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 Croatia and working through to Greece.
Eurovision 2022 Wishlist (Part Two)
Croatia: Meri Andraković
Antony: Meri is one of the newest artists within the Croatian music scene, rising to prominence on the talent show Zvjezdice. At only 21 years of age, she has already released a few singles, which have charted, and an album. Meri is also studying at The Academy of Arts and Culture at the University of Osijek where she aspires to be an actress. Her latest single, “Bilo Je Dobro” is proving to be a summer hit within Croatia, reaching the top ten in the local music charts.
Cyprus: Ziynet Sali
Edd: In a time when many countries seem to be taking steps backwards politically, everyone could benefit from a message of unity. And what better way to build bridges than to have Cyprus – who have only ever been represented by Greek-Cypriot artists – send a Turkish-Cypriot from Northern Cyprus? To fit this role there’s one woman that crushes all competition: the one and only Ziynet Sali. Despite her career spanning two decades, Ziynet still drops out like it’s hot, giving us banger after banger after banger. And having songs with over 100 million views on YouTube, who could say no to that delicious Turkish diaspora vote?
Czech Republic: Viktor Sheen
Oliver: Save for one less-than-fabulous result in 2021, there is real momentum with the Czech Republic at Eurovision. Prague is bustling with a huge talent pool of artists just waiting for a shot to take their music worldwide. And with the right song, Kazakhstan-born rapper Viktor Sheen could be the next to do it. The 27-year-old is a music machine. He’s already got six albums under his belt, each documenting the evolution of his signature musical style. Sheen’s most successful single “Až na měsíc” — a collaboration with fellow Czech musicians Calin, Hasan, Nik Tendo and Ivanoff — has racked up 26.5 million views on YouTube at the time of writing. It’s a gritty, part trap, part synth-pop rap track — a formula that has done wonders for the likes of US-based rapper Post Malone and Sanremo 2021 runner-up Fedez. Elsewhere, Sheen’s solo material is extremely raw and emotional. Check out his 2020 album Barvy. It’s intense, and perhaps rather explicit for Eurovision. But the same was once said about Måneskin.
Denmark: Lord Siva
Jordi: Brian Sivabalan – known as Lord Siva – is an Aalborg based hip-hop and R&B artist with Sri Lankan roots. He’s long recognized as one of the strongest names within the Danish music scene. He possesses a great stage presence and a distinguishable voice charged with lots of truth and versatility. Lord Siva proudly holds a nomination as Danish Artist of the Year 2020 and a number one hit on Spotify’s Top 50 Denmark with his song “Paris” – with which he collaborated with Danish producer Vera in 2019. Along with his song “Room for Love”, the success catapulted him into fame. He now has three studio albums and successful collaborations such as “Nobody’s Lover” with Clara (a.k.a 2019 New Danish Artist of the Year). “Solhverv (Solstice)” is one of his most recent releases, recognised as a summer hit, it demonstrates his flexibility with genre and his enthusiasm for recreating old sounds for new audiences. “Solhverv” is Lord Siva’s remix of Humørekspressen’s original version, now turned into a timeless 80s retro track that is irresistible from start to finish. The song has almost 19 million streams on Spotify and has featured on the Danish’s Apple’s Top Songs of 2020. Fyr & Flamme might have not succeeded in Eurovision, but Lord Siva is here to prove that he can deliver: going retro or going hip-hop.
Estonia: I Wear* Experiment
Lauren: Mixing elements of synth-pop, soul and rock, Eesti Laul 2016 alumni I Wear* Experiment offer a sound beyond what we’re used to hearing at Eurovision. And if a hard rock song managed to win the contest this year, countries should feel freer sending just that next year. Last month, the trio released “Hunger”, their first single in over a year, and its powerful yet soothing sound feels like it would fit right in at Eurovision 2022. Perhaps their 2016 entry “Patience”, which placed fifth in the national selection, was just ahead of its time.
Finland: Antti Tuisku
Katie: UMK 2021 proved to be a triumph as Finland achieved its best result at Eurovision since Lordi took the title home in 2006. So, could the man who hosted the show, Antti Tuisku, be the one to score Finland its second Eurovision victory in 2022? Antti Tuisku is a household name in Finland, with a career spanning almost a decade and over 300,000 record sales under his belt. The pandemic hasn’t slowed him down either, as Antti released his EP Master Workout in 2021, which hit the top spot on the Finnish charts. His latest single from the EP, “Kipee”, is an example of the electro-pop perfection with an atmospheric chorus that could land Finland firmly on the left-hand side of the scoreboard. Furthermore, as Eurovision 2021 saw three non-English songs take the podium positions, 2022 could be the year that Antti brings Finnish-language diva realness to Italy.
France: Heuss L’enfoiré
Jonathan: I’m going to throw a slight curveball compared to the usual French wishlist entries. Whilst France can do no wrong with a classic chanson or a catchy pop song, in reality, the country’s contemporary music industry is dominated by much more urban sounds – hip hop, rap, R&B, trap, afrobeat – and often from artists who have roots in former French colonies. Step forward Heuss L’enfoiré, a rapper of Algerian descent who has rocketed onto the scene in recent years. Whilst rap/R&B has had mixed results at Eurovision, Heuss L’enfoiré often brings in a house/dance vibe to his music that would help deliver an engaging performance and keep the party spirit of the contest. See for instance, “Mal à la tête”, “Khapta”, “Moulaga”, “Aristocrate” and “Ne reviens pas” – his megahit with Gradur that spent nine weeks at the top of the French singles chart. As Duncan Laurence said at Eurovision France, c’est vous qui décidez, “Eurovision needs an urban revolution”. The modern multi-cultural France, and Heuss L’enfoiré in particular, has the ingredients to deliver just that.
Georgia: Nutsa Buzaladze
Twenty-four-year-old Nutsa is no stranger to talent shows. She won New Wave in 2014, took part on Georgian Dancing With The Stars and competed on The Voice of Turkey. However, Eurovision fans will probably know her best for finishing second in Georgia’s 2017 national final with the ballad “White Horses Run”. Since then, Nutsa has released her debut album 22 and numerous music videos. In 2020, she participated in the Russian version of All Together Now, coming second. Afterwards, one of the show’s judges Sergey Lazarev took her under his wing and helped her release “Девочка хотела любить”. In 2021, she came back for an all stars version of same programme. She released “Net” soon after. She didn’t let the dust settle on her Russian adventure before she was off to Albania for Kenga Magjike 2021. She won the international artist category with “We Are One”.
Germany: Katja Krasavice
Julian: Now this is a controversial one and but let me explain. Katja Krasavice probably isn’t that known outside of Germany. But in Germany, she definitely is one famous person! She started her career as an influencer on YouTube where she produced very controversial stuff about sexual topics. In 2017, she released her first song “Doggy” which reached #7 in the German charts. Two years later in 2019, she signed a contract with Warner Music and her two subsequent albums Boss Bitch and Eure Mami (Your Mama) both reached #1 on the album charts. In April this year, Katja even collaborated with Doja Cat and Saweetie, as well as German singer and rapper Elif. Katja combines rap with modern beats and party vibes – in the German language. Many people who know Katja Krasavice may think “no way this could turn out well at Eurovision”. Please think about Hatari and Maruv who both were among the fan favourites of their year. They were also controversial. And among other reasons, their sexual touch on stage helped them become acts which many people spoke about. Why should Germany not take that risk too?
Padraig: She was born Jessica Josephine Wendel to a Lebanese mother and a Greek-German father. However, like Shakira, Beyoncé and Adele, she uses just a mononym — Josephine. Most Eurovision fans will know her best for her recent cover of “Mata Hari”, while more might recall her 2014 entry in the Greek national final — “Dancing Night”. However, neither song really reflects Josephine’s back catalogue as a whole. She’s enjoyed major success with her formula of fusing traditional ethnic sounds with modern dance beats and slick R&B rhythms. “Magia”, “Ego” and “Fimi” are among her biggest hits, all three charted in the top five. She has the star power and talent to keep Greece in the top ten. And if her home country passes her by, we know that Cyprus has her record label — Panik Records — on speed dial.
What do you think of our choices? Who would you choose? Let us know in the comments.