Eurovision Fan of the Week - Brent from Melbourne
This week's Eurovision Fan of the Week is a staple on the Australian Eurovision Fan scene, Brent from Melbourne via Sydney. Read his Q&A with us below:
What is your name and where are you from?
I’m Brent, originally from Sydney but now living in sunny Melbourne - But aren’t we really all just children of the universe?
Ok a Eurovision pun in the first question, this could be a long Q&A...! ~ Aussievision
What do you do or tell us something interesting about you?
I have a background in performing arts and currently work in a slew of theatres in Melbourne while producing small independent works. I also have a couple of qualifications in Auslan, which is one of the reasons I love seeing sign language choreography in the contest.
When did you first get into Eurovision?
Ok parents please skip to the next question. But for the rest of you.
I was one of those luck teenagers who had a tv in their bedroom. Growing up and not having a social life you always could guarantee a French or Italian film on SBS on a Saturday night...As with films from such countries go there is normally a racy scene or two.... However one magical Saturday night the usual programming was interrupted for what was, for me, a life changing viewing experience (well more life changing than that random French film).
In all it’s trashy glory my first Eurovision memory was the 2004 Bosnia Herzegovinian hit ‘In The Disco’ by Deen.
Safe to say I never looked back.
You are probably the only person alive that got into Eurovision because of 'In The Disco'
How many times have you been to the contest?
I’ve been to four big Eurovisions (Vienna 2015, Stockholm 2016, Kyiv 2017 and Lisbon 2017) and I have been to three junior Eurovisions (2015 Sofia, 2016 Valetta, 2017 Tbilisi). I took a break for last junior and this junior as well as this years contest in Israel because seven Eurovisions in four years definitely impacted my wallet.
That is pretty damn impressive!
What have you thought of Australia’s journey since joining the contest? Where are we at and what would you like to see in the next few years?
Honestly it’s been something that dreams are made of.
You couldn’t have told 15 year old Brent, the same kid who took over a school assembly and made it a “Eurovision” (with definite air quotes there) that one day he would go to this spectacle let alone that he would be able to support his own country. It’s bizarre but it is almost the only time I feel patriotic - I hope I’m not the only one! The contest seemed like such a far off dream that it would never be possible - the dream of competing was something I’d never thought possible and it’s probably why if you ever see me at an ESC or a JESC and Australia is up there will be tears in my eyes.
The thing I love about Australia’s participation is that it’s proven itself and that we try. Trying is really the majority of the battle, you see countries that don’t try and you can immediately tell. Our effort is reflected in our positions and qualification record (touches everything wooden within arms distance) and in our general attitude - quite unlike Australian’s getting competitive about something!
I would like us continuing to continue this effort but appreciate the changing landscape. Australia decides has shown that the higher ups are willing to change approaches and take risks and these risks pay off.
Too many people consider not winning, losing. I wholeheartedly disagree with this. Making the grand final is a win. Making the top ten is a win. Making it to Eurovision is a win. The experience has to be embraced regardless of the position and that’s an attitude I’d like to see going forward (especially from the fan base)
We couldn't agree more, a dream come true, we try bloody hard and just being in the Grand Final is victory in itself!
Who would you like to see competing at Australia Decides next year?
Oh this is such a hard question. I would like to see some more fringe artist but who they are I have no idea. Everyone says Kylie and the Veronicas. I can tell you who’d be up for Vanessa Amarossi in Australia decides - Absolutely Everybody. I’d be up for a Delta banger though for sure.
If the show is anything like it was last year though I’m going to be happy with whoever they chose to compete.
I think it’s interesting to note though that the artists who did the best (at Australia Decides) were the ones not from talent shows. I’m not saying that is the route to success but just interesting. That said we had some excellent results for the first 4 years of competition with talent show alumni, so maybe it’s the double edged sword.
You’ve been to the Junior contest (reporting for ESCXTRA), why should people follow JESC as well as the main contest?
How long have you got?
JESC is such an interesting place, which is probably not like anyone’s expectations. I would probably think most people would see it as a ‘Toddlers in Tiara’s’ kind of situation but the reality couldn’t be further from this. These kids have real talent, and love what they do! They aren’t being forced into this situation (too much) and they are having a ball. I think I have a skewed view of JESC as being press is a little different to just watching the contest (which everyone should). Being press you’re meeting the contestants but more often their parents, siblings and other family members and that is what by the end of the week the whole situation feels like - one big family.
You also need to remember that in a lot of Eastern European countries children’s singing contests are big entertainment and they love them. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. This is probably why we see such representation from these countries as they already have the establishment to produce these incredible kids.
JESC is also important because some of these participants go on to the big contest! You need look no further than this years X Factor Malta to see a past JESC winner Destiny compete for the (pretty decent) chance to represent her country. We often also see slight tweaks to rules get tested at JESC with potential for it to be brought forward to the senior competition.
Finally (sorry this is so long!) JESC still has language rules where the majority of the song must be sung in a national language, which not only gives countries a chance to show of their national pride but also the kids - I’m a huge sucker for a bilingual banger!
Well if someone doesn't want to watch now, I don't know what will convince them to, your passion for the Junior contest is fantastic!
Back to the main contest, which is your favourite Eurovision year and why?
This is is tough one. In terms of attending I would say 2015 and 2017. As the old adage goes you never forget your first time and Kyiv was just the most fun with all my friends I’d made over the last few years.
To watch, and I’ve been rewatching a lot of them lately, I’d probably go 2007 - what a year.
If you could change one thing about Eurovision what would it be?
The voting! Please take us back to the days of a 10-20 minute voting window! 50 minutes is just too long!
Which artist would you like to see return to the competition?
I feel like I speak for a lot of people when I say Valentina Monetta feat. Serhat - Not only would the micro nation of San Marino have a fantastic Eurovision statistic (most times one person has been to Eurovision) but we’d get the most amazing collaboration we never knew we wanted but know we needed.
We'll let this one slide
If you could pick only three Eurovision songs to listen to for the rest of time, what would they be?
These will be no shock to anyone who knows me so here goes...
If Love Was a Crime - Poli Genova
I Anixi - Sofia Vossou
Ooh Ahh... Just a little bit - Gina G
Which Eurovision song:
Has the best live vocal?
Our girl Dami was mind blowing in the arena
Shady Lady - Ani Lorak
Could not agree more ~ Dale
Could not agree less. Dima deserved his win ~ Mike
Is the best from this decade?
Fuego - Eleni Foueira (we will be listening to this song forever)
Is your favourite from Junior Eurovision?
I can’t say anything other than Dawra Tond by Gianluca Cillia (another Maltese superstar to watch out for.
Is your guilty pleasure?
There are so many, but I feel no guilt in my bad taste. Right now as I write this I’m listening ‘Always’ by AySel and Arash (Azerbaijan) and that seems like a good song for that. Oh and of course everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure Quero Ser Tua by Suzy (Portugal)
Seriously two amazing choices, though 'Always' isn't really that guilty a pleasure, is it?
Is your favourite National Final song (that didn't make it to Eurovision)?
So many this is too hard.
Anything by Alcazar. (Sweden)
La Reina De La Noches Mirela OR D*nash #justiceformirela (Spain)
The Boy Can Dance - Afro-Dite (Sweden) - I think it’s better than Never Let it Go
I Mog Di So - voXXclub (Germany)
Love-O-Holic - Debora C (Malta)
When did one song means SIX songs? ha!
Any other interesting honourable mentions?
I’ve probably been too honorable in my other answers...Sorry everyone...
Tonight Again, Sound of Silence, Don’t Come Easy, We Got Love or Zero Gravity
Tonight Again - It captured the feeling and mood of competing for the first time perfectly.
Thank you Brent for your time! (and thank you readers for sticking with one of our longest but one of our most passionate Q&As)