298px-ESC_2018_Map.svgFollowing these first days of the new year, national finals all over Europe will start unfolding progressively and will determine the final representatives and entries for Eurovision 2018 participating countries. However, before this majority of national finals take place, 8 countries have already determined either their representative or entry for the next edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.

 ALBANIA

Albania is the only country so far to have determined the artist and song that will represent the country in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest next May in Lisbon.

Eugent Bushpepa won on 23 December 2017 the 56th edition of  Festivali i Kenges, the music event through which Albania determines its Eurovision representative each year. From a total of 14 finalists the Albanian artist managed to win the jury’s vote with his entry Mall and will fly the flag for Albania in Lisbon.

GEORGIA

Just before the change of year , the Georgian national broadcaster 1TV, with  rather a sudden announcement since everyone was expecting a national final to take place, revealed that the country’s representative for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest will be the group  Iriao , returning in that way to an internal selection format, after last year’s national final. However, it hasn’t been revealed yet how the entry will be chosen and whether it will be selected through a national final with a number of competing songs.

Iriao’s music is influenced by Jazz music in combination with local traditional sounds. The group consists of the following members:

David Malazonia – Composer, Head of the group
Nugzar Kavtaradze – Georgian traditional instruments
Levan Abshilava – Drums
Shalva Gelekva – Bass
George Abashidze – Vocalist
Mikheil Javakhishvili – Vocalist
Bidzina Murgulia – Vocalist

Listen to a sample of Iriao’s music :

AUSTRALIA

SBS, the Australian national broadcaster announced on December 11 that Jessica Mauboy will represent the country in the upcoming Eurovision Contest in Lisbon next May.

Despite the initial rumors of holding a national final, the Australian broadcaster chose the same way of internal selection, as the last three years that the country has been participating in the contest. This will be the 2nd time for Jessica performing on the Eurovision stage since 2014, when she took part in that year’s interval act representing Australia as a guest non participating country.

The 28 year old Australian artist from Darwin began her career in 2006 from the  Australian Idol, where she ended up 2nd in the final. After that she signed a contract with Sony Music Australia and released three full albums, selling more than 3,5 million albums  and working with worldwide known artists as Beyonce, o Flo Rida and Chris Brown.

 

AUSTRIA

It was 5 December when ORF, the Austrian national broadcaster revealed that Cesár Sampson was chosen internally to represent the country in the next edition of the  Eurovision Song contest in May.  The artist is a member of the group Symphonix International and one of the producers of the Bulgarian entry in 2016 (4th place) and 2017 (2nd place). The artist revealed just a few days later in an interview that the title of his song is Nobody But You and according to today’s update his song is really modern and based on a combination of gospel , blues and classic rock  music elements.

THE NETHERLANDS

AVOTROS the Dutch broadcaster opted to select the country’s entry for another year through an internal selection. n 9 November 2017, AVROTROS announced Waylon as the Dutch entrant at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. Waylon had previously represented the Netherlands in 2014 as part of The Common Linnets alongside Ilse DeLange. Their song “Calm After the Storm” earned 238 points in the final, placing them second. Before that the artist had made another attempt in the country’s national final in 2005 with Rachel Kramer and their entry Leven als een beestbut eventually didn’t make it to the Eurovision stage. His 3rd album with the title Heaven After Midnight was released in September 2014 and manged to top the i tunes chart and the top-100 albums in the Netherlands.

AZERBAIJAN

Azerbaijan was the third participating country to reveal its representative for Lisbon.  Aisel was announced by the national broadcaster as the next artist that will fly the flag for Azerbaijan on Altice Arena stage next May.

Aisel apart from singing , is a composer and plays the piano. Raised in a family of musicians, she has performed in several Jazz festivals in her country and around Europe ( Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland, Israel and the Netherlands).

 

FINLAND

On 7th of November, the country after years of national finals, as the way to select its Eurovision representatives, decided to select its artist internally and the artist chosen wasn’t other than Saara Aalto! After two attempts in Finnish national finals (2011 and 2016) and after gaining wide recognition as the 2nd finalist in UK’s X factor talent show, Saara was chosen to  fly the flag for Finland in Lisbon.  The Finnish national broadcaster (YLE) announced that Saara will perform 3 songs on March 3, in the national final of  Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) 2018 and the winning song will be determined by a public voting combined with a international jury vote.

Saara has already revealed to the public that her songs will be a result of a creative collaboration with Linnea Deb (composer of the Eurovision 2015 winning entry Heroes sung by Måns Zelmerlöw ) and Thomas G:son ( producer of the Loreen’s winning entry in 2012, Euphoria and a dozen of other entries that competed in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2001).

 

BELGIUM

Belgium was the first country to announce its representative for the next Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon. It was just 29 September  on Flemish TV and the show Van Gils & gasten when the 27 year old  Laura Groeseneken (or SENNEK ) was announced as Belgium’s next Eurovision representative. Laura performed the English edition of last year’s Eurovision winning song of  Amar Pelos Dois. However the fans will need to wait to learn about the entry Laura will perform on stage in Lisbon.

 

Next days more countries will be holding progressively their national finals and revealing their artists and songs for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest next May in Lisbon. Stay tuned on the INFE Network and its regional fan media pages to follow the interesting road to Lisbon and the next edition of our favorite music contest.