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Eurovision Fan of the Week - Evan from New York

This week's Eurovision of the Week comes from the United States of America. Evan, aka @evanmstewart on Twitter, was recently in Australia visiting while Australia Decides was on.

We had multiple Australians telling us 'you must do Evan for fan of the week!' so here he is, and it's a great read!

What is your name and where are you from?

I’m Evan from New York.

Tell us something interesting about you.

There are three seasons in my year: Oscar season, Eurovision season, and summer. I’m a massive cinephile and try to see as many new films each year as possible. This past weekend with Australia Decides, Sanremo, numerous other National Finals/Semifinals, and the Academy Awards was like my Christmas.

Love when Eurovision fans have passions outside the contest that they are just as crazy about, great to hear ~ Aussievision

You were visiting Australia recently, where did you visit?

I’d never been Down Under so I tried to hit as much as possible. I arrived in Sydney just in time for Australia Day, then hopped over to the Great Ocean Road and Melbourne, then explored Tasmania, and ended my trip in the Gold Coast for Australia Decides. It was one of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken… I felt so welcomed by the Australians I met along the way, especially the Eurofans I met in Queensland.

Four states in one trip is quite a feat...and yes the Eurovision community here is very hospitable!

You also attended Australia Decides – tell us your thoughts on the show?

To be honest, I was a little underwhelmed by the songs going into Australia Decides. It reminded me of our Democratic primary here in the States—they were all appealing in some way, but there was something about each of them that made me question how they would perform at the next level of competition. But once in the Gold Coast, the live show won me over. The vocals by Casey Donovan and Diana Rouvas were absolutely stellar, some of the best I’ve ever heard live… and I’m a regular Broadway-goer! Jaguar Jonze had a current song and the clearest vision for her staging, I felt. And Didirri’s lyrics melt me. He reminds me of a young Rufus Wainwright. Montaigne’s song shows some promise, but I do think they’ll need to ensure that the staging doesn’t come off as too frenetic and doesn’t affect the live vocal.

Great to hear you enjoyed the show, particularly those vocals!

So tell us how you got into Eurovision?

I was a big fan of the various Idol franchises in my teens and early 20s. (I even watched Casey Donovan’s Australian Idol season!) Eventually, my interest took me to online message boards. Sometime in 2008, the Europeans/Aussies were chatting about Eurovision so I decided to check it out. I’ve always been a geography buff so it naturally appealed to me but when I saw “Qélé, Qélé” from Armenia, I was sold.

So as an American, what does watching the contest look like for you? Do you throw a party? Do your friends know or like the show?

I’ve tried a million times over to get friends interested in Eurovision, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful in molding any new Eurofans. Ha. Thankfully, New York has a large European expat community so we have a very active group here called EurovisioNYC that hosts regular dance parties, including a huge viewing party for the Grand Final. Later this month, we’re hosting Aleksander Walmann (Norway 2017) and Adrian Jørgensen (Melodi Grand Prix 2019) for a Euroclub Night.

Wow that's amazing that there is such an active group with events!

Have you been to the contest and if so, how many times?

I’ve never attended Eurovision, but I’m happy to say that I’ll be in Rotterdam this year for my first contest.

You are in for a treat!

Which is your favourite Eurovision year and why?

1969, hands down. If you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a treat. There are so many iconic songs in that contest—not just the four winners, but also Ireland, Italy, Monaco, and Portugal.

If you could change one thing about Eurovision, what would it be?

I think we need to have an intervention with the juries. When a song wins the Grand Final televote but wouldn’t have even qualified for the Grand Final with the juries—I’m talking about “Spirit in the Sky,” of course—then that tells me that there’s a major fault with the juries’ judging criteria. Fun songs are good songs too!

Juries come up so often don't they, not sure they stick to what the criteria is meant to be anyway.

Which artist would you like to see return to the competition?

Kati Wolf, because it would get Hungary back in the contest, because she was robbed last time, and because she regularly churns out great music.

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

Not to go all Scandi, but “Fångad av en stormvind” (Sweden 1991), “I evighet” (Norway 1996), and “Euphoria” (Sweden 2012)

Nothing wrong with Scandi, and such an interesting mix there!

Which Eurovision song:

Is the best winner?

“Fångad av en stormvind” (Sweden 1991)

Has the best live vocal?

“Quédate conmigo” (Spain 2012)

That was pretty damn impressive!

Was robbed?

“Ein Lied kann eine Brücke sein” (Germany 1975). SEVENTEENTH?! HOW?!

That vocal, and particularly that chorus, glorious! 17th is a mystery! At least it's an ESCRadio regular now!

Is the best from this decade?

“Euphoria” (Sweden 2012)

Is your guilty pleasure?

“Haba Haba” (Norway 2011), also quite robbed. Back in 2011, I shared this song with some friends, one of whom was a teacher who showed it to her class of 11-year-olds in rural Arkansas. The kids loved it so much that she played it to them as a reward for good work for the rest of the year. So somewhere in the Mississippi Delta, there’s a cohort of 20-year-olds who know all of Stella’s dance moves.

haha WOW that is hilarious!

Is your favourite National Final song (that didn’t make it to Eurovision)?

Electric Fields, “2000 and Whatever”… Kate won me over last year at Eurovision, but I was a total EF stan during last year’s Australia Decides.

Is your favorite out of those released this year?

Of songs that will be at Eurovision, Diodato’s “Fai rumore.” But I also love Rita “Drunk Nonna” Pavone, Rancore, and Achille Lauro from Sanremo, Elvana Gjata and Gena from FiK, Sie Gubba from Melodi Grand Prix, and Erika Vikman from UMK.

I think you and I are the only ones who liked 'Sie Gubba'! ~ Dale

Any other honourable mentions?

Two National Final songs that had the bad luck of facing iconic songs that would go on to win Eurovision – Annika Eklund’s “Shanghain valot” from Finland’s Euroviisut 2006 and Danny Saucedo’s “Amazing” from Melodifestivalen 2012.

How good is 'Amazing', would have done super well in its own right.

And finally… Tonight Again, Sound of Silence, Don’t Come Easy, We Got Love or Zero Gravity?

Studio: Jessica Mauboy’s “We Got Love” is boptastic.

Live: "Zero Gravity" will go down in the history books as one of the best Eurovision stagings of all time.

Thank you so much Evan, glad you enjoyed your time in Australia, see you in Rotterdam!

Thank you! See you in Rotterdam!


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