For many of the more modern years of Eurovision, we’ve seen a huge collection of predominately pop songs, whether in the format of upbeat tunes or ballads. Occasionally we see something that breaks the mould, something that stands out whether that’s for the right or wrong reasons is a different story! We’ve seen pop at Eurovision, but we still dream of a Eurovision with a wider range of acts to reflect the current music scene, so we’ve picked five acts from across Europe that reflect an ‘alternative’ scene. None of these acts may continue on to actually compete* at Eurovision, but they at least represent the styles that we hope to see at the contest more and more over the next few years. Without further ado, here’s our Top 5 Alternative acts we want to see at Eurovision!
5. Iceland – Daði Freyr – Is This Love?
We first saw Daði Freyr in the 2017 Icelandic national selection where he took part with song Is This Love (as well as it’s Icelandic language counterpart). Having not followed the Icelandic selection very closely, it wasn’t until after the competition that I heard this song, but it was love at first listen. The song ended up coming second behind Svala, who was also a unique act, but perhaps with a song not entirely strong enough for the competition (but that’s a whole other discussion). We’ve been listening to the song ever since the competition ended, but the song is just 50% of the package as he himself is a huge piece of the puzzle. He is a unique character, but unique in a really charming way, and I think that came across really well in the national final. The performance felt modern but also retro, and in a way, it felt like we were in an old school video game. His performance at times was a bit Pollapönk-esque but that same charm is what helped Pollapönk reach the final back in 2014. Overall, a very charming performer that I will continue to follow, regardless of whether there are any future Eurovision bids!
4. Finland – STIG – Ai Ai Ai
Hardcore fans might remember way back when STIG, not to be confused with Estonia’s Stig Rästa, entered the Finnish national final with the song Laululeija. It was a simple song, the no mess no fuss type of song, but for reasons I’m still not totally sure of, it remains as one of the most memorable national final songs for me even though it was way back in 2011 (an eternity ago). Skip forward a few years and STIG is still doing his thing, releasing music that we’re loving. Released this year was the song Ai Ai Ai, which features STIG’s unique vocals in front of his signature short and sharp style of music. The chorus of the song is a stand out, and even though I understand none of the words of the song, I can certainly sing along with Ai Ai Ai. Like Daði Freyr, it’s not totally about the sound, but also the whole package of the performer and their music. STIG is definitely a unique character, and his style corresponds well with the mixture of musical styles he uses, which includes country and folk mixed with a bit of hip-hop in amongst it.
3. Ukraine – Monatik – ‘What Makes You Crazy’
I suppose technically we have seen Ukrainian act Monatik at Eurovision before, precisely in 2017 as the opening act, but we haven’t yet seen him compete, so he can still count as part of our Top 5! Before the live semi-final broadcast, if you had asked me who Monatik was, I would have given you a blank face, but now, he’s an artist that I’ve been enjoying quite a bit. His performance of Spinning at Eurovision for me was probably one of the highlights of the entire competition, and it wasn’t even a competing entry. It was fresh, and it showed more character than many of the songs actually competing. His newest single is titled What Makes You Crazy, and although I still have a place in our hearts for Spinning, this new song is quickly becoming a ‘must-have’ in my personal playlists. It’s this perfect mix of the electric guitars resembling more of a rock style, mixed with the electronic, pop and funk styles that turn into a really memorable cocktail. Mixed in with his voice, Monatik has it all going for him.
2. Sweden – Erik Rapp – Look Like Lovers
The young Swedish star Erik Rapp has really just emerged as one of our all-time favourite artists after the release of his 2017 EP titled Lovers. Yes, we loved the teenage boppy Erik Rapp who competed in Junior Eurovision back in 2011, but the years have done something incredible to this young man who has blossomed into a mind-blowingly good musician. Although only 4 songs long, these songs off his EP were all absolutely superb. They all had a purpose on the EP, and all demonstrated the creative mind he possesses, but also this sound that’s a cross between youthful and melancholic. The song we’ve featured also has an accompanying video clip which also demonstrates the unique look that Erik has adopted, and as a package this is just something that perhaps not even Eurovision is ready for.
1. Italy – Måneskin – Chosen
Let’s call it a tie between Erik Rapp and our newest discovery, Måneskin, who have just come out of the latest season of the X Factor in Italy, finishing in second place (we have to question that, come on Italy…). This group is the definition of alternative – they’re young, they’re carefree but most importantly they’re incredibly talented. Lead singer Damiano is a true front man, something we haven’t seen in quite a while. He demands attention from the viewers with his voice, his mannerisms and his movements, but the band as a whole are completely captivating. Their X Factor single titled Chosen is catchy, but doesn’t entirely conform to one singular musical style. I do think the glue holding it all together is Damiano’s voice, and without his commanding voice, the music wouldn’t stand out in a line-up. This is where the overall package of the act becomes important, as I think their youthfulness and energetic stage performances would really create something very memorable at Eurovision. Perhaps one day they’ll join the party and shake things up a little.
*Monatik was a part of Eurovision 2017 but as an opening act of the first semi-final, and Erik Rapp competed at Junior Eurovision