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 Moldova and working through to Russia.
Eurovision 2021 Wishlist (Part Four)
Lucy: Moldova has some incredible modern artists. And it would be incredible to see something different from them, such as the pop/EDM producer Vanotek. Born in Ungheni, Moldova, he moved to Romania to study music at Octav Băncilă Art School. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength, earning himself an MTV European Music Award nomination in 2016 and chart success in Romania and Russia. He was also a favourite in Romania’s Selecția Națională 2016, finsishing second behind Ovidiu Anton. One of his more recent successes is “Love Is Gone”. It hit number 12 in Russia — a massive achievement! I’d love to see him go to Eurovision Darude-style, featuring another act (maybe regular collaborator Minelli).
Monaco: David Zincke
Edd: In the case of a Monegasque Eurovision return, David Zincke offers both quality and creativity. He originally hails from the UK, but now lives in the French Riviera and spends extensive time in the Principality with his band The Sons of Guns. He and the group specialise in folky blues numbers, and have been featured by BBC music. They also played with Joss Stone on the Monaco stop of her worldwide tour. You could expect a stripped back but beautiful production at Eurovision, which could just lead to a Common Linnets style success.
Mario: Montenegro has given us space suits, braids, pyros, Balkan ballads and more. Another act who might give us something to remember is Senidah. This Slovenian born and based R&B-rap star was born to Montenegrin parents. She was discovered thanks to her sister who uploaded a video of her to YouTube. She soon joined the band Muff. They tried to represent Slovenia at Eurovision 2014 with “Let Me Be (Myself)”. Senidah worked on her material simultaneously. She had a massive hit in 2018 with “Slađana”. It has over 52 million YouTube views and has spent 124 weeks in the charts. As a testament to her pan-Balkan fame, she won the prestiguous ex-Yu MAC awards in 2019 and 2020 in three categories – authenticity, trap number of the year for “Misici” and hip-hop rap number for “Slađana”.
Pablo: If Morocco wanted the coolest return on the market, they’d look to Malca, a young French-Moroccan singer. He describes himself in three words: pop, Arab, futuristic. His songs have a chilled quality and his voice harks of some retro influences, like Phil Colins. But that’s all brought to the 21st century with amazing production flavored with Moroccan spice. And we all know pop and ethnic are an explosive mix in the Eurovision stage. Combine that with the synth and disco trend and Morocco would have itself a winning package.
Esma: Naaz is a 22-year-old singer, songwriter and producer from Rotterdam with Kurdish roots. Her unique voice immediately grabs your attention. Naaz’s debut EP Bits of Naaz’ enjoyed massive success with millions of streams on streaming platforms. Her music is minimalist pop made with natural sounds supplemented by her beautiful vocals. Naaz is seen as a promising talent by many, and even Duncan Laurence named her as one of his favourites!
Norway: Emily Blue
Åri: It recently came to my attention that Emily Blue, easily my favourite musician nowadays, is Norwegian-American. And, honestly, that’s amazing — because I can’t think of anyone more suited for Eurovision. She’s an LGBT artist, an absolute live performance beast, she’s drop-dead gorgeous, and her ever-changing genre-defying music would totally speak to all sub-fandoms. She’s made of the same material as Eurovision winners. Norway will select its representative for Eurovision 2021 via Melodi Grand Prix (whose rules doesn’t specify that the artist has to be presently living in Norway), and Emily could be a fantastic addition to the line-up. Her musical brilliance is hard to describe with words. She hasn’t fully had her breakthrough yet, perhaps a live performance in front of 200 million people would help?
Tom: Margaret was a huge favourite in Poland’s Krajowe Eliminacje 2016 with “Cool Me Down”. Unfortunately for her, Michał Szpak took the Polish ticket. The urban-pop singer then took part in Sweden’s Melodifestivalen twice. In 2018, the 29-year-old succeeded in getting to the Melfest final, finishing seventh place with “In My Cabana”. Her second attempt, “Tempo”, wasn’t quite as successful. However, Margaret has since returned to her roots. Her fourth album Gaja Hornby is entirely in Polish. It is even nominated to win a Fryderyk award – the Polish Grammys — for best pop album.
Oliver A: The Portuguese renaissance has been kind to us. The country consistently delivers quality, introducing Eurovision fans to new, young home-grown talent. If you want more of this, look no further than Murta. In 2016, Murta’s raspy vocals and soulful energies helped him reach the final of The Voice Portugal, where he was eventually named runner up. Every track from his debut album D’art vida sounds like it could win Festival da Canção by a landslide. But Portugal would do especially well to send something like “Porquê”. It’s a mid-tempo, soul hip-hop fusion track, featuring trap beats and some gorgeous vocal flourishes with those moody undertones that tend to do very well at Eurovision – think Mahmood, Kristian Kostov and Duncan Laurence. This type of music is also very radio-friendly and would likely score well with both the juries and televote.
Romania: Dirty Shirt
Barnabas: Dirty Shirt is an eight-piece band hailing from Maramures, Transylvania. They label their musical style as “Crossover Folkcore Metal”. This means that their sound cultivates elements from various genres, including Romanian folklore, alternative metal, funk, ska and electro. Active since 1995, the group is a well known act on the European metal scene, performing at the gigantic Wacken Open Air festival on several occasions. They are also multilingual with songs in English, Romanian, French, Hungarian and Serbian. With their energetic live shows and one of a kind sound, Dirty Shirt would definitely be one of the boldest choices seen from Romania since “Yodel It!”. The act would definitely stand out!
Katie: Mother Russia: the country that gave us Philipp Kirorov, Sergey Lazarev and Dima Bilan (can we count Alexander Lemtov too?). I would love to see an up-and-coming Russian male take to the Eurovision stage once more, though maybe not on an ice rink. R&B artist Andro’s style may not be described as typical Eurovision music, but Russia has always been a country unafraid to push boundaries, and has usually been successful doing so! Andro is behind the popular track “X.O”, a collaboration with Kazakh artist The Limba. Imagine a laid back track by The Weeknd but make it Russian. Chances are you might have heard it, as it has already racked up 30 million views on YouTube and has been making waves on TikTok.
What do you think of our choices? Who would you choose? Let us know in the comments.