The highly enjoyable London Eurovision Party 2012 took place at Shadow Lounge on Sunday. I was to eagerly reprise my coveted backstage role of chief piano-shifter and popped along during the afternoon to catch the artistes doing their sound checks and nibbling on the various savoury and sweet snack products on offer in the VIP room (‘popped’ potato crisps and miniature bags of Haribo, thank you very much; oh yes, I may be new to these parts but I know this is the level of detail the esteemed oneurope readership has come to expect from our reportage). As has been the case for the past few years the intimacy and smaller guest list than the Amsterdam concert provides a nice contrast and the performers are able to indulge in a longer set with a couple or three songs each, if they can be bothered.
Slovene 2005 entrant Omar Naber was invited as a special guest to open the show, on account of his living in London, and he was genuinely delighted to be asked and did an acoustic version of his 2010 attempt I Still Carry On as well as his Eurovision Stop. The ever-so-tall Eva who is singing this year’s Slovenian entry followed Omar onto stage in a rather smashing pair of pink heels as high as tree-tops putting in a very fine performance. I’m quite given to this and would love it to do well in Baku. Lovely, lovely Fillipa from Portugal had her ma and pa in tow, and was on the back of just a couple of hours sleep before an early flight to London. She’d done her homework well and added a UK song (My Time) and a Portuguese classic (Conquistador) to her repertoire in a way which pleased her crowd enormously. It was then time for the first of my starring roles manoeuvring the piano on stage for the Hungarians (a couple of whom are dishier than I’d anticipated).
The omnipotent and charming Nicki French opened the second act with an edited version of her 12 minute medley and that song again in full handing over to Anggun for France, who was celebrating her birthday by singing live for us in an intriguing frock. Valentina from San Marino turned in a defiant rendition of Facebook replete with its original offending name check before relenting to EBU conformity and reprising it as Uh Uh Oh Oh Oh. She was surprisingly engaging. I was backstage before Sabena from Azerbaijan came on and offered my services for the purpose of leaning on as she changed into her stage shoes. I thought I’d take the opportunity to effuse about my impending trip to Baku, although I got the feeling she was distinctly nonplussed by my enthusiasm. Anyway she shuffled onto stage, did a cracking performance of her song (she’s a dark horse this one and no mistaking!), and shuffled off again out into the back streets of Soho’s clip joints. I suspect we’ll be best chums in Baku.
Wolf Kati was a late, and inspired, addition to the line up, being as she was in town anyway with the Hungarians who had gigged the night before. She strutted around the stage as she reprised her Big Gay Dance Track #463, telling the happy crowd that this is what she had missed since last year. Some people are just born to play to a club full of whoopsie boys and Wolf Kati is clearly one of them. The whoopsies were still whooping as the delightful Kalliopi came onto to sing her Macedonian entry. I had starring-role-with-piano number #2 so she could do a live acoustic version in English to close the show. Just time to get Anggun back on stage for a birthday cake and a good old blow at her candles before the show was over and I carried on throwing wine down my blouse and some idiosyncratic shapes on the dance floor into the exceptionally small hours. A delicious warm up for Baku where Sabena and co are waiting for me!