Introducing the team: James

Hey! Well this is interesting isn’t it. Writing a blog post, that’s a new one for me. Hopefully this blog will be worth it, and we have a load of interesting stuff planned to share with the Eurovision fan community.

But first of all, I guess it would help if we introduced ourselves to you all, right?

I have a Zlata t-shirt. Happy.
That’s me. I have a Zlata t-shirt. Happy.

Name: James

Location: United Kingdom

First ESC: 2007 – I watched it with the sole intent of revelling at the misfortune of the UK act Scooch, who I expected to finish just about as low as humanly possible. I had no idea it would develop into a full-scale obsession, but after hearing some of the songs that night, I knew there would be no turning back :’)

Favourite ESC: 2009 – Everything about it was just spectacular on so many levels. The stage, for a start. Just wow. And then the general quality of the songs was so much higher than before, so many of them are still among my all-time favourites.

Least Favourite ESC: Difficult to choose… but I think I’ll have to go with 2010, simply because the results annoyed me so much. Particularly in the semi-finals. Most of my favourites were eliminated before the live finals, with only Albania, Iceland, Ukraine and Germany remaining.

Favourite Winner: Somewhat ironically, I’d say that Lena’s “Satellite” is my favourite winner, with Ruslana’s “Wild Dances” and Helena Paparizou’s “My Number One” as runners-up.

Least Favourite Winner: “Running Scared” by Ell & Nikki. It was just such a wallpaper song, let’s be fair. It was a weak year in my opinion, but how this managed to claw its way to the top I will never understand. Not unless you bring in the arguments about vote-buying and diaspora, but let’s save that for another day, eh?

Favourite ESC Song: “Gravity” by Zlata Ognevich – there is just something about this song that clicked with me from the moment I heard that half-finished live version back in December. The voice, the melody, the instrumentation… It’s just amazing.

Favourite Non-Qualifier: “Horehronie” by Kristina Pelàkovà – I can’t sum up the devastation I felt when that one didn’t go through. Unbelievable. It still hurts. For my personal tastes it had everything. Foreign language, female vocal, ethno-pop backing, random wailed bit after the first chorus, guys dressed up as trees… WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE, EUROPE!?

Top 5 ESC countries:
5) France – If we’re looking at their overall ESC history, then there are just too many strong songs to mention – “Un Jour, Un Enfant” is poignant, “Tom Pillibi” is adorable and “C’est Le Dernier Qui À Parlé…” is just magical. A French-speaker, I’ve enjoyed hearing the diverse genres they’ve offered us in more recent years, with “Allez, Ola, Olé” and “L’Enfer Et Moi” being personal favourites, and “Chacun Pense À Soi” a bit of a guilty pleasure.
4) Bulgaria – Most of the music I listen to outside of Eurovision is Bulgarian, would you believe it. But while I sit here dreaming of the day they send Anelia, their actual Eurovision entries have been pretty good as far as I’m concerned. Who couldn’t love the legend that is Sofi Marinova??
3) Romania – Okay, they are the most hit and miss nation on my shortlist (Cezar… no.) but when they get it right, god do they get it right. “Zaleilah” was pretty much perfect, and I’d say the live vocal of “Let Me Try” is among the best in the history of the contest. More like that please Romania!!
2) Greece – Regardless of how much I love their current trend of catchy laïko-inspired pop numbers, my love of Greece at Eurovision owes more to the absolute masterpieces they sent in the early 90s – “Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida” and “Ellada, Hora Tou Fotos” are two of my favourite songs of all time, pretty much impossible for me to get bored of. And plus, when you can sing every word (well… syllable anyway) of something in Greek… that’s generally a good sign!
1) Ukraine – But my favourite is Ukraine. They have never put a foot wrong in my opinion (apart from 2003, but let’s not go there). This is the country that gave us Ani Lorak, Zlata Ognevich, Svetlana Loboda, Tina Karol and Ruslana. Need I say any more? I just love love love their music and I can’t wait for the day they win again!

Best ESC Memory: Has to be the moment that Rona Nishliu qualified with “Suus”. I’d been a major fan since it was selected but I had this awful feeling that nobody in Europe would get it. Of course, when she ended up 5th on the Saturday, I just… THAT is Eurovision happiness.

Favourite ESC song from the 90s: Gonna say “Fiumi Di Parole” since I haven’t already mentioned it, and I feel like it deserves some love.

Favourite ESC song from the 80s: “La Det Swinge”. And I’ve seen this live. And wow. FABULOUS.

Guilty Pleasure: “party for everybody, dance. come on and dance. come on and dance. come on and boom boom” *proceeds to remove cakes from imaginary oven*

Well thank you for reading through all that! We’re gonna start with some articles in the coming days, but Rory will be introducing himself in a similar way first!

What do you think of my answers? Feel free to share your views in the comments below!

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