New Wave has been one of the most successful Eastern European platforms for fostering new musical talent over the past couple of decades. In 2021, New Wave is set to return after the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the 2020 contest. The line-up is set to include Eurovision 2016 star Samra and previous national final participants Alfie Arcuri and Jorge Gonzalez.
Started in 2002, the competition’s founders Igor Krutoy and Raimonds Pauls hoped to give young musical performers a new chance to establish themselves after the social and economic turmoil of the 1990s lead to a negative impact on Russian music. Among its alumni are Eurovision stars Dima Bilan, Polina Gagarina, Jamala, Tina Karol and DoReDos.
While most televised music contests focus on the contestants for a number of weeks and then send them into oblivion, New Wave rather fosters the connection between talent and the actual music industry. Most of the contestants are talent show veterans who seek to become household names. For one week in Sochi in August, these music hopefuls with commercial potential are dropped in a pool with the region’s most finest stars.
This year, the pool of contestants includes Azerbaijan’s Eurovision 2016 star Samra. Two past national final contestants have also made the cut. Eurovision – Australia Decides 2019 alum Alfie Arcuri is set to compete; as is Jorge Gonzalez, who is best known to Eurovision fans for his participation in Spain’s Eurovision 2014 selection Mira quién va a Eurovisión.
Mirud tells fans he is unable to participate
Festivali i Këngës 59 participant Mirud had hoped to participate in the music competition too this year. A while ago, he excitingly told his fans that he would go to Moscow for the auditions of the contest. However, due to the ongoing pandemic and the worldwide travel restrictions, the American-Albanian singer cannot leave the United States to go to Russia to participate in New Wave 2021. On Twitter, he wrote:
“A lot of you have been asking why my name is not on the list of finalists at New Wave 2021 – There is nothing to be concerned about and no disqualification happened. I was supposed to be in the finale and we even shot things for it. However, after a few meetings with them, we have decided that I will participate in New Wave 2022 instead. I was supposed to be in Russia this week. Being a US citizen, there’s restrictions for me to travel to Russia and have to go through the Russian embassy to obtain entry permit. I couldn’t leave the US to travel to Russia due to the fact that US citizens need visas to enter Russia. Even though I applied for the visa, it’s still in process and due to Covid, they have a lot of delays and I wasn’t able to acquire one on time.”
To all of you asking, here’s what happened with my participation at New Wave 2021: pic.twitter.com/CA8o3rvG8M
— MIRUD (@MIRUDOFFICIAL) April 23, 2021
Who will participate in New Wave 2021?
Fourteen different acts will participate in this year’s New Wave. Among them are three groups, one duo and eleven solo artists.
- Saro Gevorgyan (Armenia)
- Alfie Arcuri (Australia)
- Samra Rəhimli (Azerbaijan)
- CHEICHAI (Belarus)
- Denitsa Karaslavova (Bulgaria)
- Natia Rigvavaа (Georgia)
- Jorge Gonzalez (Spain)
- Fabio Curto (Italy)
- Mezzo (Kazakhstan)
- Laura & Mark (Netherlands)
- Edita Links (Serbia)
- Sevil (Russia)
- RINKEVICH (Russia)
- Maskim Subachev (Russia)
What will New Wave 2021 look like?
For 2021, New Wave runs from 19 to 25 August in Sochi. Eurovision stars Natalia Gordienko, Philipp Kirkorov, Sergey Lazarev, Polina Gagarina, LOBODA, Ani Lorak, Dima Bilan and Alexey Vorobyov are set to appear in the different evenings. This year, the evening of 20 August is completely dedicated to the work of Dima Bilan.
New Wave is not a singing or songwriting contest. Rather, the contestants show their artistry in various themed evenings alongside the big regional stars. A star-studded jury awards the acts points ranging from 8 to 11 on the basis of their enjoyment of the performance and the potential of the act. After all the evenings have come to an end, the act with the most points is crowned the winner.
However, the winner does not always take it all at New Wave. Although all evenings are equal in terms of weight, the last evening is widely regarded as the most important. In this evening, the acts present an original composition. Among the original songs that have won the round are Polina Gagarina’s “Kolybel’naya” and IOWA’s “Mama”, which both became big hits in Russia.
Great opportunities do arise from the contest. In 2017, Moldovan group DoReDos quickly became an audience favourite, also catching the attention of jury member Philipp Kirkorov. After the group won the contest, the Russian King of Pop proposed the group would go to Eurovision. The rest is history.
Are you going to watch New Wave this year? Do you think Samra, Alfie Arcuri and Jorge Gonzalez will do well? Let us know in the comments below!