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International Fan of the Week - Mr Gerbear

We have a special international fan of the week - it's Mr Gerbear of the famous Mr Gerbear Eurovision Sorter! Read his Q&A with us below.

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Gerry and I'm originally from Manila, the Philippines, but I currently live in Anaheim, California! Tell us something interesting about yourself? I'm currently in university for linguistics and French. I absolutely love languages: learning them, studying them, living them. I'm currently applying to study in France next year, so fingers crossed for that!

That is amazing, we hope you get to France! ~ Aussievision So you are THE Mr Gerbear of the Mr Gerbear Eurovision favourites sorter. Tell us how that got started, why you did it, how you did it and how has the reaction been from fans? Yep, that's me! Back in 2013 - my second Eurovision - I realized that figuring out my personal song ranking was incredibly difficult. Like any good Eurovision fan, I'm obsessed with organizing my favorites. I found the code floating around Tumblr; it was originally code for ranking Japanese boy band idols, actually. I realized I could rework that for Eurovision so I did just that. It's become an annual thing since then, and I'm legitimately surprised at how, each year, more and more Eurovision fans ask me when the next edition of the sorting tool comes out! It's gotten pretty widespread. I've gotten copycats, actually, which is frustrating because while the code isn't originally mine, some people have ripped off my specific modifications. But the reception has mostly been positive comments, and I'm honestly glad that I could create something useful for my fellow Eurovision fans all over the world. I've even gotten word about it from communities that aren't about Eurovision! It's absolutely wild.

Well we are a huge fan of the sorter and love the fact it was inspired/modified from a Japanese boy band idol ranker. Keep doing the amazing work, the fandom salutes you. When did you first get into Eurovision? My first exposure to Eurovision was before I even knew what Eurovision was: Epic Sax Guy. I kinda live on the internet, so I'm into all those late 00's memes. That kinda sat dormant for a couple years until 2012 when I found Eurovision trending on Twitter and decided to check it out. And oh, boy, did I realize I was really missing out. I'm super into international music and multicultural contests: finding Eurovision felt like the sky opened up and mana came down from heaven. Where had this been all my life?? In Europe, apparently, and I just wasn't paying attention. What is your favourite Eurovision year and why? It's got to be 2014. That was the year I decided to take the plunge and actually go to Copenhagen to see Eurovision live. Not only was it my first experience traveling abroad for fun (immigrating to the US doesn't count) but I got to work in the press center, interview the artists, and have fun with Eurovision fans from all over the world. I also got to finally meet some of my favorite people off Eurofan Twitter. I've met friends for life thanks to Eurovision. It was like a religious experience, I tell you, making the pilgrimage to Eurovision Island, surrounding myself with like-minded folks, and seeing Conchita triumphantly rise to the top of the scoreboard

.

What a great year to go and love the fact your first proper trip was for Eurovision.

Which Eurovision song: Oh don't make me do this. I'm gonna have to make a sorting tool for all the Eurovision songs ever and that's gonna take a million years.

Is your favourite? It's gotta be Albania's debut entry, Anjeza Shahini's "Image of You." It's just so good. Her voice is amazing, and she was able to convey both vulnerability and power within those 3 minutes onstage, and she was able to perform with such sincerity and heart. The translation from Albanian was also fantastic, one of the few times I actually like the a Eurovision song's English version.

Wow, I do like this song but never though it would come out as someone's favourite of all time. ~ Dale

Is overrated? I'm honestly tired of Sweden post-2013. It's only really gone downhill since Loreen, and Robin Stjernberg's "You" was underrated for its simplicity and sincerity. But Sanna Nielsen's "Undo," Måns Zelmerlöw's "Heroes," Frans' "If I Were Sorry," Robin Bengtsson's "I Can't Go On," and Benjamin Ingrosso's "Dance You Off" are all extremely overrated. I feel like fans constantly overrate Sweden and Melodifestivalen, but it's usually all sparkle and no substance; no amount of special effects can turn a song into a legend, and it seems like the best songs are left to languish in obscurity in the Melfest semis.

We can see where you're coming from but we won't hear a bad word said about Undo - ha! Was robbed? MY KWEEN SUZY IS THE MOST ROBBED OF GODDESSES. While I was excited for Valentina Monetta to make the final in 2014, I was heartbroken that Suzy didn't make it with "Quero Ser Tua," and then crushed when I learned she was just one point away from qualifying.

YES - perfect choice. Absolutely robbed, we're both big fans of Suzy. Had the best live performance? Like I mentioned earlier, seeing Conchita onstage in Copenhagen was a religious experience. It was magical onstage and on TV, and her vocals were so good. She absolutely deserved the win. Did you last play? I just went through the entire 2018 playlist, but besides that, I last listened to Jowst and Aleksander Walmann's "Grab the Moment." I didn't think much of the song at first when it won the Norwegian final last year, but it grew on me a lot. It made my top 10 last year. I should know, my sorter told me.

"I should know, my sorter told me" - haha love it. Is your guilty pleasure? I've got no real "guilty" pleasures, because I unapologetically love my Eurovision. But in terms of songs that totally bombed at the contest, I lose control to Waldo's People - "Lose Control". It's got that quintessential europop sound that I can't resist. Even if it got last place at the 2009 final and only survived the semifinals thanks to the jury wildcard, it's still totally my jam. Any other interesting honourable mentions? Paula and Ovi's "Playing With Fire" was my absolute fave before I found "Image of You." I can't resist a good duet, and Paula's vocals are divine. Ott Lepland's "Kuula" is also great; it gives me shivers every time, and Ott is just an all around great guy. I got to interview him when he came to Los Angeles for a small concert for the Estonian community here and he's so humble. A true artist. A few other faves: Mørland and Debrah Scarlett - "Monster Like Me" ; Danijel - "Dzjuli" ; Koza Mostra - "Alcohol Is Free" ; Nina - "Čaroban" ; Euroband - "This Is My Life".

Playing with Fire - AMAZING

Kuula - AMAZING

Monsters Like Me - AMAZING Dzjuli - AMAZING Alcohol is Free - AMAZING

This is My Life - AMAZING

(And I do like Caroban) You have impeccable taste ~ Dale Do you have a favourite Eurovision country? Moldova! They deliver bops every year. (Except 2015.) Sunstroke Project are my boys; they were my gateway into Eurovision with Epic Sax Guy Sergei, and for that they've earned my loyalty. I also love Pasha Parfeny. I met him in 2014 when he tagged along with the Moldovan delegation and he was the nicest guy.

We will always love Lidia from 2016 What are you favourite songs so far in the 2018 contests? Moldova's near the top of my list. DoReDos is so much fun and they've got a great energy. Also one of my favorites is Finland. Saara Aalto is fierce, and she can totally work a stage. It'll be a performance to watch, for sure. However, my 12 points this year goes to Israel, no question about it. Netta had my heart from the first cluck. I think she's a great representative for my generation: fierce, technologically creative, body positive, and takes no bullshit from others, but still fun, colorful, and lighthearted.

"From first cluck" - lol. She does exude charisma. What do you think of Australia being in Eurovision? Australia deserves a spot at Eurovision because of y'all's passion for the contest. It's not like Eurovision's been just for Europe, anyway. Sure, the EBU seems a bit arbitrary about the choice considering there's still countries within the European Broadcasting Area who haven't debuted at Eurovision, and I'm not entirely convinced that their motives for giving Australia a special pass aren't money-related, but Australia doesn't play around when it comes to sending a song, and I appreciate that.

Agree I'm sure the fact it's a big TV event here and we buy the album like crazy doesn't hurt.... but yes our 30 year plus obsession and quality we send is key. What do you think of our song 'We Got Love' and Jessica Mauboy? I love Jessica. "Pop a Bottle" is my JAM. I'm not gonna lie though, "Sea of Flags" was kinda a disappointing live performance, but "We Got Love" has some serious potential. It's uplifting without being preachy, and it's got a good rhythm without being shallow. If she performs it without a hitch live in Lisbon, she'll definitely be one to beat. And finally favourite Australian song – Sea of Flags, Tonight Again, Sound of Silence or Don’t Come Easy? It's gotta be "Sound of Silence" for me. Dami slayed everyone with her powerful vocals, and her futuristic hologram dating app staging was pretty cool. I still find myself singing this one in the shower every now and then. Anything else you’d like to share?

I'm soooo excited about going to Lisbon this year!! I can't wait for May. :)

Aren't we all!! Thank you so much for joining us Gerry, it's been a pleasure. Keep up the great work!

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