was briefly the focus of fan speculation earlier this year before Lesley Roy was selected for Rotterdam. And while Soulé politely shut down the chatter at the time, she’d be a great future pick for Ireland. Her catchy R&B pop would be something completely new for the Emerald Isle, and it would arguably be the country’s most contemporary sound for years. Soulé has a number of singles to her name, but “Love Tonight” is her biggest hit. It gained significant radio play and was the biggest-selling song by an Irish female artist in 2019. More recently, she was part of the Irish Women In Harmony collective which topped the Irish homegrown chart with their charity cover of The Cranberries’ “Dreams”.
Israel: Lilly Wood and the Prick
Åri: If this name sounds vaguely familiar to you, it’s because of one thing. The Robin Schultz remix of this Paris-based Israeli-French duo’s 2010 song “Prayer In C” became insanely popular in 2014, hitting #1 in 21 European countries. However, although widely considered a one-hit-wonder, this duo has a lot more to offer. Sonically somewhere between Belarus’ NAVIBAND and Belgium’s Blanche, this duo would certainly resonate with a specific Eurofan niche. This April, the duo released their new and beautiful indie folk track from quarantine – their first new material since 2016. I let myself take that as a hint that we’ve not heard the last from them. Although the duo is mostly considered French and not so much Israeli, France has sent Amir, an Israeli-based singer, in 2016, while Israel sent the French-born Nadav Guedj in 2015. So, maybe it’s possible?
Italy: Takagi & Ketra
Jonathan: One of the reasons the Italian music scene has such prowess is due to its foundation of talented songwriters and music producers. So say hello to Takagi & Ketra – that’s Alessandro Merli (Takagi) and Fabio Clemente (Ketra). This duo of music producers are behind some of Italy’s biggest contemporary hits (Baby K and Giusy Ferreri’s “Roma-Bangkok”, J-AX and Fedez’s “Italiana”, Elodie and Marracash’s “Margarita” to name a few). They even have Sanremo winning form – the first song they produced together, Rocco Hunt’s “Nu juorno buono”, won the new artist’s section in 2014. As of 2017, Takagi & Ketra have also been getting their names on the artist line. Their singles “Amore e capoeira” (feat. Giusy Ferreri & Sean Kingston) and “Jambo” (feat. Giusy Ferreri & OMI) both hit #1 – the former was the biggest selling song of 2018 in Italy. Combine the magic touch of Takagi & Ketra with the vocal talents of one of Italy’s top artists and the Mediterranean country would not only be onto a contender for Eurovision victory but also a bona fide international mega-hit!
Oliver: Latvia loves to give us variety at Eurovision. In the past, it’s done very well with pop songs featuring an out-of-the-box twist. However, staging sometimes lets it down. Astro’n’out could solve this. The Latvian music scene is a vibrant place for alternative indie artists, but we’re yet to see something like that make its way to the Eurovision stage. Astro’n’out would be a great choice to showcase the best of homegrown Latvian talent, and their new-wave vintage fusion group aesthetic could translate very well on stage. Their most recent album “Multivitaminu Multipaka” is a perfect blend of classic indie and experimental dream-pop. A track like “Dejot trakak” featuring simple singalong melodies and catchy guitar hooks would get them a respectable result at Eurovision.
Lithuania: Jessica Shy
Lukas: There are a lot of new rising stars in the Lithuanian music industry. And one promising name which could do very well at Eurovision is Džesika Šyvokaitė, aka. Jessica Shy. Her stage name might be “Shy”, but she anything but. She rocks an avant-garde look in her newest music video “Rožė” (Rose). Jessica is not only a singer, she also writes her own songs. She could bring the Lithuanian tongue back to Eurovision after a long break, show that this nation can also produce amazing native language songs.
Robyn: The young Luxembourgish performer EDSUN brings a super cool alternative R&B flavour to the Grand Duchy. Since 2015, he’s released two EPs and a number of singles, many of which have a duration hovering around the three-minute mark. But as well as a singer, he’s also a dancer, and indeed brings a sense of full theatricality to his performances — like a Luxembourgish Loïc Nottet. Just check out how he transformed a TEDx stage in a recent performance. EDSUN’s all-round talent is something that would perfectly suit the Eurovision stage if/when Luxembourg ever stages its great comeback.
North Macedonia: FJØRA
Pablo: A large slew of Eurovision alums have hailed from the Great White North, and another “North” has a great option to consider. FJØRA, the stage name of Alexandra Petkovski, is a young but quickly rising Canadian-Macedonian talent with a penchant for strong, epic songs and collaborations; a genre that would work extreme wonders and cause an impact in just under three minutes. With a resume of work used extensively in commercials and trailers, like the trailer for season three of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, this epic songstress sure can be the key for a brilliant future for North Macedonia.
Malta: Veronica Rotin
Antranig: Veronica may be familiar to Junior Eurovision fans. She sang at Junior Eurovision 2014 as part of the interval act at the young age of nine. Since that appearance, she has competed to represent the country at Junior Eurovision twice, as well as releasing a studio album consisting of covers of numerous huge hits, from artists such as Elton John, Jessie J and Christina Aguilera. Veronica is now 16 years of age and Junior Eurovision is in her rearview mirror, becoming eligible to participate in the adult version of the competition. Malta has relied on younger artists in recent years, with Michela Pace and Destiny Chukunyere both being selected as teenagers. Veronica could be the island nation’s logical next step at Eurovision.
What do you think of our choices? Who would you choose? Let us know in the comments.