ESC Countdown 4 Days: I Miss Jury Rehearsals!

This is a little departure from recent posts, and is more of a personal rant.  Of all the wonderful things I miss from not attending Eurovision in person this year, the one I’m pining for the most might come as a surprise. I REALLY loved going to the three Jury Rehearsal shows, which are the first public dress rehearsals and take place the nights before semis and the Grand Final.

The Jury Rehearsals are watched by the professional juries from each of the participating nations, whose scores have a 50% bearing on the final scores each country awards.  So even though we can can these full show runthroughs a dress rehearsal, none of the artists give anything less than 100% in their performances (if they have any brains in their heads).

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The show is also the very first time anyone sees the full semi or Final as it was designed to be seen, in real time, no do overs, with all the bells and whistles and special effects in place, and before a cheering live audience. When you spend a week at Eurovision with tickets for all the shows, the excitement of the Jury Rehearsals and seeing every performance live on stage for the first time is probably what you remember most fondly.

Of course, there is nothing so much fun as watching the scores mount up on Finals night and hearing the roar as the winner is announced and brought to the stage for their victory lap performance, but the relatively calm and yet focused energy on rehearsal nights is something I will always treasure and look forward to sharing again, maybe next year?

Guess You Have to Enter to Win

Last week I noticed that ESCtoday was having an Instagram contest to win a pair of tickets to see brilliant and hilarious Icelandic diva Hera Bjork perform her show “The Queen of Effing Everything” at the Playhouse theatre here. I had nothing to lose, and gave it a shot.

Guess what? I woke up this morning to an Instagram message on my phone that I was selected as one of 6 winners, so I know what I am doing tonight. My ESC traveling friend Phideaux hasn’t arrived yet, and my Danish friend Christian is busy in the press centre all day and evening, so I think he is connecting me with a friend of his to come along.

Can’t wait to see and hear fantastic Hera, and will try to get pictures at the show tonight.

HeraQOEE

LOGO will air Eurovision Live in US!!

Amazing, stop the presses kind of news for Americans interested in Eurovision! For the first time ever, American fans can watch Eurovision Song Contest LIVE on television in the United States.  No European satellite or cable channels, no playing your internet feed through a smart TV, no gimmicks required beyond a cable or satellite TV subscription.

Viacom announced today that LOGO network will air the complete Eurovision Song Contest as it takes place in Europe, Saturday, May 14th at 3pm Eastern/noon Pacific.  Check to make sure that your tv provider airs the East Coast feed of logo with no three hour Pacific delay (in which case the show will air at 3pm Pacific also).  But just turn on your TV, tune in LOGO network and watch all the festivities and look for me in the front standing section by the stage (I usually find a place on the left side facing the stage).

Here’s the NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/arts/music/eurovision-grand-final-will-air-on-logo-in-us.html?_r=0

This is a delayed case of my manifesting an American broadcast. Years ago I started putting the thought out there to a LOGO producer at my gym that his network would be the perfect demographic to reach Eurovision fans in the US.  His response indicated that he didn’t take the Contest seriously, and he sort of laughed it off.  But somewhere along the line the idea sunk in and here we are.  Maybe it was President Obama mentioning ESC a few weeks ago as a unifying cultural event in Europe…

 

Watch and ENJOY!

STUNNING News About This Year’s Eurovision in Vienna!

(When I saw this on my Twitter feed this morning, I had to check the date to assure myself it’s not April 1.)  EBU and the organizers of this year’s 60th Jubilee Eurovision Song Contest have confirmed that Australia has accepted an invitation to send an entry to participate in this year’s Eurovision Grand Finals.  It’s a one-time-only offer that is part of this year’s theme “Building Bridges”, to invite the land down under to take part in the contest they have loved for so many years.

Unlike the US, where Eurovision is barely heard of, Australia has a long tradition of friends and families getting up early in the morning to watch a local network’s live feed of Eurovision.  In recent years, that network has been SBS, which will be the Australian partner to choose and send an official entry by the cutoff date of March 16.

This may not NECESSARILY be the only time Australia gets to take part.  In the event that Australia’s entry actually wins this year’s competition, they have agreed to organize and present 2016’s event in a European host city.  But in that case only, the Australians will be invited back to submit an entry again next year as a winning nation.aUSTRALIA

Monday Eurovision Village and Semifinal One Jury Show

This afternoon I took Conchita’s Facebook tip about her afternoon performance and hightailed it over to the stage in Eurovision Village to catch her show.  With a stage sound system, she sounded even better than last night at the disco, and I think she’s going to do very well this week.  Here are a couple photos:

Monday-Conchita Monday-Conchita2Then I attended tonight’s first big stage show of Eurovision week, the jury “dress rehearsal” before tomorrow night’s tv broadcast. My mind wasn’t completely changed about any of the entries, though I was not as impressed as I thought I would be by Armenia or Azerbaijan.  I think the winner tomorrow night will be Sweden, Ukraine, or Hungary (though we won’t find out till the end of the week).  And if any of the hopeless entries has the power to surprise and qualify, it could be Portugal, that is upbeat and fun enough to get the crowd going.

Here is a flickr set of the fantastic theatre and great show tonight.

Meanwhile, Sunday at the Euroclub

The Euroclub is a bit out of the way, over in Vesterbro a half hour walk and bus ride from my hotel in the Indre By (downtown area). So I had been a bit hesitant to bother–it’s a late night venue after the shows and events each day for the press and accredited fans to listen to DJs playing Euro-hits, and each night five or six of the competing artists will get up and do a mini-set. I caught a bit of the show on Saturday night, and when my friend Mathias from Germany mentioned that some of the biggest stars this year would be performing on Sunday I made an effort to get there.

Two performers really brought the house down. English/Spanish rock diva Ruth Lorenzo is representing Spain this year, and got up and did a lovely, polished version of her self-penned entry “Dancing in the Rain”. Then her backup girls sang a quick a capella version of “Amazing Grace” while Ruth went backstage to change into something flashy. She came back out in full Tina Turner shimmy dress and scorched the stage with her “Proud Mary”. Then France’s alternative/hiphop party boys TwinTwin came out and did a full set of four songs that got the crowd bouncing. Hersi from Albania performed an accomplished “I Will Always Love You” and then her contest entry.

But the next performer was the one everyone was waiting for and she did NOT disappoint. Conchita Wurst of Austria was the paparazzi’s darling on the red carpet earlier, and she is more and more the fan favorite this year. After she did a vampy version of Cher’s “Do You Believe” and then smouldered through her own “Rise Like a Phoenix”, the crowd simply would not let her leave the stage. She launched into “The Heart Will Go On” from TITANIC, and then had to perform “Rise Like A Phoenix” again a second time to keep the fans from rioting.
CPH-conchita4

When Greece’s Freaky Fortune and Riskykidd took the stage to perform “Rise Up” and then cover some of the past great Eurovision winners, it was time for me to head home–all that stage intensity left me spent.

Oh, one thing that also made my night! Host of the Euroclub stage is Tim Schou, the great-looking lead singer of Denmark’s 2011 popular Eurovision entry A FRIEND IN LONDON. I had met and chatted with Tim last week at LAX as we checked in for the flight to Copenhagen, and he was really cool and friendly. Last night he spotted me from the stage and took a minute to give me a shout out as his friend from LA, and recounted a conversation we had at the airport. So I got my own little moment in the spotlight among all the Eurovision stars.

Emmelie Writes #JoinUs Theme Song for ESC 2014

She had a big task, trying to live up to the massive ESC theme penned by Björn, Benny and Avicii for last year’s final entry procession in Malmö.  But pretty AND talented Emmelie deForest was come up with a theme that will get the fans on their feet to begin this year’s final night of competition in København. She will be joined in song on the big stage by the entries for the 26 countries who ascend to the finals on Saturday May 10.

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Here is a sneak preview of Emmelie’s “Rainmaker”, the #JoinUs theme for this year’s show:

And for comparison’s sake, here is last year’s flag-waving parade of nations: