Eurovision Fan of the Week - Gemma from Queensland
Our Eurovision Fan of the Week is Gemma from Queensland. Gemma is a committee member of OGAE Australia and is a truly dedicated fan.
Read her full Q&A with us on this obsession below...
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Gemma. I am from the small rural community of Laceys Creek (no apostrophe) on a back road to nowhere surrounded by national park. But no one knows where that is so I usually just say Brisbane.
What do you do or tell us something interesting about you?
I work in a pet store in the outer suburbs of Brisbane who basically fund my addiction to Eurovision and travel. I also help out at a local gin distillery, just to keep my sanity.
Gin and pets are two of our greatest loves! ~ Aussievision
So tell us how you got into Eurovision?
Let’s go back to 2011. Now I may be second generation Australian with German and English grandparents but I had never heard of Eurovision before. Neither had my parents. My family wasn’t too happy when one Friday night in May I forced everyone to watch this bizarre song contest I had seen advertised. Now the first song I ever saw was Armenia with ‘Boom Boom’. It was so over the top and I loved every second of it! I was so intrigued I decided that I would take the TV presenters advice and tune in two days later. What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was delayed into Australia. So I tuned in on Sunday evening only to realise that somehow I had missed all of semi two. Azerbaijan won that year. A country I didn’t know existed, let alone how to pronounce! I was in my last year of high school which meant every spare second I had on a computer was spent learning about Eurovision. My studies were soon forgotten. I told someone in my English class that I wanted to go to the contest. They laughed ‘don’t do that’. I will forever remember thinking ‘yeah I will’.
We love these stories of how people stumble across, or just casually flick over to then become instantly addicted!
Have you been to the contest and if so, how many times?
I have been to 6 contests or every contest since 2014.
I spent 3 ½ months in Europe near the end of 2013. I came back home with a determination to be in Copenhagen the next year. I was unbelievably lucky with my first ever ticket bought was to the grand final. Somehow the website had crashed leaving me with a backdoor to buy tickets. I was so shocked I emailed many times to check my ticket was actually real! The plan was to go only once. It would be a once in a life time opportunity. I was just going to satisfy my curiosity. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect I would now be looking towards my 7th contest.
2014 was your gateway drug. You are full blown addict now! 7th contest this year is impressive!
Which is your favourite Eurovision year and why?
I feel like this is a trick question!
My favourite year for songs is 2015. I swear there was only 5 bad songs! There was probably more but my brain only remembers 5. The quality and variety of songs was impressive. They really got the staging right that year too.
My favourite contest to watch is 2016. The Swedes know how to put on a show. I love how they respected the contest and laughed along with the fans. Rather than focus on themselves as a country. I don’t believe anyone will ever beat either of Petra and Mans interval songs.
My favourite contest to go to would, without a doubt, be 2017. Kyiv was a nightmare leading up to it. But once there it was like Eurovision heaven. Every single person who was there, was there because they love it. The ‘true’ fans as we said at the time. There was only one place for the after party and everyone would be there, every night. Apart from the visa, it was so unbelievably cheap. It was also the first time I had embraced the Australian Eurovision community. The opportunist Australian fans in Vienna had left me feeling embarrassed. They had treated Eurovision as a joke and I didn’t want to be associated with that behaviour. So I cautiously joined OGAE Australia in 2016. Kyiv was the first time I met anyone from the club. They were all so lovely I couldn’t believe it. No one took the contest as a joke! They really made my week extra special. I would go back to that time in a heartbeat!
Love the way you answered this, different years can be different favourites for different reasons! And 2015 what a year for songs, best yet!
If you could change one thing about Eurovision what would it be?
Don’t know if I can say it, but I’d love some more fans that are single straight men hahaha. Nah really, the best thing about Eurovision is it’s the only place where the line for the ladies is shorter than the men’s!
I really do love the contest the way it is. The Jury frustrates me but I love that too. The drama, the scandal, the block-voting, the fans, all the country flags. It’s just one big week long party, sometimes longer, with people from all over the world! It is simply an incredible place to be. If the contest was perfect we wouldn’t have anything to talk about at 4 in the morning!
Haha brilliant, single straight men can be a rarity in Eurovision fandom, but we in our fan poll a few months ago we found the numbers of straight men were growing! Watch this space maybe?
How do you think Australia is going overall in the contest, what would you like to see over the next few years?
Australia is really punching above its weight. I think we need to not qualify just once. It would do us some good I think. But not this year. Montaigne is too amazing for that! I’d love to see more variety in our song selection. More indie, more bands. Please can we send a duet! Always love a good duet. Maybe that’s why I like 2015 so much… I might start campaigning for Vera Blue and Flume.
How good is a duet, we are with you there!
Which artist would you like to see return to the competition?
Morland of Norway 2015. His voice and songs are something else. I know he’s technically going this year. It’s not the same though, I need his voice in my life. I was so upset when KEiiNO got selected to represent Norway over Morland last year. I’ve forgiven them now.
If you could pick only three Eurovision songs to listen to for the rest of time, what would they be?
Ah what a question! ‘Monster Like Me’, ‘Goodbye to Yesterday’. It’s too hard trying to pick a third song. I’ve spent 2 hours trying to pick one. I’m going to stick with a duet and say ‘Calm After The Storm’.
Ok maybe you love duets a bit too much! ha!
Which Eurovision song:
Is the best winner?
Emmelie De Forest. My 19 year old self was very impressed. I mean the dress, the hair, the drums, the FLUTE. Always good to look back on.
For 2013 this was perfect Eurovision.
Has the best live vocal?
You make it sound like I’m not singing at the top of my lungs along with the artist. Meaning I can’t hear anything. But every time Dami Im performed I said WOW.
Seriously you ask an Australian this? Obviously I’m going to say Dami Im.
However in 2014 ‘Calm After The Storm’ should of won! That performance was stunning. I’m sorry Conchita, I still love you. But the Netherlands were something else that year. I would even venture to say better than ‘Arcade’.
Still dirty that Switzerland didn’t qualify in 2018 though.
Is the best from this decade?
Triple J let me choose ten. Can I choose ten? This is too hard! My favourite songs change every day. Also I’ve only really watched this decade! Can you take my top three as my answer?!
Is your guilty pleasure?
Moldova 2018. I shouldn’t like this song as much as I do. Their performance was great. Enjoyed it live, watching one of the guys put high heels on. Love watching it on TV, knowing one of the girl’s heels in the little door was actually a guy. Pure happiness this song brings me.
Few songs have elevated from studio to live as much as this did!
Is your favourite National Final song (that didn't make it to Eurovision)?
I’ve only recently gotten into National Finals. I’ve always found them frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched my favourite not get selected. My memory is terrible so I’m going to pick a song from this year. Any of the other four songs Romania didn’t choose for Roxen. I have all 5 songs on repeat. Colors really stands out for me. Makes me smile and dance every time.
What is your favourite song of those released for Eurovision so far?
I mean 2 more songs have been released as I answered these questions. I love the whole performance of Iceland ‘Think About Things’. But my favourite song is Romania’s ‘Alcohol You’. Stunning. Hopefully she picks a new dress for Rotterdam though.
Any other interesting honourable songs overall you'd like to mention?
Azerbaijan 2013 ‘Hold Me’ is just an amazing performance. I still don’t quite understand why he’s in the box. My goodness it works though! That performance is the one that changed my families view on Eurovision. That it is crazy but also wonderful at the same time.
Great mention - the song, staging and vocal all were fantastic. So over the top and a deserved runner-up.
And finally... Tonight Again, Sound of Silence, Don’t Come Easy, We Got Love or Zero Gravity?
Tonight Again. What a song to take for the first time. We basically said we are here to compete but really we are just happy to be here. I still can’t get over how much Europe embraced that song and us. For such a strong year for songs, I can’t believe it came that high!
Thank you so much for your time Gemma!