Eurovision results for Albania fall into three categories – non-qualifying (7 times), mid to lower Top 11 (3 times) and very specifically, 16th or 17th place (6 times!!). So will Arilena fall into one of these categories, or break the mould by giving Albania their first Eurovision win?
The 58th Festivali I Këngës was a close (and controversial) affair, going down to the wire between Arilena and Elvana Gjata. Individual Jury voting saw Elvana score top marks from three of the five members, but consistent high scoring from all for Arilena, and said controversial low scoring from the remaining two Jury members for Elvana, gave Arilena the win.
As a “veteran” of singing and dancing contests, Arilena knows all there is to know about these things, winning the second season of X Factor Albania in 2013. Since then, she has released a stack of singles over the past 5 years, including a Romanian #1 single, which might come in handy when those 12 points are being given out *wink wink*.
Athena Manoukian is a Greek-Armenian singer and songwriter from Athens. She will represent Armenia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 with the song "Chains on You".
She ran away with the victory at Depi Evratesil, with a 48 point gap between her and ERNA who came second. “Chains on You” proved to be a favourite with the Armenian and International juries.
Athena also participated in the Greek national selection for the 2008 Junior Eurovision Song Contest with the song "To Fili Tis Aphroditis" and finished 7th, and since then, she’s released 4 singles.
In 2017, Athena wrote the music and lyrics for "Palia Mou Agapi" performed by Helena Paparizou, the winner of Eurovision Song Contest 2005.
While Armenia has qualified for the final 10 times out of 13 appearances, they have hit a snag the last couple of years, so can they get back in to the top 24 again in 2020?
Jessica Alyssa Cerro, aka Montaigne, is an Australian art pop singer-songwriter-musician from Sydney. She will represent Australia with the song “Don’t Break Me”.
She won Australia Decides 2020, receiving top spot from the jury and coming second in the televote, just 7 points behind Casey Donovan.
Montaigne is an ARIA award winning singer and has released 10 singles to date. She also worked with the Hilltop Hoods in 2016 on their single “1955”.
Her background is a mix of Argentinian, Spanish, Filipino and French, and her father Gus played in the Australian National Soccer League so she is pretty handy with a round ball too.
Australia has qualified for the grand final from the semis every year since 2016. Can Montaigne’s fancy footwork uphold our perfect scoresheet?
Since Conchita Wurst brought Austria back from obscurity (an 18th place, three non-qualifiers and four non-participations in the decade prior), Austria have been a pretty safe bet to make the Eurovision Grand Final. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in 2019 when Paenda’s “Limits” failed to progress through, which is a pity, as it was a great song, but lost amongst so many great songs that year – and performances.
This could go one of two ways – the beginning of another decade of Austrian misfire, or a non-qualifying song influencing a big comeback, just as “Rise Like A Phoenix” showed in 2014?
Austria has selected Austrian-Filipino singer, Vincent Bueno, as their representative, continuing a trend this year that is shaping Eurovision 2020 up has a solo male dominated contest (7 out of 10, so far, at time of writing).
Vincent is the type of all-rounder that fits the Eurovision mould perfectly – he sings, he dances, he composes, and if it counts (most of the time it does…ha ha!), he’s fairly easy on the eye. And, he’s been in the business for quite a while, starting all this at the age of 4.
With a few albums under his belt, Vincent will bring his brand of Contemporary R&B to the Eurovision stage with “Alive”, due to be released soon. We can’t wait to hear it.
Samira Efendiyeva, aka Samira Efendi, is an Azerbaijani pop and jazz singer.
She is no stranger to singing contests, coming third in The Voice of Azerbaijan in 2016 and Silk Way Star in Kazakhstan in 2017. She’s released three singles and has attempted to represent Azerbaijan at Eurovision five times.
Azerbaijan has only failed to reach the finals once in 12 attempts since 2008. Can Samira continue the very good run rate of Azerbaijan in the final?
VAL is a Belarussian duo made up of singer Valeria Gribusova (aka Lera) and multi-instrumentalist Vlad Pashkevich. Valeria has been on The Voice Ukraine and Vlad also produces a lot of music for commercials.
They have been performing together for the last 4 years and are pretty experimental with their styles, running from house to R&B and pop. Da Vidna translates to “before the dawn”.
Belarus has had varied success over the years but could this piece of performance art get them into the grand final and win?
Hooverphonic have gone through quite a roster change throughout the years, now up to singer number six, Luka Cruysberghs, leading them into Eurovision next year. Luka appeared on Belgium's The Voice in 2017, getting the thumbs up from all four judges, but choosing judge Alex Callier's team. Luka went on to win the series, and given that Alex had this group called Hooverphonic without a singer, Luka was soon introduced as the new face of the band.
Hooverphonic's sound has been described as indie rock, electronica, pop and trip hop, and all those elements are certainly evident in their 2018 album, Looking For Stars, their first with Luka. It's a perfect fit for Eurovision, and we can't wait to see what Belgium bring to the contest to, hopefully, get them back into the Grand Final.
Victoria Georgieva has a rather heavy load to carry heading into Eurovision 2020.
First of all, Bulgaria is a VERY popular country amongst the fandom. When it was announced that the country was not going to be participating in Tel Aviv, it left many heartbroken.
Secondly, Bulgaria were on a particular good projectory of success that started with Poli Genova's 4th place with "If Love Was A Crime", continued with Kristian Kostov's runner-up performance of "Beautiful Mess", and ended with a credible performance by Equinox and "Bones", a 14th place result, but winner of the Marco Bezençon Composer Award.
History has also shown that taking a break from the contest for a year can WIN you the contest upon return!
Victoria started singing at the age of 11, half her lifetime ago, and entered the public eye in Season 4 of X Factor Bulgaria, the very same season one Kristian Kostov came runner-up (man...can this poor guy ever get a break?). While Victoria bowed out before reaching the top three, she was offered a recording contract in 2016 that has seen five singles released, so far.
So, can Victoria bring the goods to Eurovision 2020? We know a lot of people would be excited for a Bulgarian win sometime soon, so all fingers are crossed for that sometime to be now!
Damir Kedžo is an award winning Croatian pop singer. He started performing in 2003 and became famous in Croatia after winning the third season of the Croatian version of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’, performing as Mariah Carey.
He tried out for the national final, Dora, in 2011, and has appeared in a few musicals, including “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”. Damir has also released 9 singles.
Divlji vjetre translates to “wild wind”. Will Croatia blow into the finals and clinch their first win?
So let's just sort this out before we go any further...
Sandro was born to an American father, a Greek mother, was raised in Germany, and will be performing in Eurovision 2020 representing... Cyprus? It doesn't get much more worldly than that!
Eleni and Tamta are not the easiest acts to follow, and Cyprus are STILL yet to win a Eurovision. So can Sandro bring home the goods?
Sandro was born Alessandro Rütten, and came to attention during Season 8 of The Voice of Germany when all four judges turned their chairs for him. The attention was short-lived when he was eliminated during the "Sing-Off" round, but hey, he's in Eurovision now...so look who's laughing now.
Ben Cristóvão, aka Benny Cristo, is a Czech singer and sportsman, with a Czech mother and Angolan father. He was a finalist in the talent show Superstar in 2009, and the next year, he released his debut album “Definitely Different”. Benny has released 20 singles so far in his career.
He has competed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, obtaining a bronze and gold medal in competitions.
“Kemama” was chosen by a jury and an international public “televote” via online voting app.
Czech Republic took a while to get to the Grand Final after a few attempts, but will Benny’s beat get them there again in 2020?
Ben & Tan is a Danish duo consisting of Benjamin Rosenbohm and Tanne Balcells. The duo met while they both competed in the 12th season of the Danish X Factor last year.
Ben is 17 and was born in Berlin. He came second in X Factor. Tan is 22 and she was part of the group Echo, which came 4th.
Denmark has taken part in Eurovision 48 times since 1957 and they have won three times. Will the public and jury vote “yes” in Rotterdam?
Uku Suviste is an Estonian singer-songwriter, and music producer. He can play the piano, guitar, and drums. He began singing in the school choir at a young age and he graduated from music school, specialising in piano.
He’s been pretty busy since 2004, taking part in singing shows (The Voice, Your Face Sounds Familiar), stage productions (Chicago, West Side Story) and has released 16 singles.
Estonia has had varied success in the 25 years they have been participating at Eurovision, with one win in 2001. Pretty sure they would "love” another win.
Aksel Kankaanranta is a Finnish singer who placed second in The Voice of Finland in 2017.
Aksel has enjoyed music from a young age and played the violin, bass, and guitar. He didn’t start singing until high school, and he found music a solace from bullying. Aksel is also a big “Coldplay” and “Queen” fan.
Finland has participated 53 since 1961 and scored their first win in 2006. Will Finland get a “look” in May?
French singer, actor, …comedian? Well, I guess the Eurovision hosts could do with some coaching (just JOKING!! We love the Eurovision hosts, seriously). Tom Leeb has been announced as the Eurovision representative for France, and our eyes have never been more open – or happier.
30 year old Tom can now add Eurovision star to his list of accomplishments, which include starring roles in various films, and an album released in 2019 – after the song submission period was opened (could the French entry already be out there somewhere?).
With the French entry for Eurovision decided through Destination Eurovision for the past two years, this time around the selectors just couldn’t go past Tom and ditched the selection process altogether. There must be something here for France to be THAT confident.
The Netherlands waited 44 years for their next win after 1975’s “Ding-A-Dong” by Teach-In, so could the lengthy wait between wins also help out France this year? The country has been waiting for their sixth win since 1977, although they came super, SUPER close in 1991, tying for first, but losing in the tie-break rule.
No matter what happens, we are very excited to see Tom steam up our glasses when he takes to the Eurovision stage in Rotterdam.
You could say it was a bit of an accident that has Tornike Kipiani lined up to stand on the Eurovision stage for Georgia in Rotterdam. Originally a guitarist for his own band, Tornike took on the vocals for the band “temporarily” until a permanent singer could be found. With the obvious choice literally staring the rest of the band in their face, Tornike accepted the career change.
From there, Tornike entered the first season of X Factor Georgia which included his version of Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”. He won the season after being coached and mentored by Tamta, the Cypriot representative last year.
With Georgia now using the Georgian Idol format to select their Eurovision entry, Tornike already had this in the bag, given that he already knows how to win a contest like this. The fact that he won covering songs by Nirvana, Alice In Chains and The Prodigy – quite the opposite to the standard Eurovision format – makes us all very excited to see what Georgia are going to bring to The Netherlands.
Ben Dolic is a Slovenian singer. He gained popularity in Germany after his participation in the eighth season of The Voice of Germany, where he came second.
Ben was 12 when he took part in the Slovenian version of “Got Talent” and then went on to perform in the Slovenian National Final, EMA, in 2016 but failed to advance to the super final with his band D Base.
Violent Thing is his first solo single.
Germany have won the contest twice in 63 participations. Can this song carry them to their third win?
Stefania Liberakakis is a Greek–Dutch singer, actress, voice actress, and YouTuber, who was born in Utrecht. She is a former member of the girl group “Kisses”, who represented the Netherlands in the JESC 2016 with the song “Kisses and Dancin’” that came 8th.
She started her singing career in 2013, has released 7 solo singles, and has worked on 6 movies. She also starred in the Dutch television show “Brugklas”.
Her song “Superg!rl” has been written by a team including Dimitris Kontopoulos, who has a lot of Eurovision experience writing for Dmitry Koldun (Belarus 2007), Ani Lorak (Ukraine 2008), Sakis Rouvas (Greece 2009), Farid Mammadov (Azerbaijan 2013), Tolmachevy Sisters (Russia 2014), Sergey Lazarev (Russia 2016 and 2019), Demy (Greece 2017), and Aisel (Azerbaijan 2018).
Can Stefania be super for Greece this year?
Gagnamagnið is a synth-pop group made up of leader singer Daði Freyr Pétursson, with members Árný Fjóla Ásmundsdóttir, Sigrún Birna Pétursdóttir, Hulda Kristín Kolbrúnardóttir, Stefán Hannesson and Jóhann Sigurður Jóhannsson and they have been performing together since 2017. Daði and Sigrún are siblings, Árný is Daði’s wife, and Hulda, Stefán and Jóhann are their friends.
They attempted to represent Iceland in 2017 and came second. Gagnamagnið translates “the amount of data".
Iceland have never won at Eurovision but have come second twice. Can this be their first winner?
Lesley Roy is a pop/rock singer-songwriter from Balbriggan in Dublin. Lesley released her first album in 2008, which charted in the US. She has also released 5 singles.
As a songwriter, Lesley has worked with artists including Adam Lambert, Miss Montreal, Medina, Jana Kramer, Marlee Scott, and Deorro.
Lesley now travels between Ireland and New York City and is a massive Eurovision fan.
Ireland has participated in Eurovision 53 times and has won 7 times. Will a win be the story of Lesley’s life?
Eden Alene is an Israeli singer from Jerusalem. Her parents were born in Ethiopia and moved to Israel before she was born.
In 2017 she won The X Factor Israel and released her first single soon after. She’s also appeared in the Israeli production of “Little Shop of Horrors”.
Israel has won four times since 1973, will her song be a winner?
Antonio Diodato is an Italian singer-songwriter. He has released four studio albums and 15 singles. He has participated in Sanremo twice – 2014, and then winning in 2020.
The song title translates into “Make noise” and is about the uncomfortable silence between two people when they first break up a relationship.
Italy has won twice since 1956 and have come second 4 times. Is it time for a trip to Rome?
Samanta Poļakova, better known as Samanta Tīna, is a Latvian singer from Tukums. She has attempted to represent her country at Eurovision on several occasions (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2019).
She has released 12 singles and even competed in a singing contest in Moldova!
“Still Breathing” was co-written by Samata and Aminata Savadogo (Latvia 2015) and was produced by Samanta herself (she REALLY is a producer).
Latvia has had one Eurovision win in 19 contests. Anyone fancy a trip to Riga in 2021?
The Roop is a Lithuanian pop rock / soft rock /dance / electronica indie band made up of Vaidotas Valiukevičiu, Robertas Baranauskas, and Mantas Banišauskas that formed in 2014.
They have released three albums, seven singles, and tried out for the Lithuanian National Final Eurovizijos once before in 2018 and came third.
Their single last year was called “Dance with you Hands”, but they have upgraded from that! If you haven’t watched the performance yet, do yourself a favour! You’ll be wearing a white skivvy and be dabbing before you know it.
Lithunia has never won at Eurovision, could they fire dance into a win?
Destiny Chukunyere M.Q.R. is a Maltese singer from Birkirkara. Her father is Nigerian and her mother is Maltese.
In 2015 she won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest with her song "Not My Soul". Two years later, she participated in Britain's Got Talent and finished 6th in the Semi-Final. She then was the backing singer for Michela’s “Chameleon” in Tel Aviv that came 14th in the final.
Destiny holds a Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika, which is a medal awarded for distinguished service to Malta. Ira Losco (2002 and 2016) also has a M.Q.R.
Could Destiny be the first person to win both JESC and ESC, and bring home Malta’s first win?
Natalia Gordienco is a Moldovan pop singer and dancer. She previously represented Moldova along with Arsenium and Connect-R with the song “Loca” in 2006 which came 20th in the final.
As a child, Natalia sang in the school choir, danced, and learned the piano. As an adult she has taken part in a load of singing and performing competitions from Lativa to Ukriane, and has been the lead singer of the band “Millennium” since 2005.
Moldova has participated at Eurovision 15 times since 2005 and their highest result has been third in 2017. Can Natalia break free from the “prison” of no wins?
Who says Eurovision has no soul? The host country is ensuring there will be plenty announcing Jeangu Macrooy as the Dutch entrant, a Surinamese modern soul singer and songwriter.
After releasing an album with twin brother Xillan, Jeangu moved to the Netherlands in 2014 to study songwriting, something he will possibly be putting to the test in May on the Eurovision stage. Since then, he has performed at a stack of music festivals, had regular apprearances on Dutch TV, and even managed to release a couple of albums.
There’s a bit of a spell that needs breaking at Eurovision, with the last three winning countries placed outside of the Top 20 in their hosting year Grand Final. However, we’re thinking that the Netherlands have probably used up all their bad luck during their eight-year run of non-qualifying entries during 2005-2012 (seriously, the country is called Netherlands, not NEVERlands!). Will Jeangu come up with the goods to make his country proud?
With the current high North Macedonia is riding after winning the Jury vote in Tel Aviv with Tamara Todevska’s “Proud”, it seems the team are looking to keep that winning formula going. Tamara may have been a powerhouse performer in 2019, but behind the scenes stood 35 year-old Vasil, helping out on backing vocals. Vasil is being brought from the back, to the front of the stage for Rotterdam, eager to give North Macedonia their first win of Eurovision.
Vasil has been performing since age 7, becoming a bit of a child pop star in his home country which lead him to perform for none other than Celine Dion! Since then, he has studied in Italy and Canada before becoming a finalist at the Macedonian preselection for Eurovision in 2007.
It’s been some 13 years since then, and Vasil can finally command the centre of our favourite stage in the whole world – the Eurovision one. Can Vasil improve on North Macedonia’s “proudest” moment from last year?
Ulrikke Brandstorp is a Norwegian singer. She participated in the Norwegian Idol in 2013 and NRKs Stjernekamp in 2018.
She has also performed on stage, playing Liesl in “The Sound of Music’, and has released 8 singles.
Ulrikke will perform “Attention” in Rotterdam and Morland (2015) is one of the songwriters.
Will this song hold your attention (sorry, had to pun there) and give Norway their fourth win?
Alicja Szemplińska is a Polish singer from Ciechanów. She has been singing professionally since she was 12 after spending her childhood singing in church choirs.
Alicja is no stranger to big signing competitions, as she won the Polish TVP2 program “Hit, Hit, Hurray!” in 2016, and won season 10 of The Voice of Poland last year at age 16.
Poland has participated at Eurovision 22 times since 1994 and their highest position was second in their debut year. Will Alicja’s "Empire" rise in Rotterdam?
Elisa Silva is a Portuguese singer from the island of Madeira.
She’s loved music since childhood and taken part in a lot of music festivals. In 2015, she took part in the Portuguese edition of Idol but didn’t make it to the live shows. Elisa moved to Lisbon two years ago to study music at university.
“Medo de sentir” translates to “Afraid of Feeling”.
Portugal has taken part in Eurovision since 1961 with one win. A country that is not afraid to send songs with feeling, can Elisa do Portugal proud in Rotterdam?
Larisa Roxana Giurgiu, known professionally as Roxen, is a Romanian deep house singer from Cluj-Napoca. She started singing from an early age and was signed by Global Records last year, at age 19.
Roxen has released two singles as a lead singer in her very short career. Her collaboration with the Romanian producer Sickotoy’s on the song “You Don’t Love Me” has had airplay in France, United States, Russia, and Spain. Some have said her music style is very similar to Dua Lipa and Billie Eillish.
Romania’s best results have been third place twice: 2005 and 2010. Could Roxen go two better?
Little Big is a Russian punk-pop-rave band founded in 2013 from St Petersburg. The band consists of Ilya Ilich Prusikin, Sergey Gokk Makarov, Sonya Tayurskaya, and Anton Boo Lissov. Little Big calls itself a satirical art collaboration that mocks various national stereotypes about Russia. Their musical influences are vast and include Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Prodigy, Mozart, and Vivaldi.
They have toured extensively in both Europe and America, have released 15 singles and 4 albums, and their song “I’m OK” became a meme on the social media platform Tik Tok.
Russia is one of the big players at Eurovision with one win, and 4 second and third places. Can Russia do it again in Rotterdam?
Senhit Zadik Zadik is an Italian singer from Bologna with Eritrean origins. She previously represented San Marino in 2011 with the song “Stand By” that came 16th in the first semi final on 34 points.
Senhit has performed in musicals all over Europe including “Fame”, “The Lion King” and “Fame. She has released 3 albums and 12 singles and also tried her hand at being a TV host.
San Marino has partipiated at Eurovision 10 times and only made the grand final twice. Can Senhit follow the good fortune of 2019?
Hurricane is Serbian R&B/pop band consisting of Sanja Vučić, Ivana Nikolić and Ksenija Knežević from Belgrade. The group formed in 2017.
Main vocalist Sanja was a member of the band ZAA, who represented Serbia at Eurovision in 2016 with the song “Goodbye (Shelter)” that came 18th in the final. Ivana is known for both her singing and dancing in the former Yugoslav states. Ksenija is the daughter of Montenegrin singer Knez, who fans will remember from the 2015 contest. Knez came 13th in the final with the song “Adio” and that song holds the record for the most successful entry for Montenegro.
Hurricane have released 18 singles. Majority of their songs are in English, but they have chosen a song in Serbian for Eurovision.
Serbia won Eurovision with their first attempt in 2007 (after spilling with Montenegro). Can these ladies swirl into the grand final?
Ana Soklič is a Slovenian singer and songwriter from small town called Bohinj. She’s been interested in music from a young age, particularly jazz and opera. She feels most a home singing blues, soul, and jazz.
Ana has sung in the Harlem gospel choir in New York City, and has performed for Barrack Obama. She really enjoys singing with big bands and orchestras and has released two singles.
Slovenia has participated 25 times at Eurovision, with 7th being their record highest placement on two occasions. Can Voda make the top 5?
Blas Cantó is a Spanish singer from Ricote. When he was 8, he participated in the children's talent show “Veo Veo” and then four years later, he participated in “Eurojunior”, the Spanish national selection for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Blas attempted to represent Spain at Eurovision in 2011 as part of the band Auryn, who then went on to release four albums.
In 2016 he finished up with the band and took part in the singing show “Your Face Sounds Familiar” which he won, and the next year, he signed with Warner Music Spain.
Blas has released 6 singles and two albums.
Spain hasn’t won since 1969, will Universo be the one?
The Mamas are a Swedish-American soul and gospel group made up of Ashley Haynes from Washington D.C., Loulou Lamotte from Malmö, and Dinah Yonas Manna from Stockholm.
Last year in Tel Aviv, The Mamas (including now ex member Paris Renita) provided the backing vocals for John Lundvik’s song “Too Late For Love”, which came 5th in the Grand Final on 334 points.
Sweden has participated at Eurovision 59 times since 1958 and the country has celebrated 6 wins. They’ve had a great run into the grand final over the years, but how high will The Mamas “move”?
Gjon Muharremaj also known professionally as Gjon's Tears, is a Swiss singer and songwriter. He was born in Broc to a Kosovo-Albanian father and an Albanian mother from Tirana.
Gjon knows what it is a like to be on the big stage as he’s competed in Albania’s “Got Talent” where he came 3rd at 12 years old, and the Swiss version of the same show, plus France’s version of “The Voice”.
He is also an art buff. You’ll find him at the cinema, the art gallery, and watching plays at the theatre.
“Répondez-moi” translates to “answer me” in English.
Switzerland have competed at Eurovision 60 times since 1956, with two wins. In the last twenty years, their best result has been 4th. Does Gjon have the “answer” for a top placing song?
Go_A is a Ukrainian electro-folk band. The band comprises of Kateryna Pavlenko, Taras Shevchenko, Igor Didenchuk, and Ivan Grigoryak. They are known for their authentic Ukrainian vocals, modern dance beats, and powerful guitars.
The band gained popularity for their song “Vesnyaka” which has been played on radio in Ukraine. They have toured extensively in Poland and Belarus and taken part in a lot of music festivals.
Ukraine has a perfect strike-rate at Eurovision, advancing every time from the semis to the finals, with two ESC wins to boot, plus two second places and one third. Can Solovey get to those dizzy heights in Rotterdam?
James Newman is a singer-songwriter from North Yorkshire and is the older brother of UK pop star John Newman. James has won a BRIT award and has been nominated for a Grammy.
James is most well-known for his song-writing ability. He has written songs for Kesha, Little Mix, Keiser Chiefs, and The Backstreet Boys, as well as for John. James also co-wrote Brendan Murray’s Eurovision song “Dying to Try” for Ireland in 2017. While his song for Eurovision is his first solo single as a singer, James has collaborated with many other artists since 2015.
The UK has won Eurovision 5 times since 1957 and while the don’t have to go through the semi finals as part of the Big Five, can James and his song deliver the goods in the final?