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 Moldova and working through to Russia.
Eurovision 2022 Wishlist (Part Four)
Moldova: Mark Stam
Jonathan: Mark Stam first appeared to the public when he auditioned for Moldova are Talent. Unfortunately, he failed to gain enough support from the judges and didn’t make it to the next stage. Determined not to give up, the singer secured a record contract and began releasing his own music. His big breakthrough came with the song “Doar Noi”, and particularly the duet version with Alina Eremia, who represented Romania at Junior Eurovision 2005. This introduced him to the Romanian public and Stam’s career has only continued to grow since then — his later single “Impar” topped the Romanian airplay chart. Stam can sing, dance, and also has a standout presence in his music videos and performances – he’s a true triple threat. In that sense, he could perhaps be seen as Moldova’s answer to Eric Saade or Loïc Nottet, and we’re sure Stam could provide just as good a finish at Eurovision for his home country.
Monaco: Terence James
Edd: If Monaco wants to come back with a bang in 2022, then look no further than double threat, Terence James. After spending his childhood between Glasgow, the south of France, and the glamorous streets of Monte Carlo, the young singer now lives in the border town of La Turbie. He shot to fame on The Voice France, where he wowed with his slick moves and rich powerhouse vocals, reaching the semi-finals. His musical journey has since led him to no other than this year’s French national final. Mixing his Scottish roots and Monégasque upbringing, his entry “Je t’emmènerai danser” gives us a great taste of his Eurovision pop banger potential.
Montenegro: Light Under The Black Mountain
Lauren: I would never suggest a mundane pop girlie on a Wednesday Wishlist. However, after some research, I almost felt like Montenegro leaves me no choice but to do so. Then out of nowhere, I found Light Under The Black Mountain, a progressive blues rock band from the Bay of Kotor. Reminiscent of 1970’s prog gems like Jethro Tull and Focus, but with a modern KALEO-esque touch, these Montenegrin rockers sound exactly like what I (and pretty much nobody else) would want to see at Eurovision. There’s no knowing when is the next time we’ll see Montenegro, who last qualified six years ago, back in the contest. But if they do make a comeback, and it’s with this funky group, I’ll be beyond delighted. Of course, this is the archetypical “not for Eurovision” sound, but come on… the highest-placing pop song in Eurovision 2021 came seventh. And a rock ‘n’ roll song won. So let’s loosen up and pick something we haven’t heard before!
Robyn: National final fans may remember Royane from Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix earlier this year — but there’s a lot more to her than that. Royane was born in Spain but has a Moroccon mother and spent the first nine years of her life in the Northern African country before moving to Norway. Her music takes her cultural influences of Arabian, Moroccan and Spanish styles, mixed with a Norwegian pop sensibility. Royane describes her sound as “bass-heavy, cinematic and a good blend between emotion and club music”. Her recent single “Let Me Be Free” delivers a lush, sensual sound with Royane’s smooth, cool vocals guiding the listener into her world. When Morocco decides its time to return to Eurovision, Royane would be a great choice.
Sebastian: Easily one of the best-known rappers on the Dutch music scene, Lars Bos, known professionally as Snelle, has cornered the market for radio-friendly rap and mainstream appeal. His success has brought him a recent number one single with Maan (a previous Wednesday Wishlist request) and a Netflix special to boot. Despite being the son of footballer Jan Bos, Snelle’s life is not shrouded in privilege – detailing his struggles growing up with a cleft-lip palate, and his loneliness in adulthood. Snelle’s rap is accessible, meaningful and might potentially cross borders internationally.
Norway: Emelie Hollow
Lauren: I’m a massive fan of Norwegian songstresses Emily Blue and Hege Bjerk. And I will not rest until the day at least one of them sets foot on the Eurovision stage… But Norway also has plenty of other names I’m dying to see representing them. And three months ago, one of them did! …Sort of. Ever since I first heard Emelie Hollow’s dramatic-yet-sweet, soft-yet-haunting ballad “HE”, I’ve been praying to see this woman in Melodi Grand Prix. That’s why I was kind of shocked to see her as the songwriter for TIX’s “Fallen Angel”. I hope she enjoyed her Eurovision experience with TIX, but if she were to some day sing on the Eurovision stage, with her unique voice and her powerful performance ability, I think she could go far. Perhaps even grab the trophy. Norway has a lot to offer Europe; the Norwegians just need to choose it — cough cough, NRK.
Poland: Hania Rani
Tom: Right, after what has happened in the last few years, Poland needs to turn this bad form around. Forget the pyros and the forgettable pop that’s written by half a dozen people, we need some pure talent. Right now, there aren’t many as talented Polish performers as pianist, composer and singer Hania Rani – she is talent! Her ethereal vocals, similar to Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora, combined with her frightening gift on the keys make her an excellent left-field choice. Hania will stand out on the Eurovision stage. She will not give you a Euro Club banger, but she will give chills and mesmerise. Sometimes less really is more and Hania gives simple, beautiful, emotional songs. I see a spotlight, I see a piano on the smaller stage surrounded by a captivated audience in Italy and I see Poland making a final for the first time since 2017. Hania will shine! Check out “Leaving” which can be only described as musical art but also please check out some of her instrumental work – stunning.
Portugal: Ana Moura
Luis: Ana Moura is one of Portugal’s best-known fado singers. You may remember her from Lisbon 2018 when she was part of the opening sequence, together with Mariza and The Beatbombers. After a whole life dedicated to fado, recently Ana Moura spiced things up. Her latest releases blend traditional Portuguese elements and her rich vocal artistry with upbeat, urban sounds. “Vinte Vinte” saw her collaborating with Eurovision 2019 star Conan Osíris. With such recent Eurovision relations, can we perhaps expect Ana Moura at Festival da Canção soon?
Romania: Alexandra Stan
Katie: It’s fair to say that Romania – once the country of operatic vampires, circular pianos, and yodel-pop – is experiencing a lull in its typical success at Eurovision. Having failed to qualify for the last three grand finals and with viewing figures waning at home, only a true icon can save the former Eurovision powerhouse now. Step forward Alexandra Stan, one of Romania’s most celebrated pop divas, whose name appears year on year in the Eurovision rumour mill. In true Anouk style, Alexandra could revitalise Romania at Eurovision with either a Europop banger à la “Mr Saxobeat”, her most widely-known single, or dip into the musical styles she has explored more recently in her latest albums such as techno, R&B, ballad, or even J-pop. With a new album Rainbows in the making, let’s hope Alexandra will reconsider her once-reluctant stance on Eurovision.
Russia: DEAD BLONDE
Oliver: DEAD BLONDE is one of the hottest new breakout stars of the Russian music scene. The high-concept character-driven rave project is the brainchild of 22-year-old Arina Nikolaevna Bulanova, who herself by way of marriage has ties to GSPD — a hugely popular Russian electronic musician. You might be familiar with “Мальчик на девятке” (“Boy on the nine”). The 1990s-inspired synth track went viral on TikTok and helped launch DEAD BLONDE into national stardom. Even Philipp Kirkorov is a fan! DEAD BLONDE’s niche musical and visual aesthetic hits somewhere in the cross-section between Gala, t.A.T.u. and Marina’s Electra Heart era. It’s exactly the type of nuanced zany and wacky wonderfulness that Eurovision fans — casual or hardcore — love so dearly. And with Russia fresh off of another top ten result with Manizha, the delegation may be looking to expand their horizons and recruit more new young and self-made talent. Under that assumption, DEAD BLONDE at Eurovision is a no brainer. Could she be the key to another Russian victory?
What do you think of our choices? Who would you choose? Let us know in the comments.