Happy 1st Birthday ESC Views!

The date today is Tuesday 10th June 2014… which means it is exactly one year since we set up this little blog of ours! To celebrate this special occasion (well, we’re counting it as a special occasion in any case…), we thought we’d put together this post to wander down memory lane and pick out our personal highlights from our first year of Eurovision blogging, as well as pay tribute to some of you amazing fans and readers who have been there with us along the way! As Anna Vissi would say – “Welcome To The Party“!!

#JoinUs to celebrate the blog's first birthday!
#JoinUs to celebrate the blog’s first birthday!

A few quick stats:

So, ESC Views has existed for 365 days as of today! Here are a few quick stats to sum up what’s been achieved in the last year, before we get into the more personal memories etc.

Total number of articles: 215

Total number of comments (including pingbacks): 675

Facebook likes: 117

Twitter followers: 673

Total number of blog views: 34,282

It may not seem like much when compared to other more high-profile ESC blogs and websites, but for us, the idea that the articles we have written have been voluntarily read by so many people is truly overwhelming and something we are both very proud of. In addition, we’ve had people from all over the world click onto the blog – everywhere from the Netherlands to Armenia to San Marino to Sweden. Outside of Europe, we’ve had views from countries as widespread as the USA, Thailand, Nigeria and Guam. Aha, Guam, a pacific territory whose population is similar to my hometown. Incredible. We’d like to say thank you to every single one of you!

Most views by country:
United Kingdom – 6150                                                          Finland – 1284
United States – 3003                                                              Belgium – 1252
Germany – 2035                                                                     Australia – 1208
Armenia – 1937                                                                      Sweden – 1046
Netherlands – 1568                                                                Portugal – 976

Best Eurovision moments from the last year:

James –

1 – The national final season

2014 was the first time I PROPERLY followed the national final season, having dipped in and out of it previously, mainly with a view to poaching competing songs and complaining loudly of their failure to win the ticket to Eurovision! However, this year, I paid close attention to every show I watched, as well as appreciating the extra music, and I have to say that on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sitting down on a Saturday night to juggle livestreams was admittedly chaotic at the time, but I look back on it now with an already nostalgic fondness. Particular highlights for me would have to be Finland’s UMK as it was a hands-down brilliant show, and Malta’s MESC, simply for the amount of ROCS GROUP jokes those ad breaks triggered!

2 – The Common Linnets just… well… existing

I am so freaking happy that Ilse DeLange and Waylon created the Common Linnets project, even if it was sadly short-lived. Their sublime Eurovision entry “Calm After The Storm“, along with their stunning debut album will always remain very special legacy to a whirlwind six month fairytale which saw two enviably talented musicians collaborate to create some of the best music Eurovision has ever heard.

+ Topi Latukka’s face.

Hey.
Hey.

Rory –

1 – The national final season!

Yeah yeah, I’m repeating James for the number one point, but you have to admit, it really was absolutely amazing to cover the show with James and indeed you, the fans! I had only partially covered the NF season in 2013 when I had my own little blog that’s now more than defunct – Eurovision Guy. I had only just posted things about the winners and everything, but when I covered this year’s NF season, I definitely can say I enjoyed it sooooo much more than I did when I did it on my own. If I hadn’t covered this year’s finals, I wouldn’t have come across some of my favourite artists now like Uli Rud, or MarieMarie – heck, or even Elaiza! So with this year, I’m actually so happy I covered it – this blog has actually helped me to widen my surprisingly self-declared narrow-mindedness towards music and singers etc. So to you guys, thank you so so much for that! ❤

2. Donatan and Cleo – the Queen of Sass!

You cannot believe how much I adore ‘My Słowianie’ – well, you can if you’re my friend on Facebook, because the amount of times I talk about Cleo is just (probably) very annoying to everyone. ‘My Słowianie’ is probably the one song I listen to at LEAST once a day and even though it may seem like the song will lose it’s feel on you and you end up hating it, I can absolutely guarantee you that this is not the case. I’ve even taken the liberty of showing my love for Cleo *lol 😉 * by drawing her…to the best of my absolute ability!

Yes, I screwed up her neck, but hey I've fixed it now!
Yes, I screwed up her neck, but hey I’ve fixed it now!

Cleo, you really are the absolute Queen of Sass and I would sincerely like to thank you for being so sassy…and I swear to God, I want your long hair SOOOOOO bad!!!! Thank you for making this year soooo awesome!!

Now, shall we move on to the next section?

Memorable articles from the blog in the last year:

James –

1 – “Top 10: Fanwank failures at ESC”
The reason this particular article is a highlight for me is the phenomenal response it got from the fans. We posted it in late September last year, and it was one of the top tens which I had really been looking forward to writing regardless, as it was a real opportunity for a good old rant! Still, at this point none of our articles had amassed more than 100 views… so imagine our sheer surprise when this one was read by no less than 500 people in less than 24 hours! Both of us were completely blown away by how many people seemed to be interested in it, and the absolute highlight for me was when it came up on my Facebook timeline, shared spontaneously by somebody else! I’ll always remember that as the moment we felt our little blog had finally ‘made it’ in some degree.

2 – “NF Season: This week’s national final previews (February 24th – March 2nd)
Picture the scene: it’s December, and Rory and I are discussing how we should tackle the upcoming national final season, foreseeing that thirty-seven selection events would be one hell of a challenge for two people to try and cover in any level of detail. We came up with the idea of previewing national finals weekly, instead of individually, thinking that this would take less time and require less detail…

OH HOW WRONG WE WERE!! Come the end of February, and we were faced with the conundrum of one particular week containing no less than SIX national finals… I started the preview article on a Monday night, and it literally took over my life. From then until late on the following Wednesday, I was spending every spare minute chipping away at it – free lessons in college, spare half-hours on an evening, late into the night, literally all the time available was spent rambling on about Sandra Nurmsalu, Twin Twin, Vilija and seemingly everyone in between. I’m personally proud of how it turned out, but nevertheless, the article must have been an absolute marathon to read too, so for anyone who did sit through all or any part of it, THANK YOU SO MUCH ❤

Again, the icing on the cake with this one was when our friend Dan shared the article on Facebook with the following lovely introduction:

Thanks Dan :)
Thanks Dan 🙂

Things like that really make Eurovision blogging worthwhile. 🙂

Rory –

1 – “Hersi Matmuja speaks to ESC Views!

In early January of this year, I had managed to friend Hersi Matmuja on Facebook and we started to talk and I eventually asked her if James and I would be able to send her a few questions to answer some time. This is the *absolutely fabulous* result – our first ever interview with a Eurovision artist. This interview also was conveniently, our 100th post, which in my eyes, was also a huge milestone. After Hersi, we also managed to score some interviews with Mei Finegold, Sebaltertwice and even the eventual winner, Conchita Wurst. We also had the help of our good friend Nikita Volkov, who got the Conchita interview for us, along with so many others when he was at the London Eurovision Preview Party, but this article will always be my favourite interview, because it was the first one and that feeling you have when you do something and it feels great – that’s the feeling I’ve attached here ❤ Like come on, who can’t love this face?

2 – “Top 10: JESC songs that would have been better off at ESC

This is almost going to mirror James’ post about the NF season article which our friend Dan shared on Facebook..however, this is a little bit of a variant of that. I had written this on the day that Mei Finegold was selected to represent Israel – and I can remember that because I remember seeing the confirmation a couple of hours after I had written the ‘Rumour Has It’ article. Anyway, I had written this in the hope of doing an opposite article regarding ESC songs that would have better off at JESC, but that never materialised…yet. However, with the amount of top 10s we’ve done, I wasn’t expecting anything to really come of it. Then, THIS happened.

Just......wow.
Just……wow.

ESC Insight, one of Eurovision’s more acclaimed websites reposts our article on Tumblr. Sure, they make a few suggestions to swap ‘Mari Dari’ with ‘Angely Dobra’, but the sheer fact that they reposted OUR post. Us – a small blog that is only tiny against people like ESC Insight or escXtra. I was just sooo happy! Thank you to whoever reblogged it!!!

Time to move on to the next – and last – section!

Our favourite contributions from fans and readers:

James – 

1 – Top 30: Other songs by ESC artists

When we posted our Top 30 of the best other songs by ESC artists, I found all of the responses really interesting, as everyone came up with really interesting answers and suggested brilliant songs I’d never even heard before! The answers from Bessa and Anders in this article stuck with me in particular:

Bessa Halimi from Albania: I like so many other songs by ESC artist: let’s begin with Loreen and the song I have been listening recently: “My Heart Is Refusing Me“. Also I ADOREEEE this song [Rona Nishliu – Shko Pastro Pas Saj], such an emotional and deep song, it somehow describes a period  of my life that I have been through

Anders Bach-Vilhelmsen from Denmark: I love this song by Rita (Israel 1990) – “Bo“. Also another fabulous song from Françoise Hardy 😀 (Monaco 1963) – “Le Temps De L’Amour

2 – “Editorial: Deconstructing the misconceptions of ‘plagiarism’

In looking for fan opinions surrounding the topic of plagiarism at ESC, I’m sure many many people would have had things to contribute on both sides of the debate. However, the “your views” section of the eventual article features just one view… and that’s because our great friend Nick had so many interesting opinions on the subject that we just had to include them all. Thank you again Nick, for this thoughtful comment:

Nick van Lith from the Netherlands: Eurovision is a competition where no song is allowed to have existed in any form before entering the competition. That’s why I personally had a problem with one of the songs in last year’s German national final, Ave Maris Stella. That rule however gets a lot of attention from fans who all want to make sure that a song fits the criteria EBU set. That then also gets moved to the negative side, when people decide to randomly keep attacking songs and their composers for being ‘plagiarised’. It’s absolute ridiculous nonsense. Thomas G:son, who reacted on the Glorious/Euphoria case last year, was oh so right: 10,000s of songs have the same courses, because pop music lives by the same rules. You cannot avoid songs sounding the same and you will never avoid it.
The issue with fans going crazy for plagiarism must have started back in 2001, when Sweden’s entry indeed was too similar to Belgium’s 1996 entry. Ever since, plagiarism has been a favourite topic of many fans, often without even making sense. Just think of the K-Otic/Emmelie de Forest case… That absolutely made zero sense and if I may use this space to call for it: If you’re a fan, stop blatantly accusing songs of plagiarism. It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make anyone happy and it ruins the fun.

Rory –

For me, I only have one favourite comment from the mountains of comments we’ve received from people from all over the globe – sorry James! Monika Trzebińska is a Polish editor for ESCDaily and when I posted the article below, she gave us all some interesting information about Margaret and her own personal opinion towards the possibility of the young girl going for Poland. Dziękuję Monika!

1 – “Possible Artists: Poland

Monika Trzebińska from Poland: She [Margaret] released her debut EP few days ago. When it comes to the video concerning live session..I think it went really good ’cause it’s just the beginning of her career. Also, she’s studying English philology so her English sounds nice at least. Moreover, she won 2nd price during Festival in Karlshamn, Sweden.

So… there we have it! The summary of our first year as a blog! 🙂 Yet again, we’d just like to thank every single one of you who has read, liked, commented, shared or contributed views – having such a fab response from fans is what has made this last year so enjoyable for both of us, and we can’t wait to share more of our ideas with you! So happy birthday to ESC Views, and here’s to the next year!

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