‘Though I hail from Melbourne, Australia, my first live ESC broadcast was with a cluster of classmates, huddled round a transistor radio in a cabin on a snow-covered Norwegian mountain, back in “distant 1980”. Sadly, Sámiid Aednan came equal last, but I was bemused and chuffed when victory went to a then-obscure Australian-born Irishman. From that point on, the ESC was in my blood – though it became a full-blown, incurable infection from 1999 onwards, with each year somehow bringing greater fascination with, and appreciation of, the many and varied facets of the contest. My tastes have tended to attract me more to entries from the ‘bad old days’ than to those from recent times: Tu Te Reconnaîtras (Luxembourg 1973) is probably my favourite winner to date. On a whim, I co-wrote and submitted (unsuccessfully) a song for consideration as Australia’s 2015 entry – an exhilarating exercise! For my sins, I now find myself inaugural Secretary of Australia’s official ESC fanclub, Eurovision Song Contest Fans of Australia Network (ESCFAN), a young but rapidly expanding organisation. I’ve managed to get to the ESC in person only once so far (2010, with two young Eurovisionista offspring in tow) but hope for a further in-the-flesh attendance in the near future.’
Check out the ESCFAN site here.
‘Hi, I’m Fraser, and I’ve been a Eurovision fan since 1998. I have been enjoying the show on television since then, organising annual parties with friends from all over the country. I was lucky enough to attend the 2013 contest in Malmö, Sweden, and it was such a fantastic experience that I decided to go to Vienna in 2015 as well. I am also one half of ESC TMI, a fun and light-hearted Eurovision review show on YouTube. I am a complete Eurovision tragic – it’s the only way to be!’
‘Hej! I’m James, a 20-year-old Creative Writing student at Edge Hill University (which, if you read the EBJ reviews last year, you’ll know already, so I shan’t bore you by repeating all that again…or will I?). I like music, cocktails, writing and making people happy – and Eurovision, of course! I was incredibly excited to host my annual Eurovision party this year, and indoctrinate a load of my non-fan friends with the 2016 line-up. It went well – I even managed to get a couple of them to use the Gerbear sorter thing (which of course requires them to have listened to, and formed opinions on all 43 songs…so how’s that for progress!?). This is all helped by the fact that this year, on the whole, is pretty awesome!’
‘Hi there – I’m Martin from Bristol in the UK. You know, the guy from the Maltese ‘selfie backdrop’ in Copenhagen. What do you mean, you didn’t see me? I was in the far left hand corner at the top…tsk! You are more likely to recognise me if you follow Eurovision blogs – ‘Let Me Be The One: Eurovision Through The Ages’ and ‘Eurovision Beauty’ are my efforts at inflicting my thoughts and preferences on this contest that we’re all mad about! I love reviewing all Eurovision entries (whether internally selected, through a national final or at the ESC itself) and I’m now getting into the swing of doing so in an ‘official capacity’, having been on the OGAE SCC UK jury for two years now, and on this year’s SECHUK jury. My personal Eurovision history? First ESC remembered – 1975, The Shadows coming second (my blog name make sense now?). Favourite ESC – 2013, so many great entries and the inspiration for starting my Eurovision writing. Favourite entries – L’Oiseau et L’Enfant (vocals) and Fairytale (staging). Special mention – Ray Caruana with Scarlet Song, which came 2nd in 1994 Maltese NF (it would have beaten Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids hands down in Dublin, easy!).’
That’s the official and highly secretive code name of my mother, who has agreed – willingly, I swear – to lend her ears and thoughts to some Eurovision-related reviews multiple times in the past. Via her verdicts on a range of JESC/ESC entries, she’s proven to be just as critical and catty as I was hoping (I guess it runs in the family) and she’s more than ready to whip the claws out whenever necessary. Though she still isn’t prepared to let me plaster her photo all over the internet. Sadface.
‘Hei! It’s your favorite Eurovision-loving Texan! In case you’ve forgotten (or not seen the overly-flattering picture right above this), I’m Nick, and I’m a first-year uni student currently living in Dallas, Texas. I’ve been in love with the ESC since the summer of 2010, when I randomly came across Lena’s Satellite while looking for an episode of Top Gear. Since then, I’ve developed an affinity for the contest’s ability to push the ends of the spectrum, from hilarious performance numbers to songs that linger around the top of my ‘Most Listened’ playlist in iTunes. 2016’s been a special year for me, since it marked my second trip to the big show – and consequently, a chance to FINALLY meet our lovely headmistress in person after four years of online companionship.’
‘Hi, I’m Penny! *waves from behind laptop*. I’m a uni student living in southeast Michigan, USA – a.k.a. where Eurovision only shows up in a tiny corner on the back pages of Time Magazine every 2-3 years. I first discovered the contest in 2010 through reading Scandinavia and the World and clicking a YouTube link to Norway’s winning entry from the year prior, and I’ve been watching the ESC (and annoying friends about the contest) since 2011. My favourite entries are those that tell stories, the top two being Fairytale (Norway 2009) and My Star (Latvia 2000) – but anything goes!’
‘Hello everyone! My name is Rory Gannon and I’m from the Emerald Isle of Ireland. I’ve been watching Eurovision every year since around 2006 (memories of Lordi are hauntingly familiar!), and from 2013 to late last year – along with James, who you all know as the one who went on the most massive of rants against PKN last year – I was co-founder of the Eurovision website ESC Views (CAAAAASUAL PLUG!). Unfortunately, I had to leave because trying to maintain a website and succeed at school is something that I apparently can’t do…but I’ve left the blog in the hands of someone who’ll hopefully carry it on! When it comes to Eurovision, I have very different taste to the casual, everyday fan. For example, I placed Sweden last in my ranking last year, which sparked a pretty massive backlash….it doesn’t really bother me though!’
‘I’m Wolfgang, from the centre of (Western) Germany: precisely, from a town near Essen next to Düsseldorf, Eurovision’s 2011 host city. I’ve been a Eurovision addict since 1974, due to the brilliant victory of Sweden’s ABBA that year. Eurovision has always been a big part of my life, but since the 1998 edition, the year I had my first live experience and my favourite ESC memory, I am a totally obsessed super-fan of the greatest show on the planet! My most loved songs are The One That I Love by Chiara, Stronger Every Minute by Lisa Andreas, and Lane Moje by Željko Joksimović. And when I’m not listening to Eurovision music (which almost never happens), I like to read my holy Eurovision bible by John Kennedy O’Connor (the important part of the photo above). I headed off to Sweden this May for yet another ESC live attendance, and I’ll never forget the three perfectly-organised shows with some amazing artists and great songs; Gamla Stan and the ABBA Museum; and, most importantly, meeting my favourite Eurovision blogger in the Eurovision universe (that is Jaz!), in the flesh.’
Follow Wolfgang on Twitter here.
Want to have your say on EBJ? Express your interest in contributing to the never-ending Eurovision discussions (it’s more fun than partying with the Buranovskiye Babushki!) in the comments, on social media, or via the ‘Contact Jaz’ page above 🙂