Editorial: A Eurovision guide to surviving the April drought

The date right now is April 2nd 2014. Just 34 days until the live broadcast of Eurovision 2014’s first semi final, and 38 days until the grand final itself where this year’s overall winner will be chosen! So close… yet so far. Before the sheer joy of Eurovision week; before the nail-biting torture of the semi-finals, even before the commencement of rehearsals, we have an entire month to try and fill. An entire month of practically nothing. How on earth are us Eurovision fans meant to survive the April drought?

Do not fear: Petra Mede shall always be there for you.
Do not fear: Petra Mede shall always be there for you.

We thought we’d be lovely and come up with some suggestions for you, and share stories of how we and other fans tackle the bleak period in between the National Finals and the Eurovision season itself. Because let’s face it, after the high-octane excitement of March, it’s hard to avoid a little Pre-Eurovision depression when you realise we still have WEEKS to wait until it all kicks off in Copenhagen! The most exciting standard updates we’re likely to get are preview videos, minor updates to entries, info about rehearsals, preview parties with live performances etc etc… but on a day to day basis, there’s not a lot for us to do. Here are a few ideas of how you could fill your time, and keep Eurovision fresh for the big week!

1: Try and avoid listening to the 2014 entries

This is going to seem like an incredibly odd suggestion, but it’s what I personally do every year, and it works wonders. To keep the 37 songs fresh and exciting… stop listening to them!

One of the best things about my first Eurovision in 2007 was hearing 24 completely new songs in quick succession, some of which grabbed my euphoric attention in a way that nothing but new music ever can. Naturally, I ordered the official CD as soon as humanly possible, and the day it arrived through my door was the absolute highlight of my year. Since then, the arrival of the CD has been one of the most exhilarating parts of being a Eurovision fan for me each year, but becoming more involved in the national final season has led to the conundrum of having thirty-odd new songs which – if I listened to them online 24/7 as many fans do – would no longer be exciting when they arrived on CD.

Therefore, my solution is to quarantine the Eurovision entries from the night they are selected until the CD is released. Basically, between NF season and Eurovision, I avoid the current year’s entries to the best of my ability. Granted, I’ll listen to thirty-second snippets whilst watching the odd “Top 37” video or following the “Juke Box Jury” series over on ESC Insight, but apart from that, I prefer to distract myself with other songs until the moment I can order the CD.

It is absolute torture sometimes – this year for example, I have found the chorus of my beloved Finnish entry getting stuck in my head at intermittent intervals, and not allowing myself to go and listen to it is excruciating! It’s like “wanna listen to Softengine wanna listen to Softengine wanna listen to Softengine… ugh, you have to settle for Anelia for now, only a few weeks longer maaan”… It is sooo worth it, though. Because, I’m telling you, the feeling I get when it arrives and I can FINALLY listen to the ESC songs to my heart’s content is indescribable. In addition, when the contest itself rolls around, you’re watching a series of songs which you genuinely love and enjoy listening to, not ones that you’ve become bored of from weeks of overplaying. It makes sense, doesn’t it. That, my friends, is true Eurovision joy, and it’s worth every second I spend ignoring this year’s cohort during April.

2: Watch last year’s DVD back again

No actual Eurovision for a few weeks? Dayum. Well, the next best thing is available, and that is of course reliving the previous year’s Eurovision action on DVD. I find April is a brilliant time of year to rewind twelve months and enjoy the contest which paved the way for the one you’re about to experience in a month’s time. I myself watched 2013 again on Friday night (let’s ignore the fact that it was still technically March at that point, shall we 😛 ) and it’s amazing how many things you tend to forget – for example:

  • How incredible Zlata Ognevich was, in every single way possible
  • How downright IRRITATING Dina Garipova’s backing singers were
  • How much Roberto Bellarosa looked like a bushbaby
  • Birgit was pregnant!?
  • That Armenia-Netherlands-Romania run in the middle was truly horrific
  • Bonnie Tyler really could not sing to save her life
  • ByeAlex seemed to have a repertoire of facial expressions more limited than Kristen Stewart.
  • Carola being blown over by her wind machine
  • How SASSY Petra Mede’s comments were during the voting. Seriously. I was HOWLING.
  • "Hthenk you fer thees amayzink and beaudiful show you khmed to-htonight.... vi enjoyed it wery match" "That's nice"
    “Hthenk you fer thees amayzink and beaudiful show you khmed to-htonight…. vi enjoyed it wery match”
    “That’s nice”
  • The contest REALLY overran didn’t it!?
  • Anmary legit tried to give  Petra a shitty handful of flowers THROUGH THE CAMERA. “these are for you” *awkward silence*
  • Joanna Dark legit called Malmö “Malmoo”.
  • Montenegro’s spokeswoman was extremely pissed about “Igranka” not qualifying, wasn’t she. (Rightly so, of course…)
  • Lena. Just. Lena.
  • That silly announcement of the winner before the voting was even finished!? I felt sorry for Cyprus man.

Sometimes, you just need to sit back and enjoy the bits of last year’s show that were obscured by alcohol first time round, ey? And the April drought is most certainly a prime time to do it!

Petra’s comments during the voting are just too funny. All of the above are included in this video – watch from 3:45 to see Belarus, Latvia and Bulgaria all in a row. BRILLIANT!

3: Vote, vote, vote, vote!

There are countless fan polls and contests organised all over the internet at this time of year, all vying to find out which of the 2014 entries are your favourites! If, unlike me, listening to this year’s entries is all you find yourself doing at the moment, why not share your views with everybody else? Loads of people are posting their ranking of all the entries, be it as a list or as a snazzy YouTube video – tell the rest of the fan world what you think!

*shameless plug alert* – you could also take the time to rate each entry individually in our very own Pre-Contest Vote here on ESC Views. We would really appreciate it if you got involved, and we love hearing what you think of each song! Click here to find out more and cast your votes!

4: Rearrange the running order yourself

Rory made his own version of the running order before it was announced...
Rory made his own version of the running order before it was announced…

This suggestion would have been more applicable last year, as SVT made us wait a lot longer for the confirmation of the semi-final running order; but something you might like to try is to arrange/predict the running order based on the criteria stated by the EBU: making each entry stand out in its own right. This may seem a little irrelevant since we already have ourselves a running order for the 2014 semi-finals, but it might still be fun to have a go rearranging them however you think would be better suited!

5: Go along to a preview party

Eurovision in Concert, London Preview Party, countless others besides… there are a plethora of preview shows coming up in the next few weeks, where artists from this year will join special guests and fans to promote their entries – often with live vocals to match. This can be a fab opportunity to see how certain entries work on stage, and how they are received by live fan audiences, even if you can’t make it in person. However, if you can afford the time and the money, it’s well worth taking a trip to one of these preview concerts to see it with your own eyes! Unfortunately both of us don’t have the money to go this year, but it’s definitely something I’ve heard recommended from friends who have attended in the past!

6: Look into the artists’ back-catalogues

You’ll probably already know that I’m a fan of this, if you saw our Top 30 counting down the best other songs by ESC artists last year. Still: in the context of 2014, you’ve been given thirty-seven potentially new artists to get obsessed with! Hallelujah! 😀 One possible way to spend your April could be to look into the past releases of all the artists taking part in this year’s contest – there are some absolute gems just waiting to be discovered! In the case of more established artists such as Tijana Dapcevic, Ilse DeLange, Sergej Cetkovic, Tanja, Mei Finegold, Emma Marrone and Sanna Nielsen, the amount of potential fabulousness you could unearth is mind-boggling…

7: Look back at the National Finals

Again, useful if you’re looking for new music to distract you from the fact that Eurovision is still weeks away. If you’ve been listening to the 2014 entries on repeat for aaaages, chances are you may be getting a little bored. What better excuse to head back into the national final season, and check out the ESC entries that could have been? Rory and I will be putting together a countdown of the best National Final entries ever in the coming weeks, so if this is something you’d like to do, we can help you find the best ones! Otherwise, you could sit and wonder how much more amazing the contest would have been if “Saule Riet” had won instead of “Cake to Bake”…

8: Plan a Eurovision Party

Think I put a bit too much effort in with the flags last year...
Think I put a bit too much effort in with the flags last year…

In the last couple of years, I have hosted a Eurovision party for my friends – none of whom are really big fans of the contest, but all of whom generally enjoy it once we all get together to watch the final. It’s great fun, as I’m sure you’ll know if you’ve done similar things yourself. Everything that comes together as a Eurovision party takes a hell of a lot of planning though, so it might be an idea to start thinking about what you want to do now! Especially with regards to making sure you have enough alcohol in the house to cope with seven people all simultaneously playing a Eurovision drinking game!!

Your Views:

Nick van Lith from the Netherlands: To get through April I listen to the entries, rank them and I look back on national finals. Another thing I never get tired of, are the endless discussions among Eurovision fans. Mostly those are hilarious.

John Tierney from the United Kingdom: I agree with Nick; I enjoy comparing the various Tops which appear on youtube and the ensuing discussion threads.

Jack Cuffe from the United Kingdom: I have an introduction series on my site. Where I share my opinions on all the competing entries.. 🙂

Anthony Ko from Slovenia: Eurovision In Concert’s on Saturday, then the London Eurovision preview party next weekend.

Our suggestions might be obvious, or they might be downright weird, who knows. It seems that the majority of fans really enjoy the list-making and debating process which occurs every year following the selection of all the entries – are you the same? How do YOU make it through the April drought? Any more thoughts to add to our list? Do feel free to leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

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