In this week’s newsletter, the first artist for Tel Aviv is confirmed, national selection lineups for France, Sweden and Australia are unveiled and Poland prepare to host the 2019 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. You can read the newsletter in full here, or subscribe for a regular dose of Eurovision insight and analysis delivered direct to your email inbox.
ESC Insight National Selection Playlist
So far, confirmed hopefuls for Eurovision 2019 have been released in Albania, Estonia, France, Hungary, Latvia and more. Here are a few selected highlights from what we’ve heard so far. Could any of them lift the trophy in Tel Aviv?
‘Ktheju tokës’, by Jonida Maliqi [Albania]
As has become tradition, Albania will become the first country to publically choose their song for Tel Aviv when Festivali i Këngës airs from 20-22 December. This moving entry from Jonida Maliqi is a step above the Albanian template for female-fronted power ballads, featuring interesting production choices and plaintive lyrics that reference the human impact of the country’s ongoing struggle with mass-emigration.
‘Soovide puu’, by Sandra Nurmsalu [Estonia]
The voice of Urban Symphony returns to Estonia’s Eesti Laul as a solo artist for the first time since 2013. A delicate ballad that makes the most of Nurmsalu’s crystalline vocal tones, Soovide puu may prove a little too subtle for Eurovision glory, but it’s a perfect soundtrack to a crisp winter’s day, and a welcome addition to one of Europe’s most reliably diverse national selections.
‘Hazavágyom’, by Leander Kills [Hungary]
Metal band Leander Kills have rapidly established themselves as major fan favourites after their previous appearances at Hungary’s A Dal national selection. Hazavágyom represents a change of pace for the group, incorporating a softer delivery and a notably folkier sound, while still retaining the group’s knack for strong, dramatic hooks. Will 2019 finally be their year?
‘Là-haut’, by Chimène Badi [France]
French national selection Destination Eurovision looks set to go from strength to strength in 2019, with a notable uptick in established stars compared to the 2018 edition. One of the biggest names on the list is Chimène Badi, who topped the French charts in 2003 with the ballad Entre nous and has been a reliable presence in the domestic charts ever since, with album sales topping 2.5 million. A midtempo stomper that mixes the classic French ballad style with some Adele-style grit, Là-haut is likely to be a frontrunner when Destination Eurovision airs in January.
‘Tautasdziesma by Dziļi Violets feat. Kozmens [Latvia]
You can always rely on Latvia to provide something completely different in their national selections. Kozmens – he of the moustache and impressive kilt – is probably best known to Eurovision fans as the man behind the iconic ‘Riga Beaver’. He’s shed his furry costume this year to contribute vocals to this oddball effort. It’s probably not competitive for Eurovision, but Latvia have made offbeat selections in the past, and they’d certainly stand out from the crowd with this…