International fan of the week - Elaine from England/Germany!
Many of you will know Elaine as 'Elainovision' from Twitter. Read her full Q&A with us below.
What is your name and where are you from? I'm Elaine 'Elainovision' O'Neill from England though I've also lived long enough in Germany I get people asking about my accent all the time. I'm in my early 30s and do things with computers. Tell us something interesting about yourself? As far as I know, I'm the only person to have ever walked to every embassy in London in a single stretch, which I did in 2016 while dressed as Carmen Sandiego, in order to raise money for a refugee and migrants charity. London has well over 100 embassies and some of them are way out in the suburbs so it took most of a weekend. A few days later I caught trains out from London to Stockholm because I left it too late to book flights and it formed a tradition where I travel to each Eurovision without flying.
Wow impressive on many fronts - mainly the Carmen Sandiego piece! ~ Aussievision When did you first get into Eurovision? I grew up watching Eurovision with my family every year and really looking forward to it. Dana International's victory particularly sticks in my memory, but it was 2003 when I got into it as a full fan. I was having a really rough time in my life and while doing escapism online I came across the website for Riga 2003 and was excited to hear all the songs before time and I became obsessed. It's still the most magical year for me, from Iceland's optimistic opener to France's beautiful underrated ballad, as well as Turkey and Belgium obviously!
Snap! first year to really grab us (and seems many others as well!) What is your favourite Eurovision year and why? 2003 still stands great for personal reasons. 2007 is to me the epitome of the mid-00s era of Eurovision and whenever I listen back I'm surprised how many songs I adore from Hungary's passionate blues number (the only time a bus stop has featured in a Eurovision performance?) to the late Roger Cicero's classy swing to Todomondo's wedding-party-style multilingual attack, as well as the top two of Molitva and Dancing Lasha Tumbai, the latter being arguably a bonus winner that year. 2016 was a whole tonne of fun too and 2015 has so many classics. I hope 2018 won't let me down in Lisbon! Which Eurovision song: Is your favourite? I've spent years debating this with myself - I'm bad at picking exact favourites, I tend to have lots! From recent years it's probably Poli Genova from 2016, but the all-time winner is going to be Brainstorm from 2000. 'My Star' still brings me to tears every time, 18 years later. If my star should fall... Is overrated? Ah, I hate to be a party-pooper. I guess I'll say Sweden 1999 because I felt Selma really deserved the win that year over the much-more run-of-the-mill 'Take Me To Your Heaven', and after almost twenty years hopefully its fans will forgive me! But yeah mostly I prefer to celebrate the songs people love rather than anything else, because that makes for a more fun, healthy, atmosphere. It'd be so dull if we all had the same few faves.
Oh WOW. Too shook to respond. Was robbed? Oh, far too many to list! Every year I'd add at least one new candle to my shrine, if I had one. Especially from National Finals - there's a universe out there where we were all mesmerised by Mick Pedaja's 'Suus'. I'll pick one example though - Lithuania 2010. 'Eastern European Funk' was an amazing mix of a true party bop and a song with a serious message, and whenever I play it to people at my Eurovision convention panels, the crowd are amazed and impressed by how the message and melody blend together. GET UP AND DANCE.
And the pants were fantastic of course Had the best live performance? Pretty much all the recent winners - it's one thing you need to win ahead of just having a good song! This year all three national finals I attended produced winners who were arguably better live - SuRie enraptured the Brighton Dome when few of us had come in supporting her, Rybak's pixie dust of charisma made his strange mix of scat singing and inspirational quotes into a party bop, and Elina's operatic vocals that sounded like warm-up exercises in the studio version were electrifying live. In terms of songs from past ESCs, I'm going to pick both Serbia's and Montenegro's songs from 2015. Bojana's beat kicking in, and Knez spinning in circles both turned the crowd into a euphoric experience.
Fantastic examples of this year and love your choices from 2015 - two of our favourite lives from that year. Did you last play? 'Boonika Bate Toba' from 2005 because I mentioned it on Twitter and felt nostaglic for that jump-up drum-beat. It was my absolute fave that year and I remain deeply moved by how the band wrote the song about the owner of a guest house they stayed in, then when they won the first Moldovan ticket to ESC, invited that same woman to come with them to Kiev, even though it meant one band member had to sit out the performance of a lifetime. Whenever I watch the performance back, I get teary-eyed seeing her happily banging her drum-a in front of all of Europe. Is your guilty pleasure? 'Guilty pleasures' tend to just be the songs you personally like but which the fandom tends not to so you feel you need to be vaguely ashamed of it. That said, sometimes you do like things that you feel will always need a bit of explanation to anyone else. Rambo Amadeus is a good example of this with one of the best protest songs I've ever seen at ESC. MONETARY BREAKDANCE.
Ha interesting choice, but think sometimes the guilt comes from within when you know musically it's not a great song but still a bop!
Any other interesting honourable mentions? I can't go without mentioning San Marino 2016 because I'm actually responsible for persuading Serhat and his team to switch from the slightly awkward slow ballad to the disco version of "I Didn't Know" and I was there in Stockholm waving a San Marino flag as a result! It's funny because Serhat has become a go-to amongst fans for a cringeworthy entry but it actually wasn't that far off qualifying and a lot of people had a lot of fun with it. Even Serhat seems be a fan as he recorded a new version of the disco version with the Weather Girls recently! Viva la disco San Marino.
Indeed he came 12th! And wow great job it was so much better than the slow version. He also beat Greta.... What are you favourite songs so far in the 2018 contests? There are a whole load of songs I like this year, it's a good year for me. I'm passionately supporting Georgia because Iriao have brought something beautiful, even if I know it'll probably sink at Lisbon. Estonia has really grown on me since seeing it live at Eesti Laul, Denmark's is so much fun to sing along to, and I'm also firmly on the 'Toy' train. Choo-choo culali-culaloo. What do you think of Australia being in Eurovision? Love it. I'm firmly on the side of 'the more the merrier', especially when delegations clearly put in as much effort as yours does! I don't think holding to a kind of euro-purity is a helpful attitude, it's very 90s "oh the ex-Soviets won't understand", and just look at the classics we've been gifted from everywhere beyond the old Iron Curtain! Now, can you persuade New Zealand to join in too?
Wahey great to hear! Oh New Zealand... ummm yeah they said they didn't want to join. Plus they won't understand.... haha. Hopefully we Eurovision Asia gets going and they can be the Norway and we can be the Sweden. What do you think of our song 'We Got Love' and Jessica Mauboy? It's so much fun! I know it's been regarded as quite cheap by a lot of people but it's just joyful and I dance in my chair when it comes on. I love the secondary meaning behind it after the Referendum and I think it's going to do really well in Lisbon! Though maybe ditch the #hashtag.
#Thankyou #Blessed #Banger And finally favourite Australian song – Sea of Flags, Tonight Again, Sound of Silence or Don’t Come Easy? I like to judge songs based on how much fun they are to sing along to, and 'Tonight Again' wins that hands down. It truly proved to be one tough act to follow. Dowhatyouwhatyouwaaaant... Anything else you’d like to share? Aussievision rock! It's great to see so much passion from your side of the world, so far from most of the action, and I'm really glad to have you as part of the fandom.
Thanks legend we appreciate it and get inspired by everyone else! Oh and before you go tell us about these wikipedia updates you do of the songs, they are hilarious! When did you start doing it? I started doing it in 2016 as a way to get all the little jokes about songs, singers, and entries into a single place, almost as a comedic summary of the season, and it proved unexpectedly popular (to the point some anonymous fan accounts stole the images and claimed they'd made them) so I decided to do it again a year later and a tradition was born. I do try very hard to be fair with the jokes though - the kind of approach where the delegations wouldn't be too upset if they came across them.
You get it spot on, love your work!
Thank you for your time Elaine!