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 so, we’re back with our annual “Wednesday Wishlist” series. Over the seven Wednesday Wishlist editions we have done to date, our wishes were granted a total of 17 times. Will any more be granted in 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 Albania and working through to Bulgaria.
Eurovision 2022 Wishlist (Part One)
Albania: Alban Ramosaj
Erdi: Alban Ramosaj is a Dutch-Albanian singer, songwriter and model from Kosovo. He comes from a musical family — his sister Beatrix Ramosaj and his aunt Alberie Hadergjonaj are also singers. Eurovision fans may remember Alberie from her past Festivali i Këngës appearances. Alban began his career on X Factor Albania and The Voice of Albania. However, being crowned the winner of the 22nd edition of Kenga Magjike with “Thikat e mia” (My Knives) is definitely among his biggest achievements to date. Alban is a perfect candidate to represent Albania at Eurovision, even telling wiwibloggs in a recent interview that he is quite interested in being part of the show.
Luis: There’s been talk of Andorra’s return for a good while now. And in the year after Måneskin and Blind Channel, what would make a better choice than the country’s most established metal band? Persefone have been around for over 15 years, playing all over Europe — from Amsterdam to London. They haven’t released music in a while, but they did recently release a compilation CD. Rocking the house down as their country’s Eurovision comeback act would be a great way to celebrate.
Armenia: Garik & Sona
Jonathan: Armenia was naturally missed at Eurovision 2021, and it would be great to see the country come back with a bang in 2022. One act that could do that is Garik & Sona, a duo comprised of musician Garik Papoyan and singer Sona Rubenyan. Garik rose to prominence as a stand-up comedian on TV shows alongside Armenia’s Eurovision 2014 star Aram MP3, but he has also been involved with music and was a judge on Hay Superstar (the Armenian version of Pop Idol) and X Factor Armenia. Meanwhile, Sona became a household name after winning the fifth season of Hay Superstar in 2011; she subsequently participated in New Wave 2014, picking up the Audience Choice Award. They also both have small Eurovision connections – Garik wrote the lyrics for Armenia’s 2014 and 2019 entries, while Sona was a part of Armenia’s jury in 2019 (her favourite in the final was Italy). The pair began collaborating in 2016 and have gone on to huge success, with their song “Lusin” being named The Hit of The Year at the Armenian Swallow Music Awards in 2018. Whilst that was a slower and more emotional track, they’ve also achieved acclaim for more dynamic songs with a mixture of rock and folk influences – see “Esor Urbat e”, “Mayro”, “Hamayak” and “Nino”. Måneskin and Go_A showed that these genres are very much still strong choices for Eurovision. Garik & Sona could give us something even more exciting by combining them together and putting Armenia firmly back on the Eurovision map.
Australia: Sneaky Sound System
Sebastian: Those who watched Montaigne’s performance of “Technicolour” at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras earlier this year, may have stayed on to watch a surprise, yet legendary performance by Connie Mitchell from iconic EDM duo Sneaky Sound System.Their 2007 radio hit “UFO” has had an incredible resurgence among a new generation of dancefloor hitters, and they have, ever since, been a stalwart on the club scene with recent hits like “We Belong” and “Can’t Help the Way I Feel”. Their singer, the visually eclectic Connie Mitchell, has long contributed vocally to worldwide superstars, including lending her vocals to four tracks on Kanye West’s Grammy-winning album Graduation. She also has features with Jay-Z, Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg. She’s a star on the Australian club scene, and it’s only fair to let Sneaky’s star shine on the European stage (and Euroclub).
Patrick: Austria might be in a slump, but there are many artists that can bring them out of it. AVEC has been rumbling in the music scene since 2015. Her self-written song “Granny”, which dealt with her grandma suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was used in a German TV commercial. After that came her debut album What If We Never Forget. It charted instantly. AVEC is not a flashy artist. She lets her emotions speak through her folk-pop music while always looking striking. Award show nominations turned into victories and chart positions turned into a gold certification for her song “Under Water”. Her latest single “I Don’t Pray” is an instant earworm that was actually not supposed to be released. It talks about the tragic death of her uncle which she thought was too personal. This artist uses her heart and soul to create intimate but strong music that is ready for that big stage.
Oliver: In 2021, Efendi’s “Mata Hari” made history as the first-ever Azerbaijani Eurovision entry to contain lyrics in the nation’s native language. Now, it’s time to continue the trend and celebrate the Azeri language in its full glory. Introducing Röya. She’s a Baku-born superstar with a music career spanning more than 20 years. In her time, she’s explored traditional Azerbaijani folk music, pop music, orchestral sounds and hip-hop and trap beats. Truly, her iconic deep and sultry alto voice is suited to just about any genre. Röya’s May 2021 release “Qəribə Dünya” (Strange World) is the latest addition to her eclectic library of sounds, fusing rock elements with swing-jazz pop. It leans towards the dark pop flavours that Eurovision fans favour these days, with the added benefit of its lyrics being wholly in Azeri. If the diva ever took on the song contest summit, Röya’s would certainly be the name on everybody’s lips.
Lauren: Due to recent events, seeing Belarus on the Eurovision stage anytime soon seems unlikely. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t dream. If a Belarusian broadcaster is ever eligible to submit an entry to the contest, Berlin-based indietronica musician Mustelide would be an intriguing and very fun choice. The musical style of Belarusian-born Mustelide, whose real name is Natallia Kunitskaya, would fit right in an ideal contest inspired by Måneskin’s victory. She’s out of the box, lively, young, and true to herself. The likes of Naviband and VAL were very creative choices, and if Belarus somehow make their way to the contest during better days for the country, I trust them to continue that line of great musicians.
Belgium: Ibe Wuyts
Lucy: Belgium made it back into a Eurovision final in 2021 for the first time since 2017, so will be keen to keep the success going in the years ahead. This is where Ibe Wuyts comes in. Ibe won The Voice van Vlaanderan in 2019, with his almost Lewis Capaldi-esque tones. He has soul, but can also pull of a more uptempo ballad like “Dark Maze” which blends together various popular styles in music currently. Belgium thrives with classy pop at Eurovision. Ibe can perform live with his stunning voice, and he’s unnerved by performing on live TV. It would be great to see this young talent on the song contest stage.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Božo Vrećo
Pablo: While Bosnia and Herzegovina still has issues with its broadcaster, it doesn’t lack talent. With uniqueness as a favourite quality in acts, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would stand out as much as Božo Vrećo. This Bosnian powerhouse is a walking statement: Traditional meets futuristic, the chants of the East meets the beats of the West, and all of this positively dripping in edgy androgyny. Božo has the potential to be up to the levels of Mata Hari and Željko Joksimović when it comes to powerfully pure Balkan power.
Bulgaria: Eva Parmakova
Calvin: Since its comeback, Bulgaria has always found success with mainstream beats and young but experienced performers. Never change a winning team. However, add a twist for the first fully Bulgarian song since 2013. Eva Parmakova is the perfect person to combine these attributes to yet another success story for Bulgaria. She rose to fame in 2017 as a participant on X Factor Bulgaria. What followed were multiple hits both as a solo artist and together with other famous Bulgarian artists like Pavell & Venci Venc’. Her connection with Virginia Records, one of the most influential labels in Bulgaria, shows her potential to expand her career beyond the national scene. And music runs through her blood as her grandfather was the opera singer Lubomir Bodurov. Her songs create a happy mood, are extremely summer-friendly and invite you to move your body. As she sings in both English and Bulgarian, there is a wide spectrum of directions she may go, but one thing’s for sure: Eva Parmakova would bring the party with her.
What do you think of our choices? Who would you choose? Let us know in the comments.