OMG – what an amazing night! Part of me wished it would never end, but on the other hand I don’t think anyone would’ve survived with that tension and amount of adrenaline running around in your body for too long…
I don’t even know where to start, I’m actually not even sure I remember how yesterday started… Oh yes, there was a production meeting, our final one, and after that some of us went straight to the arena for the preparations of the 3rd and final Dress Rehearsal, the Family Show, which I was able to enjoy from inside the Delegations’ Lounge. For Dami’s performance, my colleague Mia and I helped her husband Noah inside the arena to watch it from the audience and being able to experience the crowds’ reactions IRL. As always, her performance was outstanding and as she nailed that final high note once again, the crowd was practically exploding with admiration.
The rehearsal was then followed by hours of tense waiting for the last show, trying to eat, relax and saving energy for the evening. I just got one errand to run, escorting Dami’s parents from the Accreditation Center, through the maze that is the catacombs underneath the whole area of the arenas, and up to the dressing rooms to meet with their daughter. The Head of Delegation had organized for them to be able to sit in the Green Room during the broadcast as extra support for Dami together with Noah and the core team.
During the break between shows they also presented the prestigious Marcel Bezençon Awards; three awards given to the best entry as voted by the accredited press and media, the commentators and the composers respectively. This year the awards were given to three different acts; the Press Award to Russia’s Sergey Lazarev, the Artistic Award (by the commentators) to Ukraine’s Jamala and the Composer Award to our Australian composers DNA (David Musumeci & Anthony Egizii)!
For the evening broadcast of the Grand Final I yet again found myself a spot in the Delegations’ Lounge on a cozy sofa together with some of the other Delegation Hosts with whom I’ve become great friends during the last couple of weeks. Watching the show in a room filled with the committed delegates from all participating countries really made the evening special and it was so great to notice yet again the essence of this event, shown by everybody wishing everybody good luck and cheering for each other’s performances. It’s also kind of special to experience the way the room cheers for every artist walking by on their way from the dressing rooms to the stage, regardless of what’s happening on the big screen showing the live broadcast.
The interval act, just like all the previous ones this week, was highly praised and a good laugh for all these devoted ESC people, and during Justin Timberlake’s performance the entire room got to their feet dancing and singing along which was great fun.
Then came the unbelievely nerve-wrecking moment of the presentations of the result. As Eurovision now have adapted the Melodifestivalen way of handing out the votes, separating the jury votes from the televotes of the viewers, the process was even more suspended than ever before since the televotes, which were saved for last, can make all the difference… During the presentation of the jury votes the twelve’s were scattered all over the place and after all were delivered our Australian entry was in the lead with a good margin. Sometime during the process I found myself no longer sitting in the sofa but standing behind it nervously pacing back and forth trying not to lose it completely. Some say the voting is boring and many have a hard time staying awake in their sofas during this part of the broadcast – and I don’t know what they’re talking about… And with this new system it makes excellent TV since nothing is decided until the very last minute.
When the televotes were added to the jury votes the scoreboard proved Ukraine’s Jamala won, with Australia in second place and Russia in third. Our Aussie team was nothing but extremely happy with the result, coming to this contest with the aim to place better than last year when they came in fifth, but others were much more disappointed. Most of all, the preliminary tipped winner Sergey of course – who’s been leading the betting lists since forever – but my heart also goes out to the poor girl from Germany, Jamie-Lee, who came in last. She’s so sweet and kind and deserved a better faith. Someone who seemed deliriously happy though was the guy from Poland, Michał Szpak, who against all odds came in third in the televoting landing him in eighth place in total. I’m also happy for Poli Genova from Bulgaria who ended up in fourth place after all the votes were counted, pushing down Swedish Frans and French Amir to fifth and sixth place respectively compared to the previous odds.
There’s still a lot to analyze about these result that I haven’t had time to do yet, but that’s a task for another day. I heard fan pages doing some calculations comparing the result to what it would’ve been had the old system remained and they seem to agree that with the old voting system Australia would’ve won. I’m not going to ponder on that information too long though, I really liked Jamala’s winning song 1944 and I’m really looking forward to – hopefully – going to Ukraine next year to experience the contest from the audience’s point of view, preferably together with my new-found, but forever-lasting, friends.
This has been an amazing journey and there’s probably loads of more to tell you guys (e.g. about the after drinks with the delegation and the after party at EuroClub keeping me awake longer than I thought possible…) but the story has to end somewhere, right?
Thank you for listening!