Anyone who knows me knows I love the Eurovision. I’m Australian. It’s in my blood. My husband accepted a London job offer on the strength of, among other things, being able to vote in the competition. After discovering and totally falling for Jedward when they represented Ireland in 2011, I followed them last year to the contest in Baku, when they once again took on Europe. I had the time of my life. I was hooked.
This year however I wavered. Did I want to go to Sweden? Could anything live up to the life-changing experience that was Baku? I needn’t have worried. After finally booking my trip in March this year, I managed to secure a ticket the last rehearsal before the grand final. It was a seat up in the gods, but it was only £17, and well worth every penny of it.
Malmo Arena has an audience capacity of 11,000. This year’s ESC was considered a more austere event than the over-the-top glitz and glamour of Baku and Dusseldorf. Did I notice? Not one bit! The Swedes love their Eurovision, and as a consequence, they do it well. On my way home from Baku last year, I happened to chat with Christer Bjorkman, who was the head of the Swedish contingent. He told me that they had been preparing for ESC ’13 as early as January that year – ie from January 2012. When it comes to Eurovision, Sweden are the masters of it, and it shows.
Highlights of the show – apart from the atmosphere, which, from where I was sitting, among Swedish families, was pretty electric, include host Petra Mede, a dazzling performance from Belarus’s Alyona Lanskaya, who emerged from a giant disco ball (below), the winner, Denmark’s Emmelie De Forest, and a stunning interval performance from the inimitable Loreen.
Additionally, I loved Sweden’s entry for this year, Robin. Like I said, Sweden do Eurovision properly. The Swedish selection for Eurovision is a long and laboured process called “Melodifestivalen”, run and televised by TV station, Sveriges Television.
50 of Sweden’s 51 entries in the Eurovision have been winners of Melodifestivalen. Robin was therefore no exception. His song, “You” is a boppy number with a catchy beat – you can only imagine the reaction in the arena when he came onto the stage!
Honorable mention goes to Romania’s Cezar, with his soaring falsetto, was another memorable performance! Described as a “gay vampire” he was the very epitome of Eurovision style.
I must also put in a plug for the divine diva that is Bonnie Tyler. She has a VOICE, and she totally rocked her performance.
Eurovision 2014 will be hosted by Denmark. I’ve already booked by accommodation. Shall I see you there?
Loreen, winner of Eurovision 2012
Petra Mede, host of Eurovision 2013
Emmeilie De Forest, of Denmark, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, 2013
ALL PHOTO CREDIT GOES TO LISA HAFEY