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Aussie fan of the week - Aaron

What is your name and where are you from?

Aaron Bakota, and I’m a Western Australian that’s lived in Queensland since 2010.

Tell us something interesting about you?

I’m a distinctly average chess player, a big cricket fan and I really enjoy following the AFL. Being West Australian, and from a family where nothing else is acceptable, I’m a West Coast supporter. I am a Masters (Accounting) student and enjoy reading about politics, economics and personal finance. Eurovision fandom is the most exciting bit about me!

On to Eurovision itself – when did you first get into the contest?

2012 - One of my friends was into it so I was hearing about it in Year 12 of high school when the songs were coming out and then my English teacher showed us some of the mad entries from 2011 (Moldova’s crazy hats and zany staging!). I was hooked. It took a few years for me to start being an OTT fan (the variety that gets up crazy early for national finals) but that’s the start of it.

You're not the first person we've seen that had a teacher introduce them to the contest... good to see our education system is working well and teachers are doing the right thing! ~ Aussievision

Do you have a favourite Eurovision year? Why is it your faviourite?

The first one I got up and watched live was Denmark 2014 when Jessica Mauboy was our first (albeit non-competitive) representative, and that edition was exceptional. 2014 and 2015 were the best I’ve seen for the quality of the songs, but 2014 squeaks it because it had “Something Better” (Hello, Softengine!). The award for best live TV broadcast is reserved for Sweden 2016 though, that was incredible.

Both great years and I love Softengine ~ Mike

Which Eurovision song:

Is your favourite?

Excuse me while I take a six month break to mull this over. Seriously, though, my two favourites are “Moj svijet” – Sergej Cetkovic (Montenegro 2014) for the powerful and touching nature of his the performance (and *that* introduction) and “Leave Me Alone” - Hanna Pakarinen (Finland 2007). You can’t start a stage show like that and then expect me to walk away. I love pyrotechnics and rock music at Eurovision, and this was the best way to back up Lordi’s win.

Is overrated?

I hate to say it, but I think 2015 had at least five other songs that would have been better winners than “Heroes”. Great song, very well staged, but there are five in that top ten that were better in my opinion (“A Million Voices”, “Grande Amore”, “Rhythm Inside”, “Love Injected” and “A Monster Like Me”).

We do see Heroes come a lot I must say!

Was robbed?

Europe ruined my contest by shooting Blackbird down in the semi-final last year. That song always got me when I played it, and I got very emotional seeing Norma John on the stage in Kiev, so I was shattered when it didn’t qualify.

Had the best live performance?

It’s a tie between “Birds” – Anouk (Netherlands 2013) and “Amar Pelos Dois” – Salvador Sobral (Portugal 2017), and that’s because they’re pretty much the same. Small stage surrounded by a crowd that’s totally on board with the mood and the attitude of the song. I love it. Big stages and flash LEDs are not necessary if you can sell your message in the performance.

Did you last play?

“Autumn Leaves” – Daniel Kajmakoski (FYR Macedonia 2015), “Bistra voda” – Regina (Bosnia and Herzegovina 2009) and “Et s’il fallait le faire” – Patricia Kaas (France 2009)

Bistra voda and Patricia Kaas are brilliant

Is your guilty pleasure?

“Igranka” – Who See (Montenegro 2013). It makes no sense to me, and the whole astronaut concept on stage didn’t help things, but it’s so catchy and enjoyable.

People really love this don't they? We don't really get it at all but hey each to their own!

Any other interesting honourable mentions?

Some countries always nail it. Hungary, Italy, Norway, and Ukraine all come to mind, but Finland is my favourite Eurovision country. They bring something different every year, from rock to metal (Terasbetoni were awesome) to soft ballads (Pernilla was robbed in Baku), to fun dance bops (Sing It Away is another guilty pleasure). They’ll also bring the good stuff with Saara Aalto, I’m sure.

Do you follow the national finals? If so have any songs caught your attention? Hundreds of songs get whittled down to 43, so I get severe FOMO if I miss anything. My absolute favourite is “Viszlát Nyár” – AWS (Hungary). I’m not usually a fan of metal but this the best song to turn up and head bang to, it’s angry yet melodic. I love the voices of Eliis Pärna and Gerli Padar in “Sky” (Estonia), and I am also a fan of “Na party” – Dilemma (Ukraine). No idea what’s going on, but I love it.

Ha yes you do like those Hungarian songs don't you?

Why should Australia be in Eurovision?

We’re a country of many cultures, and our European histories are woven tightly into the patchwork quilt that is our country. So many cultures thrive here, as they do in Europe and in Eurovision, so we have been natural fits for each other for decades. And some of us are also insane enough to wake up at dreadful hours of the morning to watch everything live, so a prize for effort is welcome!

Are you happy with Jessica Mauboy as our choice for Lisbon?

For sure, we’re sending a very accomplished and strong vocalist. She knows how to slay. I’m just nervy about what kind of song we’ll send, and whether it’ll stand out or blend in. I feel like a soulful ballad might be the best choice.

Yep think we're all nervous! We were thinking banger to start with but maybe something different will stand out more....

Sea of Flags, Tonight Again, Sound of Silence or Don’t Come Easy?

Queen Dami knows how to rule her subjects, and her voice is the force that gives her that right. Sound of Silence would have been a very deserving winner in 2016.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Definitely. If you’re a casual Eurovision fan, do your best to get into the Semi Finals as well when they’re on. Some brazen robberies do take place, and what might be your favourite in the final may not actually get there. (And then if you’re feeling up to it, go catch up on the national finals and get a load of some of the gems that don’t make it. You won’t regret it!)

Thanks Aaron for your time!

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