With the upmost pleasure I present Leslie as our International Eurovision Fan of the Week! A good friend and twitter personality, he's followed the contest closely on twitter since 2017. I picked his brains on Eurovision and tea was spilt:
Thank you for being our Aussievision fan of the week! Tell us a little about yourself:
Thank you for having me! My name is Leslie (@euroleslie on Twitter), I’m 23 and one of the rare Swiss fans of the contest. I live not too far from Zurich and hope to move there this year. I’m currently doing my studies in tourism and am set to graduate in July. Things I’m interested in include traveling, geography (shocker!), languages, environmentalism, books and music.
~ The unofficial Swiss face of Eurovision in the twitter fandom! Welcome! (Liv)
How did you get into Eurovision? What was the first year you watched?
It was my parents that introduced me to Eurovision as watching it is kind of a tradition for them even though they wouldn’t describe themselves as “fans” of the contest.
The first vivid memory I have of the contest is from 2007 when I watched it with my parents at my great-grandmother’s place – I was rooting so hard for Verka Serduchka! Nowadays I think 'Molitva' is one of the best winners of the millennium but as a 9 year-old I couldn’t believe it won over 'Dancing Lasha Tumbai'.
~ It's funny how our thoughts on certain entries can develop over the years! Your old Twitter name "@leslieumbai" now makes even more sense knowing what a special early entry it was for you (Liv)
What is your favourite Eurovision performance and why?
In terms of performance I would probably have to say 'Taken By a Stranger' by Lena. Everything about this was just fantastic, Lena OWNED that stage and oozed confidence – the arena rightfully went crazy. In a weak year like 2011, this should have come at least top 5.
Which Swiss artist/s would you love to see on the Eurovision stage? Which song/s best showcases that artist?
First of all, there’s one Swiss act I would love to see get their revenge: Anna Rossinelli. Their sound has evolved vastly since 2011 and I believe their new style is so much more interesting and, essentially, better than 'In Love For A While'.
Other than that, I would love us to send something “unusual” like a folk entry – for example Black Sea Dahu. Their track 'In Case I Fall For You' is probably my favourite track by a Swiss artist/band.
CRIMER is also on my wish list, he’s been pretty successful in recent years with his 80s sound. Would surely be a breath of fresh air!
Which national final do you look forward to the most? What makes it special?
Sanremo, no doubt. While I don’t usually sit through all of the shows, the musical quality is always top-notch. In terms of show quality, Melodifestivalen is also something I always look forward to even though I think song wise Melfest used to be stronger.
~ Taste found. (Liv)
Are you excited to have Gjon’s Tears stay on to represent Switzerland in 2021? What did you think of his 2020 entry ‘Repondez-moi’?
I am so happy our broadcasters decided to give Gjon another shot, I think he’s got loads of talent and potential. Plus, being of Kosovar and Albanian descent he also represents a big part of Switzerland’s population which is fantastic.
'Répondez-moi' is, in my opinion, the best entry we (would have) sent in ages. I’m so glad we ditched the national final and went internal in 2019, I feel like it was a turning point for us. For Gjon’s 2021 entry I have very high hopes, even though it will be very hard to beat 'Répondez-moi'.
~ Absolutely agree! It's so hard to come back with another strong entry but it was very promising to see Switzerland generally on the upwards trajectory the last couple of years. As someone who had 'Repondez-moi' in their Top 3 I have all my fingers and toes crossed that you guys have another solid entry in the pipeline! (Liv)
Until Gjon there hadn’t been a Swiss entrant sing in a language other than English for 10 years - would you like to see more in the various native languages of Switzerland?
Personally I’m a big fan of countries sending non-English entries. However, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether a song is in English, French or Lithuanian as long as it’s a good song.
Therefore I don’t think “forcing” a specific language onto a song or an artist is the right thing to do – broadcasters should be open for songs in any language (whether in a national final or an internal selection) and let artists/songwriters perform their song in their preferred language.
I do believe though, that artists, also in Switzerland, should be encouraged to send in songs that aren’t in English – as we all know you can also do well or even win if you sing in your native language. So to answer your original question, I would love to see more Swiss entries in French, Italian, German or even Romansh in the near future.
~ Well said! (Liv)
What is your opinion on returning artists? Is there one you would like to see again?
I know I just said I’d like to see Anna Rossinelli return, but in general I’m not the biggest fans of returning artists as I do believe it’s slightly “unfair” to other artists that wish to take part. I do think that some fans focus too much on returning artists and aren’t always open enough towards new faces. But again, at the end of the day it’s the song that counts.
If you could pick only three performances to encourage new people to watch Eurovision what would they be:
To showcase the contest’s diversity I would probably go with 'Calm After the Storm', 'Fuego' and 'Origo'.
Which Eurovision song:
Is the best winner?
~ Tea (Liv)
Has the best live vocal?
This is an interesting question since I’ve never really thought about this. The ones that come to my mind right now are Elina Nechayeva (Estonia 2018), Rona Nishliu (Albania 2012) and Eugent Bushpepa (Albania 2018).
Was the best pre-2000 entry?
Undoubtedly 'Poupée de cire, poupée de son' (Luxembourg 1965), love that one.
What the best post-2000 entry?
I have to say 'Soldi' (Italy 2019), there is just no entry I’ve ever been so obsessed with. 'Goodbye To Yesterday' would be a close second though!
'O jardim' (Portugal 2018)!
~100% - we both were so cut when it flopped that hard (Liv)
Is your guilty pleasure?
Definitely 'Moustache' by TWIN TWIN, such a fun track.
I also HAVE to mention 'The Social Network Song' by Valentina Monetta, I’ve got that stuck in my head way too often.
Is your favourite National Final song (that didn't make it to Eurovision)?
Probably 'I Will Wait' by Isa from Melfest 2016. I never really got over this not even making the final.
And finally which Australian entry is your favourite…
While I’ve always liked all Aussie entries, 'Don’t Break Me' was the first one I really, really loved.
~ Knowing your tastes this is exactly what I thought you would say haha! It is my favourite too (Liv)
Any other comments you’d like to make?
Thank you for the amazing and authentic work you guys are doing!
Thank you for your time Leslie! I have my fingers and toes crossed that Switzerland continues their forward momentum into Eurovision 2021.