Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Monty: breaking news - Linda Martin's NOT a drag queen (but the Bulgarian girl might be a drama one...)

I'm having an afternoon off from Eurovision. And yes, that is a euphemism. Before I have it off there's just some time to mention last night's social scene in Malmö. After the rehearsal Jody and I headed over to the Israeli party. I was looking forward to this as their parties in Oslo and Dusseldorf were amongst the best of the week, and this didn't disappoint. It was held in a venue near the docks, actually quite impressive although on closer inspection within the atrium of a working building with people's day desks visible through the overlooking windows. No matter though, the main event was the entertainment.

Upon arrival I spotted Carola in the VIP section doing a highly professional job of avoiding any contact with the fans. I thought we might be in for a guest spot, and braced myself after she tossed an autographed photo smack into my face in Amsterdam, but no, she was just there for the free booze it seemed. Of which there was none, until we got a left over ticket handed out as the crowd was beginning to thin out much later.

Moran kicked off with Hallelujah and the enthusiastic host had us all singing along, building up his own part and coming out into the floor on occasion to lead us all in a circle dance. The guests came aplenty, with Cascada from Germany, Adrian and Bledar from Albania, Gianluca from Malta, Esma and Lozenge from Macedonia, Dorians from Armenia (who suddenly. Seem to have drafted in a nice burly bear to play keyboards), PeR from Latvia, and the Greek boys who did a great energetic set which I saw from right at the front of the crowd. Ooh it was tasty!

Also in the crowd but not performing, save for being jerked in the host's circle momentarily, against his better judgement, was Marco from Italy looking all swarthy and beguiling. We got a photo, but he seemed to be pulling a funny face in all of them that he posed for.

Highlight of the night for me was an onstage spat between the Bulgarians. Elitsa had a face like thunder and at one point Stoyan tried to lean in to say something into her microphone only to be pushed away with a glower that could have turned you to stone. Things were clearly not right between the two and when the song finished and the host went to speak to Elitsa she threw her drumsticks away saying something like "vote for Bulgaria, we're here to win" and stormed off the stage without a thank you, and leaving Stoyan looking like he had been gearing up to play another song. A little later he was lurking forlornly near the bar. I had to resist the urge to ask him how Elitsa was...

Well, as if that wasn't enough for one night we popped in a cab with Eurovision legends Jude and Mandy, two of our favourite girls at Eurovision and headed to the Euro Fan Cafe for their quiz night. Sadly we missed the start and as it was played on smartphones couldn't catch up, but we believe one of our other favourite fans won the seat in the Green Room. I'll not name him until it's confirmed and we know he's happy to share but if it's true I'm absolutely thrilled for him.

We did make it to see someone in a silver frock step out on stage and sing an English version of Carola's Främling. I was jammed at the very back getting beers, and because a) my eyesight's not that great, and b) I knew it wasn't actually Carola I assumed it was a drag queen. It was only when she launched into Terminal Three Flight's On Time that I realised it was Dame Linda Martin the 1992 winner. Oops!  She gave a great show with the Irish dancers jigging and (leaving me) reeling with Ryan popping his head in strait from an excellent jury final performance we hear.

Next on stage between the questions was Glen Vella from Malta 2011. He was celebrating his 30th birthday and after he came off he managed to say a personal greeting to him before dancing until the end of the night and being thrown out at 4am. Many of the fans we know who don't have accreditation were there, along with many others who had just arrived so it was a terrifically fun evening seeing people and catching up. It really feels like it's all started now. Hard to believe we'll be bidding 6 countries farewell this evening. Which reminds me, I must sort out my Serviette of doom predictions before my Anglo-Swedish cultural exchange...

Oh and yes, I can confirm that that Phil was indeed quite tiddly at 3am... But much fun indeed! We need to get him out more.

Monty x