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International Eurovision Fan of the Week - Lisa-Jayne from the UK

This week our International fan is Lisa-Jayne Lewis, aka @LJL_77 on Twitter and you may also know her from ESC Insight. We met Lisa-Jayne briefly during her visit with Slavko last year but we wanted to delve deeper into her love of Eurovision. Read her full Q&A with us below:

What is your name and where are you from? I am Lisa-Jayne Lewis, I live in Guildford UK

What do you do or tell us something interesting about you? My muggle job is actually working with a prison charity in the UK which supports the families of prisoners as well as deliver courses within prisons too. We also run the national Prisoners’ families helpline. When I’m not doing that I am global manager for Slavko Kalezić, and a well-known campaigner for LGBTIQ+ equality in the Church of England.

Wow all very impressive, particularly love the work with LGBTIQ+ equality and faith, really important stuff. ~ Aussievision

So being the manager of Slavko Kalezić, tell us how this relationship came about? We met at the London Eurovision Party where I fixed his braid (first of many times!) for his performance. It’s impossible to describe it really but we chatted a lot backstage that night and just ‘clicked’, I offered to help him a little with his English pronunciation for his Eurovision performance and then when he was invited to meet with the producers of The X Factor in London, he called me and asked if I would go with him (and do the braid again!) and then of course I went through X Factor with him (including the infamous incident where the braid fell off – yes I had done it that night too!) and then became his manager. He is so special, we have a really deep connection that I can’t really explain and he has been there for me during one of the darkest times of my life, I love him more than any words can express.

It's great you two have some a close connection, rather than just a professional relationship.

When did you first get into Eurovision? The first contest I saw was 1991, but it was 1992 that turned me into a huge fan because I had such a big crush on the Swedish artist (you do the maths!!) to this day I still don’t think he knows!! So, yes Christer is the main reason I fell under the Eurovision spell, but there is more to it than that of course. I have always loved culture, language, music and art so I guess it was inevitable that ESC would find me. A friend of mine once commented that she thinks Eurovision fans are born not made, I think she might be right.

Oh... a crush on Christer??? Umm... we really have no words.

Which is your favourite Eurovision year and why? In recent years 2014 because being of Austrian and Dutch decent that’s the year my genetic make-up took first and second place, but also because I was a huge fan of Conchita’s going into the contest and so I was delighted when Austria (finally) won again after all those years, it was also a brilliant show, the stage, the production, everything – the only downside for me was that I wasn’t there! 1968 from the Royal Albert Hall is also one of my favourites, it really pushed broadcasting techniques and abilities and was a darn good show too despite the UK not getting the victory that they (arguably) should have had.

If you could change one thing about Eurovision what would it be? Oh I’d change the rule that says you can have up to 6 artists. By the time you’ve got your main artist(s) and backing vocalists in place it doesn’t leave much wiggle room for dancers on stage to add to the production, so you end up having to prioritize one over the other and this has lead to some very thin vocal arrangements or some very empty stages.

If you could choose one city to host Eurovision which would it be? Oh call me controversial but I am just waiting for ESC (or JESC) to be in Astana – I know people are a bit anti-Kazakh but not me! In reality actually I do want another Serbian win because I’d love to go to Belgrade for Eurovision as I wasn’t there in 2008, and of course it would be great to see a first win for Montenegro, I’m just not sure that there is a venue in Podgorica that would work, although we did joke it would be very convenient and we could set up Euroclub in Slavko’s garden in a big tent, we reckon the fans would be up for that!!

Well you've named three there but we'll let you off. We loved Montenegro so Euroclub in Slavko's backyard sounds great!

If you could only listen to three Eurovision songs for the rest of time, what would you choose?

That is a very difficult question to answer I don’t think I could narrow it down to 50 songs, let alone 3, ok here goes… Molitva (because that’s my favourite winning song of ALL time and I have been in love with Marija since 2007!) Rise Like a Phoenix (because Conchita/Tom literally changed my life) Space (because it’s very personal to me and makes me smile whenever I hear it)

Which Eurovision song:

Had the best staging?

Estonia 2015, I also loved the staging for Malta 2018 I was gutted it didn’t qualify and Azerbaijan 2013, which was a bit weird but I really loved it!

Had the best live vocal?

Marija Šerifović (Serbia 2007) and Dami Im (Australia 2016)

Well obviously a correct answer on one of those!

Was robbed?

Many! I feel bad for Sanja Ilić and Balkanika’s (Serbia 2018) performance in the final last year because their performance was totally overshadowed by the stage invasion in the song before, they really should have finished higher. Also Artsvik in 2017, I adored that song so much and really felt it should have placed higher.

Do agree with both, we were still shook fro SuRie that we didn't really take that performance in and still can't believe Artsvik finished so low.

From before 2000 is your favourite?

Frances Rufelle, Lonely Symphony (UK 1994) – one of my all time faves.

Do you enjoy more now, than when they performed?

I Am the One by Helena Meraai (JESC Belarus 2017) I adored this at the time and really wanted it to win, but I love it even more now.

Did you last play?

We Got Love by Jessica Mauboy is currently my alarm clock sound so I guess it’s that one!

Oh wow nice one haha!

Is your guilty pleasure?

There is no guilt in pleasure – I like Emmelie de Forrest’s Only Teardrops, I know most people can’t stand it but I don’t care! I also really like Speak Up by Isabella Clarke (JESC Australia 2017), I wish more people would listen to the JESC music as there have been some absolute corkers in that contest over the years.

Any other interesting honourable mentions?

Soooo many! Origo (Hungary 2017) is particularly awesome, Dona (Macedonia 2016) will always be special to me, Running on Air (Austria 2017) has nice memories as I adore Nathan and sat with his Dad and Grandma during his SF performance! Virtually everything Bulgaria has ever entered (sad to see them leaving the family) Fuego (Cyprus 2018) because I loved watching Slavko watching Eleni on stage, Diva (Israel 1997) because…Dana International! I could go on but I won’t!

You're known for having a keen eye for fashion, what are the three most memorable (for good or bad) outfits you've seen at Eurovision?

Hmmm… well, one of my favourite outfits I ever saw on the stage at Eurovision was Tijana (Serbia 2017) but not the outfit she wore for the actual show, but the beautiful white camisole and wide-leg trousers she had on for her first rehearsal, it looked absolutely stunning on camera and I was gutted when I saw what she was actually wearing for the show – that was the Barbara Dex for me for 2017. I would have to say that Conchita’s Eurovision dress was absolutely stunning, but as Tom is a fashion graduate and designed it himself it’s not surprising, it looked absolutely gorgeous on screen and I’ve seen it since in real life and it’s beautiful in the flesh too. My third has to be Eleni’s utterly gorgeous Swarovski crystal encrusted jumpsuit – wowzers!! That is also just as stunning in the flesh as it appears on TV.

It's a modern mystery how Conchita fitted into that dress, that cinched waist was amazing. Eleni... stunning, I want one myself. ~ Mike

What national finals are you most looking forward to? Beovizija and Montevizija of course! I am genuinely looking forward to what SBS have up their sleeve for an Australian NF, France was brilliant last year so am looking forward to that and my usual ones I love which are Eesti Laul, MGP and Belarus, I am also very interested to see how things pan out in Malta now they are using X Factor.

What do you think of Australia being in Eurovision? I am totally for it. I do spend a lot of my time having to explain it to people and it’s usually the first question I get these days from non-ESC people when they speak to me. I am thrilled that Australia are in the contest, long may that continue!

Don't worry we have to explain to many everyday Australian ourselves all the time!

You were obviously here in Australia last year with Slavko, did you get to see much of the country and what were your impressions of Australia and the fans? Well it was a bit of a whistle-stop tour of Australia we were only there four days but we did see a little bit of the place. We did the touristy things in Sydney; the Opera House, the Bridge and Darling Harbour where we had a FABULOUS meal in a Greek Restaurant! We also managed to Uber out to Bondi Beach because neither of us had ever seen the Pacific Ocean before so we thought we’d take the opportunity. Melbourne was a bit more relaxed, we went to Melbourne Zoo and then spent some time with Liam and Brent (and their gorgeous cat Macros!) We both loved Australia and would like to come back sometime; personally I want to go to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast because I was such a big fan of Steve Irwin and it’s my dream to visit Australia Zoo. The Australian fans were just wonderful, we were given such a warm welcome and were genuinely moved by the reception that Slavko got, it was a real honour to visit Australia, thankyou doesn’t seem nearly enough to say to you all.

So glad you enjoyed your time here, I know everyone loved it as well. And now we're based in Brisbane feel free to stop on by and we'll show you some crocs (at the zoo)!

And finally...

Tonight Again, Sound of Silence, Don’t Come Easy or We Got Love? Oh gosh, well I genuinely thought Dami was going to win and I absolutely loved that song and Dami too – but Tonight Again was such a great little bop too and featured my favourite ever pyro moment with the exploding street lamps! Tough decision… I’m going with Dami, Sound of Silence.

Thank you so much for your time Lisa-Jane!

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