If there’s one thing I will forever remember about my time in Copenhagen and Malmö living my Eurovision Song Contest dream, it’s that I learned a lot about myself when I was away from my natural home in Scotland.
I learned to adapt to the culture, lifestyle and most of all, the currency of another country. I survived in an environment which was alien to me. I guess though the biggest thing I took from my time at Eurovision is that even at 27 years old (as I was then), you’re still never too old to fall in love.
I won’t lie, it was incredibly hard for me to say goodbye to Malmö before I left there for the last time on the Thursday night immediately following semi-final 2. One of the things I didn’t share in my mammoth Eurovision story is that on the Thursday afternoon between the dress rehearsal and the live show, I accidentally left a pair of sunglasses in the toilet at the Emporia shopping mall.
At the time, I was gutted about it… but when I think about it now, I actually feel quite nostalgic and proud, almost as if I left a piece of me in Malmö. It was my gift to Malmö for being so nice to me.
Saying goodbye to Copenhagen on the Friday morning was even harder. The city had been my base camp for the entire trip and also a city with which I had fallen in love. The love affair I made with Copenhagen last year is the main reason why I’m so excited to be going back there in May this year for Eurovision 2014.
It’s hard for me to just pick out one memory from my time in Malmö and Copenhagen, because the whole trip was a blast, but if I had to push myself to pick out a moment I’ll never forget it would be walking up the stairs from Malmö Hyllie train station for the first time on the Tuesday afternoon before the 1st semi-final dress rehearsal and finally seeing Malmö Arena for real.
I can’t describe without getting emotional just how special that arena is. Malmö Arena will forever be known as the place where my Eurovision dream finally came true, and it’s something I’ll never forget.
If I struggled to pick out a memory, I certainly didn’t struggle to pick out a highlight. My love affair with Estonia has been documented previously and is well-known to the Eurovision friends who know me best, but when you build up a love affair with a beautiful Estonian girl called Birgit Õigemeel, then fly more than 800 miles to see her live in your first ever Eurovision, that’s something you don’t forget.
Birgit gave me two magical performances and 6 minutes of my life that I never want back. Being in Malmö Arena on that gorgeous Tuesday will live with me forever.
Birgit, I love you forever, thank you so much for bringing your wonderful music into my world. I have never had an idol like you and I never will again.
There were a few songs that didn’t live up to expectation for me in Malmö, but the one that let me down the most was Croatia’s Klapa s mora with their song, Mižerja. In my interview for SVT before the Tuesday dress rehearsal, I had picked them as a contender to win the whole Eurovision.
It goes without saying then that I was massively heartbroken when I heard them live in the dress rehearsal. Their sound wasn’t what I thought it would be, it wasn’t this beautiful arrangement of voices that I had listened to on the official Eurovision CD for the 2 months before the competition.
Don’t get me wrong, I applaud Croatia for doing what they did in Malmö. Sorry Croatia, it just didn’t work for me.
One of the things I have come to learn most about Eurovision over the years is to expect nothing, and never was that more true than with Who See and Igranka in Malmö.
For months I couldn’t go near this song, I couldn’t bare the thought of even listening to it. Even when I got to the Thursday dress rehearsal I was dreading it… and then that all changed. When I seen the song live it was brilliant! The sound was perfect, the novelty factor was there and the crowd in the arena loved it. Rapping astronauts from Montenegro… only in Eurovision.
Thank you Montenegro. Because of you, I’ve learned never again to write off a Eurovision song before I’ve seen it live.
At this point, I’m allowed to be negative because it’s the UK in Eurovision I’m dealing with here! I’ll admit it, I was as surprised as I was delighted when I found out we were sending Bonnie Tyler to Malmö.
Like so many people my age, I had grown up listening to the twilight years of Bonnie’s peak music years. There was an air of excitement in me at the prospect of Bonnie singing for us.
Of course, when you’re British and a Eurovision fan you get used to disappointment… and that’s how it turned out for us again this time round. Don’t get me wrong, Bonnie gave it her best shot in Malmö and ultimately it wasn’t meant to be for her… but the upshot is at least we improved on finishing 2nd last the year before in Baku. Well done Bonnie.
Speaking of the UK, tonight we formally announce our entry for Copenhagen 2014. The UK Eurovision rumour mill has been in overdrive for months. My understanding is that the BBC has picked our artist for this year. Whoever it is, I’ll cover it here later tonight.
Join Us. Martin.