Below are articles written by members. These can be about anything Eurovision Related.
A Eurovision Journey - by Matt MacDonald
An emotional barefoot singer makes her way across a bridge over fans cheering from below while confetti falls from the roof. She is handed a microphone-shaped trophy. Continues walking. The host starts wrapping up the evening, while the singer gets ready to perform, I think. I quickly realize that she's performing her winning song again – that's cool. Oh, I like this song. I really like this song. And she's performing barefoot. That's awesome. I don't think I've ever seen a singer perform while barefoot.
And, just like that, I was hooked.
I do not remember much of the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. I am honestly not 100 percent sure how I stumbled across it either. As an American, you do pretty much need to stumble across Eurovision because it never receives media coverage here, at least not until the 2016 Contest was broadcast on Logo TV, a cable/satellite channel that few know exists, forget have access to. So, even now, it's very rare to find a fellow American who has even heard of Eurovision.
But, there I was, in early June 2013, watching an archived broadcast of Eurovision and immediately being hooked by it. Why was I hooked? Well, given my natural interests, it actually makes a lot of sense. I'm very interested in sports and competition, and this contest obviously has plenty of that. However, I'm also a big supporter of anything theatrical, and Eurovision is nothing if not theatrical.
I also love how structured it is. Every country receives up to three minutes. You can produce vocal and other musical art however you want in those three minutes; they are yours. However, when they're up, you're done, and it's time for the next act. So much build-up, for months even, leading up to those three minutes, and then much of Europe is focused on you for up to 180 seconds. That's intense. And then you get to do it all over again if you advance from the semifinal into the final.
I'm also a supporter of Europe in general. I know that it's a very diverse continent, much more diverse than the United States, obviously, but I love the varied personalities and histories of the assorted places there. I'm also a big soccer (football) fan. Although that sport is getting more popular in the United States every day, it's obviously biggest in Europe. And Eurovision brings together a little of both: Europe (obviously) as well as national teams, so to speak, competing against each to determine the European champion (sort of like the UEFA European Football Championship, well, if Australia was invited too).
However, I do like that the competition aspect is not the sole focus of the artists. Well, at least it's not as much the focus for them as it is for athletes. Many of those performing at Eurovision appear to be more focused on creating art as best as they can, and if they happen to win, great, but they're not nearly as obsessed with winning as athletes are, which is a good thing. They know that with art and with Eurovision, there are way too many variables to be able to know exactly what needs to be done to win, so they don't obsess over it. (Well, except for Russia.)
To clarify that last point, I know that the competition aspect has affected much of the contest, such as the fact that most countries sing in English, the songs tend to not be as traditional as they used to be, etc. But, compared to a professional football competition, the obsession with winning is just not to those levels at Eurovision. At least from what I can tell.
So, once I was introduced to the contest, I was smitten. Of course, it helped that I really liked, "Only Teardrops," and have even listened to her album by that name on numerous occasions. Perhaps due to that, I unfortunately do not remember much else from the 2013 Contest.
Then came 2014. Although "Rise Like a Phoenix" was definitely my least favorite of the four winners since I started following Eurovision, I think that it's awesome that somebody like Conchita Wurst received so much support that she ended up winning, which I'm unsure would happen here, and her being able to win this contest endeared me even more to Eurovision.
I do have a few stronger memories from the 2014 Contest. Ukraine's "Tick-Tock" was catchy. Well, the "Tick-Tock" part of the song was – the rest of the song was forgettable. However, Poland's "My Slowianie – We Are Slavic" had to be the most memorable song from that contest. Even disregarding the, um, provocatively dressed butter churners, I really liked the song – it was definitely my favorite from that show. I also really admired the artistic backdrop that they performed in front of – those red patterns were beautiful. And I do have to admit that I did like that it pushed the limits. In very different ways than Conchita did, obviously, but it was still pushing the boundaries regardless. And the public clearly enjoyed the performance as it finished fifth in the televote versus 23rd by the juries.
But it's 2015 when my passion began reaching obsession levels. That was the year when I started watching all of the videos of the performances as well as listening to audio versions of the songs over and over and over again. My favorites that year included Estonia's "Goodbye to Yesterday," Russia's "A Million Voices," Albania's "I'm Alive," Georgia's "Warrior," San Marino's "Chain of Lights," Iceland's "Unbroken," Sweden's "Heroes," Switzerland's "Time to Shine," Slovenia's "Here For You," United Kingdom's "Still in Love with You" and Germany's "Black Smoke." So, I liked a lot of songs that did not perform very well in addition to the top two, which I probably would have placed one and two in the order that they actually finished. And I also enjoyed listening to many more 2015 songs not listed here. So, yeah, I think this had to have been the year when I had really caught the Eurovision bug full force.
And, finally, 2016, which I thought was an even better contest than 2015. I don't know yet if this is natural (it probably is), but as soon as the 2016 show happened, my interest in continuing to watch and listen to the 2015 songs decreased quite a bit, although I do still enjoy them from time to time. For the following months, I absolutely could not get enough of the 2016 Contest. That has only started to wane four months after the contest aired.
And my obsession started to expand a little bit more. Back in 2013, I searched out some of Emmelie de Forest's other music. However, I had not really done that for any artist since. That changed this year as I started searching out non-Eurovision songs and performances posted to YouTube from several of my favorite artists from this year's contest.
Some of them, despite really enjoying their Eurovision songs and performances, just did not keep my interest when I discovered their other music and other performances. Laura Tesoro and Jamie-Lee are two examples. Loved their Eurovision songs. Didn't really care for their other music.
However, others, like Jamala and Francesca Michielin, really drew me in with their other music. In fact, I like Francesca's other music a lot more than her Eurovision song. Jamala, meanwhile, although "1944" has to still be my favorite song of hers, I was amazed at the incredible career that she has had so far. She is incredibly talented and does an amazing job of emoting throughout many of her songs, which obviously was shown in her winning performance, while also having some pretty fun/random songs too. Zoe's got some catchy songs too, and I have no idea how Austrians did not select, "Quel filou," in 2015, instead bumping it to third and sending The Makemakes, while Dawa finished second in their national selection. Although I do like, "Loin d'ici," "Quel filou" blows it away, in my opinion.
For the record, my favorite songs at the 2016 Contest include Ukraine's "1944," Russia's "You Are the Only One," Bulgaria's "If Love Was a Crime," Belgium's "What's the Pressure," Austria's "Loin d'ici," Italy's "No Degree of Separation," Serbia's "Goodbye (Shelter)," Croatia's "Lighthouse," Germany's "Ghost" and Moldova's "Falling Stars." I also liked Switzerland's "The Last of Our Kind," but all of that squatting was pretty impossible to ignore.
Now, as we start building up to the 2017 Contest, my fandom has started reaching even higher levels. For one thing, I'm going to do everything possible to attend next year's show. Maybe it won't happen, which would be fine, but I'm going to do what I can to make it happen. Secondly, I'm going to actually follow the Eurovision happenings in the months leading up to the Contest, which I had never done before, such as looking for clips of performances at Eurovision in Concert and similar events as well as national finals. I had always watched some of those well after the fact, like after Eurovision airs in May, but now I'm going to keep an eye on those events as they happen. And, of course, I've joined OGAE Rest of the World, so that's yet another step in my fandom/passion/obsession with Eurovision.
I'm unsure what's going to happen after that point. I suppose I could attempt to do something journalist-related, and I do have professional journalism experience, but I'm unsure if I would want to do that even if I was provided or otherwise earned the opportunity as I could also see myself simply being content attending every year and being amongst the fans. Or maybe I will find a way to attend next year in Ukraine and then follow that up with reverting a little, watching it on television/online once again every year. (Although I do have this sneaking suspicion that once I attend one, I'm going to want to return every year.) However, regardless of the level of my fandom in the coming years, I'm sure that Eurovision will always be at least a small part of my life.
German Selection - Back to the roots - by Henrike Hoeren
After some miserable years of results Germans channel NDR has presented the concept to choosethe candidate for Kiev 2017.
* The German selection show will take place in the 9th of February.
* Until the 18th of November singers have the time to apply. From these singers 30 will pass into the second round and 5 will remain for the final in the 9th of February.
* The songs on that night are chosen by producers around Europe especially for Eurovision.
* The presenter of the night will be Barbara Schöneberger, which should be a known face for Eurovision Fans, as she has presented the German results the last years.
* For the first time a European mood test will be calculated with the help of voting of all of Europe via the official app. These voting will not count for the official result, but should give the German public an idea about how the act is viewed by European people.
* The winner will be chosen directly on the 9th of February bypublic vote.
* The whole concept strongly resembles the concept of „Unser Star für Oslo“, which had as a winner Lena. One of the production companies behind the show is Raab TV, the company owned by Stefan Raab. Stefan Raab has proven to be a golden boy for the Eurovision, having competed himself with „Wadde Hadde Dudde Da“ and has been the driving force behind Max Mutzke, Roman Lob and Lena.
The jury of the German selection are made of Lena, Tim Bendzko and Florian Silbereisen. They wont have any power about the official result and will help by commenting and using their expertise.
Lena does not need a lot of explaining to do. With her first victory for Germany since years and her connection to the Eurovision the years after she is a perfect jury member. The last years she has also gained experience in being a jury member with appearances in the show The voice Kids. About the competition she said that she would highly recommend artists to apply as the format has changed her life.
Tim Bendzko knows Eurovision. Tim is a famous German Pop singer, having had his first huge hit in 2011 with his song „Nur noch kurz die Welt retten“. His music is German spoken Pop. In 2012 he was in the German jury of the Eurovision that year. A year later he appeared as a jury for the selection show „Unser Song für Malmö“.
Tim Bendzko at work:
Florian Silbereisen is the face of Schlagermusic in Germany. Born 1981, he has been on the television screen since 2002, moderating big Schlager shows and making his own music. He is also famous for his relationship with the highly admired German Schlagerstar Helene Fischer. They have been a couple since 2008. In 2013 Florian Silbereisen was already in the jury together with Tim Bendzko for „Unser Star für Malmö“. He said in interviews to be very excited about this year and has high hopes.
Florian Silbereisen at work:
What do you think about the concept? Will Germany finally make a comeback in the Top Ten this year?
By Andrew Wortham
It was 2007 a few months before the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki, and Georgia was allowed entry. This had me excited.
My love Affair supporting Georgia each year began when they attended Australia at the Rugby World Cup was back in 2003. They qualified and were taken in by the Australians. Most of the players did not have expensive hotels so many Aussies took the players in to live with them during the cup. I bought the Georgia supporters jersey and people came up and said how great it was for them to be at the World Cup.
To be honest I have never heard of Georgia before, and being on the other side of the world, we have limited information about it, however I did my research and discovered how beautiful the country is. One thing that I absolutely loved about Georgia is the language. The writing is quite distinct, similar to Burmese but completely different.
Eurovision is where I became such a big Georgia fan. To be honest the first song, Visionary Dream by Sopho Khalvashi was a good offering but definately not one of my favorites. Great to see the dancers with Georgian clothing in the background. However in 2018, one of my absolute favorites was Diana Gurtskaya with Peace will Come. The song was pretty amazing, the stage design was fabulous. But what made this song even more amazing was the costume change, a white cloth over all performers who's clothing changed from Black to white in a matter of seconds. And Diana - she is blind. Amazing talent I haven't seen before at Eurovision!
One of the lesser known songs but very dance worthy is "We don't wanna put in" which has pretty controversial lyrics and was rejected by the EBU however I think it would of been a winner. And the lyrics are not as controversial as other songs at Eurovision. The music video is well worth a watch.
Over the years I have put on Eurovision parties, and I have always supported Georgia, until the Three Minutes to Earth came into play in 2014. The song was not popular and was the worst result they have had. That year I supported Montenegro with Sergej Ćetković - Moj Svijet. It was that year that Conchita won for Austria (and I was working for Austrian Airlines at that time) and decided to put my love of Eurovision and actually go there.
With my flag packed in my bag off I went to Vienna for my first every Eurovision song contest - live. With the flag wrapped around me, many Goergians came up to me and surprised that I, as an Australian supported Georgia! Warrior was absolutely amazing, Nina Sublatti's costume was absolutely wonderful and matched the song perfectly. I was close to the front of the stage, waving the flag and she smiled at me, which really mean a lot! The performance was great albeit too much smoke but she did a great job finishing 11th place. I became known as the "Friend of Georgia" when many Georgians came up to me while I was out an about.
This year, I visited Eurovision again, the Eurovision bug hit me hard. Georgia's song this year was not my favorite, however I was waiving the Georgian flag at the red carpet in Stockholm. My support was for Amir from France. However it is funny that listening to Midnight Gold a lot I absolutely love the song.
I have loved Eurovision and also supporting Goergia. Let's be honest when you are in the stadium, not many people are holding the flag, but to show support from one country to another I think that is what Eurovision is about, Building Bridges and Coming together.
Building bridges - Working as a volunteer in Vienna - by Henrike Hoeren
Being a fan of the Eurovision for years I always wondered what the show looks like behind the scenes. How do you organise such a huge event? Due to a lucky break in between jobs I had the chance to work as a volunteer in Vienna 2015 as a Team Leader at the Eurovision Village. Today I would like to share with you a few memories.
The interview for Vienna was in January. I flew in (from Ireland) and had my interview in a hotel later that evening. Beforehand you had to fill out a form about things like your language skills and your dream position. For me that was delegation host of the Dutch Team. The whole atmosphere in the hotel was ecstatic. I got to meet the first volunteers and realised that everyone wanted to be delegation host of some country, so that that was going to be hard. Delegation host means you follow the country crew around to parties, press conference and take care of them. Indeed I got a call about two month later that didn't offer me that job, but instead to become a team leader at the Eurovision Village. Screaming with happiness I accepted.
The first days were exciting and full of information.
First duty that week was a gathering to pick all of goodies, badges and clothes. That year we had everything from the Eurovision, shoes, t-shirt and vests, a mobile phone as a gift - cool! As the first week the Eurovision Village wasn't opened I got to see all of the rehearsals and had time to meet my fellow volunteers.
So much happened during that week, but not to bore you I picked out a few highlights:
HIGHLIGHT 1: Standing on THE stage
One day that week I was on my way home, when a fellow volunteer called me and told me to come the the event hal asap. Without asking I went - and thank god I did. The show was still rehearsing and it turned out they needed light doubles for the singers to test the light. One of the coolest moments- i got to be macedonia, sit in the green room and march to the stage about two times. Standing at the stage was an amazing moment and just then I was already sure that the decision to be a volunteer paid off. Unfortunately there is no picture proof, as we weren't allowed really to make pictures at that point. I just made a very quick shot sitting in the green room.
HIGHLIGHT 2: Being a super fan at the airport
Sitting around at the waiting room we were asked if we would like to act as Azerbaijan Fans for the Azerbaijan television, as Elnur was about to arrive at the airport. No question - of course.
The whole scenario was surreal, we got flags and were told to dress as normal persons. In the whole group I seemed to be the only person, who actually knew how Elnur was looking so I showed pictures around so the group knew who to cheer for. He came out, the television was filming and we were all excited. On the same flight was the winner of that year, Mans, so we got to talk to him
The second week the Eurovision Village opened and for me that meant working really hard and not spending times at the Rathausplatz. Unfortunately the weather was really bad, which made working uncomfortable and we as team leader had to try our best to keep motivated at the Info Desk. Nevertheless I got the chance to meet all of the crazy fans that came from Australia, Mongolia and that I again met in Stockholm.
HIGHLIGHT 3: Israel Party
That year for the volunteers „golden boy“ became the hit. When it was cold, we started dancing to the choreography. At night there was always some party that week from some country. All we wanted was going to the Israel Party and we managed.
Tired, wet and sick me and my team members went, got to see him perform live and danced the night away. Even though sleep was not a big thing in that week, it really got us motivated.
HIGHLIGHT 4: Final at the Rathausplatz
The final at the Eurovision Village has huge. Huge screens and 20.000 people coming to see it. Unfortunately the weather was still not the best - reoccurring in that week. After we closed our info desk, we got to play bouncer at the VIP stages and watched the show with the rest of the people. At one point the organiser let us on the stage for a short moment (see picture), so that was again a surreal moment.
After the show we went to the official after party with all the singers and delegations. It was a super nice moment, as all tension fell off. However everyone of the volunteer was so tired, that we didn't manage to stay long, but we got to see a very sad and drunken Ann Sophie and other countries dancing happy.
Conclusion of this madness: I would do it again in a heartbeat (wordplay here). If you ever have the time - do it! No matter how old you are, the experiences of looking behind the screens is invaluable for any fan.
By Andrew Wortham
In 2015, I walked though the doors of Wiener Stadthalle, not sure what to expect. I knew there was a lot of gay guys back home (Australia) into Eurovision and I wasn't prepared for nearly the whole arena who were LGBTQI!
So why is it that so many LGBTQI people are into Eurovision? The easy answer is that it's fabulous. But over the past two years I have noticed something that is very special about Eurovision and the gay community.
For me it started nearly 20 years ago when a good friend introduced me to Eurovision. Back then I watched Dana International win for Israel at the ESC in 1998. Diva was fabulous, a catchy tune that even to this day I listen as well. Many gay press reported her win and I think many in the community started to find out more about Eurovision which gained it more fans. Of course there was a lot of LGBTQI people into Eurovision before Dana International performed, but I think at this point it opened it up to the larger gay community.
Since then we have seen the demographic of the audience change quite a bit. Now the audience is mainly gay men celebrating the music together. With that the stadiums have become much larger as well. And with Conchita winning at the 2014 Eurovision contest it made a younger generation fall in love with Eurovision, making Vienna sell out within seconds.
We have seen many gay performers over the years, catchy tunes that are fabulous. Who can forget This is My Life by Euroband which everyone sings at numerous Eurovision parties around the world. And then there are the other Divas from Carola to Céline Dion. And ABBA.
But there is one thing that makes going to Eurovision so amazing. Inclusiveness. Its the fact that people don't judge you based on looks which is something prevalent in the gay communities around the world. Here at Eurovision everyone speaks to everyone with no attitude. It's something that the gay community should be but is lacking. And Eurovision is a community where everyone accepts everyone regardless of sex, race, religion or whatever. It is something I am proud to be apart of and something that I really enjoy year after year. Good friends. Great music.