What a moment!

So the ESC circus is off to Germany in 2011!  What a great night and what great entertainment. Poor Josh – although a bottom five finish was always on the cards, with a field of strong songs and a rather weak entry from the UK.

Germany are deserved winners.  Lena proves once again, perhaps, that teenagers might be deciding the winner of the ESC. We’ve had three relatively young winners since 2008, and songs which seem to sit more comfortably within mainstream popular music. I’ll be interested to see if Lena cracks the top 40 in the UK – Alexander Rybak made it into the top 10 with his winning song last year.

I had great seats on Saturday night.  Even though I was at the back of the arena I was in the raised seats section, so I had a stunning view of the stage – and it looked great as the show began…. 

Lena takes to the stage after her victory…

My fave song started with two ‘douze point’ and there was ‘a little bit of wee’ from me for a moment! It finished in fifth place. Here’s a pic I took in the semi-final which I really like…

I can’t wait to see the show unfold on television, as all the little accents (like the ‘Eurovision aura’ forming the map and flag of each country) and good humour of the hosts looked really effective on the screens in the arena.

Of the three Eurovision finals that I have been to this was my favourite.  Although I have to say that the 8 days that I have spent in Olso were exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure.  There are late nights and early mornings, and with a mixture of my coverage of the ESC *and* the launch of the Eurovision Research Network (ERN), those of us involved in the ERN have felt a different pressure this week.

I am very pleased to report that the launch of the ERN was a huge success. The panel discussion on Thursday was well attended, and one of the eager contributors was Paddy O’Connell (second from left, below), the BBC reporter and commentator for the semi-finals.

On Friday the University of Oslo hosted a symposium for us, with a selected number of contributors presenting aspects of their research to date and open discussions as to what might follow.  Again, well attended and we have even heard on the grapevine that the EBU sent people to view (spy on!) the events, as we hope to have their acknowledgement of our existence before the contest in Germany next year.



I think that Karen, Toni and I are relieved that the launch has finally happened.  We had been working on it for several months, and as co-executive members and founders of the network it’s fantastic that we have received international press coverage and genuine interest in the fact that research into the Eurovision is happening, and people want to know more. BTW: I was also profiled in the Times Higher Supplement last week, and I’ve not read it yet so I’ll have to see how I was reported… Oh, and we were filmed and interviewed by an Australian film crew (staffed by fellow Brits Steve and Rebecca) for a documentary co-production for More4.  I know – we joked that we had our own film crew for a few days!

 So, the week has been hectic and hilarious, as well as exhilarating and exhausting – but I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to be in Olso and at the centre of the Eurovision universe.  That said, I’m not sure I’ll be going to Germany next year.  I’ll certainly not be there for the final. I fancy being with friends at home for a change – and it’s always good to change the routine from time to time. I have had the pleasure of the company of my good friend (Professor) Brian Singleton at the past three contests, and sat with him at the last two.  He’s managed to keep my ‘Euro mojo’ going when I’ve felt a bit low and needed a boost.  He manages to be passionate about the ESC as a fan *and* as a scholar.  He sees them in equal measure, but manages to not suck the life out of the thing. His friendship and good humour has been the tonic to my gin this week.

 One final thought: if you have followed my Eurovision exploits over the last three years you might remember when I reported one of the funniest things I have heard whilst doing this blog. Back in 2008 (in Belgrade) a woman who was sitting behind me – having seen the Latvian entry “Pitates of the Sea” being performed – turned to her friend and said ‘you can see better than that at Butlins’.  It was just the funniest thing I heard!

 Well, my mum provided the classic moment this year. As the first semi-final came to a close I received a text message from her.  I presumed there would be a comment about one of the songs, or given that her son is in Olso covering the event there would be something Eurovision related? I opened the text message to read ‘the kitchen looks good’… you see she’s having the kitchen done up! It was a reminder that the real world marches on whilst I’m at the centre of the Eurovision universe! 😀

Right, time to leave the Eurovision bubble for another year. And I can’t believe I’m going to say it – but thanks for ‘sharing the moment’ with me.  I hope I’ve managed to add a little something to your Eurovision moments once again

So, that’ll be Oslo then…

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