I am pleased to introduce our latest Eurovision fan of the week - David from Bendigo, Victoria! We spoke with David about his interest in the contest, the changes he'd make to Eurovision - Australia Decides, and the growth of the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest in regional Australia.
Thank you for being our Aussievision fan of the week! Tell us a little bit about yourself - name, hometown / current location, and any interesting information about yourself.
Hi! I'm David, I'm from Bendigo in central Victoria. I'm an IT technician running my own business, and am absolutely Eurovision obsessed!
How did you get into Eurovision? What was the first year you watched?
I first watched Eurovision in 2011, I'd heard of it in passing for many years, and had missed a few chances to see it live. Luckily then, I managed to see it on SBS for the first time from start to finish and I was absolutely hooked. Being technically minded, I loved the technology behind the show, and the songs were a perfect match for my tastes. That particular contest still holds a special place in my heart.
Some of the technological innovations we see at Eurovision aren't something you see every day! And the world stage is a great place to be seeing some of them for the first time. ~ Ford
What is your favourite Eurovision performance and why?
That's truly a tough one. Every year something stands out to me and I fall in love all over again with new music. All-time favourites though are probably 'Satellite' (Lena 2010) and 'If Love Was a Crime' (Poli Genova 2016). From this year I'd have to go with 'Think About Things' (Daði og Gagnamagnið) because it really felt like the perfect song for the year.
Such a fan favourite from a year not many Eurofans will ever forget, I'm sure 'Think About Things' will stay with us for a while. ~ Ford
Which Australian artists would you love to see on the Eurovision or even just the Eurovision - Australia Decides stage? Which songs best showcase that artist?
I'm not exactly sure, I really think the beauty of Eurovision is the fact that you can bring forward people who are generally unknown and give them three minutes in the spotlight, and I really think we have a lot of opportunity to build a thriving scene of new musicians who focus their energies on these contests, and I would love to see those people given a chance. As for established artists, I have to say Dami Im, because she's shown us that she's truly up to the task of performing live and doing us proud with her past performance in 2016 ('Sound of Silence').
Which national final do you look forward to the most? What makes it special?
Definitely Melodifestivalen; the Swedish broadcaster SVT has that worked out to a perfect formula these days, and they bring so much humour and fun to what could easily be something very stiff and formal. The mature music scene in Sweden; along with all their broadcasters' dedication to music-focused programming outside of the Eurovision / Melodifestivalen sphere, creates a competition that is a joy to watch every year.
Sweden certainly does like to make its name known when it comes to the world music scene, and with good reason. ~ Ford
If you could change one thing about the Australian national final Eurovision - Australia Decides, what would it be?
I think the hosting causes me the most frustration there. To me it feels like their passion for the contest is just missing, and the humour they use often feels forced or insulting towards the contest itself. Comparing back to Melodifestivalen, the rotation of hosts every year allows them to have fresh outlooks, new humour and allows the more musically inclined hosts to participate in a much more performance-based program, which I feel would make the event much more engaging for viewers.
What is your opinion on returning artists? Is there one you would like to see again?
I'm happy to see returning artists (as evidenced by my choice of Dami Im earlier) as long as it is in a fair competition. Every performance should stand on its own merits, I believe, and some songs will not win out, even despite having a recognisable or existing artist behind them.
If you could pick only three performances to encourage new people to watch Eurovision, what would they be?
'Euphoria' (Loreen, Sweden 2012) - Loreen's performance was widely recognised when it first came out, and people just like this song, the staging was perfect and it really grabs people and pulls them in.
'Love Injected' (Aminata, Latvia 2015) - This song, I believe, is criminally underrated. The vocals and performance are just excellent, and it shows the variety of music styles that make the contest so special.
'My Lucky Day' (DoReDoS, Moldova 2018) - I prefer this song (over the more obvious 'Dancing Lasha Tumbai', which I believe has been done to death) to show off the zany and fun side of the contest. The song isn't much to talk about, but the performance and staging is humourous and technically fascinating, and it makes people fascinated by this part of the contest.
'Euphoria' is an iconic performance in the history of Eurovision, 'Love Injected' shows just how powerful and magnificent the contest can be, and 'My Lucky Day' brings out all the kitschy fun that we love about the contest. A great selection. ~ Ford
In 2016, you were interviewed as a part of a Eurovision feature in the Bendigo Advertiser, where you mentioned that you hoped more Bendigo locals would get behind the Eurovision Song Contest. What was the response from this article, and in the time since the article's publication, has there been an increased following of the contest?
I've seen very little movement sadly, but we are a regional city and things don't tend to happen quickly here. We don't really have a major group or driving force behind gathering fans or running events, so there hasn't been a lot of opportunities to build a local community yet.
As someone also living in regional Australia, I can't help but agree that there's a lot of opportunity for interest in the Eurovision Song Contest to grow. And let's hope it does! ~ Ford
Which Eurovision song:
Is the best winner?
I have a tough time answering this, as I have three or four I switch between depending on my moods. The one I come back to the most (which is probably not everyone's first choice) is 'Satellite' by Lena (Germany 2010). It was one of my earliest heard Eurovision songs, and it just holds a special place in my heart.
Has the best live vocals?
So many songs could fit this, but one really does stand out: 'Madness of Love' (Raphael Gualazzi, Italy 2011) just has these absolutely soulful lyrics that shine through every time I hear it.
'Shady Lady' (Ani Lorak, Ukraine 2008). 2008 was a controversial year, with the departure of Terry Wogan from the BBC commentary and the Russian win. I believe that Ani's performance and song were excellent and absolutely should have won that year.
Is your guilty pleasure?
'Lie to Me' (Mikolas Josef, Czech Republic 2018) is an absolutely guilty pleasure of mine. The lyrics are a little nonsensical but it's so fun to hear and watch, and I find myself repeating it a lot.
Is your favourite national final song (that didn't make it to Eurovision)?
This one is a draw between 'I'll Be Fine' (Molly Pettersson Hammar, Melodifestivalen 2015) and 'Sting' (Eric Saade, Melodifestivalen 2015). Both songs were absolutely excellent, but had the misfortune of being in a very competitive year for the Swedish preselections, which resulted in their Eurovision winner 'Heroes' (Måns Zelmerlöw, Sweden, 2015)
And finally, which Australian entry is your favourite?
Dami Im, of course! She really did us proud in 2016, and I hope to see her more in the future for our contest entries.
Are there any other tidbits or comments you'd like to make?
We're so lucky to have our special position with Eurovision, and the tireless work of the fans has done us proud there. I really look forward to seeing where we will go in the future, and I really hope that in coming years we take a lot of influence from fellow Eurovision competitors (especially Sweden) and use our ability to enter to build an absolutely thriving and diverse music scene on a national scale to help further our ambitions.
Thank you so much for sharing your time with us, David, and we hope to see a thriving Eurovision community in regional parts of Australia in the future!