London Eurovision Party 2019 – 12 Years and 12 Points to the organisers
In the world of the Eurovision Song Contest, to fans it is not just the one Saturday night in May where UK fans tune in to BBC One in their millions to see 26 artists showcase themselves and their countries in 3 minutes or less with Graham Norton critiquing and occasionally insulting them to earn the coveted 12 points. It is much more than that, with a year round calendar to fans building up to the “Eurovision Fortnight” in May when the contest rolls into the host city and takes over, with rehearsals, jury finals and the broadcast shows as the jewel in the crown.
The calendar runs from September to May each year, with the selection window opening in September and closing first week of March. Fans are always clambering to see their artists, which is where the pre-party has came into being, with London being the first and the most well-known, even with Amsterdam having a bigger venue than the one currently in use in London.
The whole idea of the Eurovision pre-party, is where artists come together to perform for fans, whom some will go to the contest itself but others see it as the only chance for them to see the artists.
London Eurovision is now in its 12th year, with the vast majority of them being hosted at the world famous nightclub Café de Paris, in the heart of the West End and hosted by 2000 UK entrant Nicki French with her now on-stage husband Paddy O’Connell (from BBC Choice fame), whom oversee the proceedings albeit with help from the organisational team headed up by Russell and Kabir who are both Eurovision die-hards who without their input the pre-party wouldn’t exist.
Onto the evenings events itself….
Opening the show was the United Kingdom’s previous entry (for 2018) SuRie, who is sadly now known for having a stage invasion mid-song in Lisbon starting us off with the no seminal classic Eurovision winning song “Rise Like A Phoenix” by Conchita Wurst which was received to a rousing applause, followed sure enough by Storm which went down very well.
Following SuRie, the next act was Magdalena Tui who sang her 2011 song that represented Poland called “Jestem” which again went down a storm in the venue, following on we had the only other act to sing the United Kingdom’s entry (Unless you count the person who wrote the song but more on him later) it was Holly Tandy’s turn to wow the audience with a Taylor Swiftesque version of “Bigger Than Us” which does work live and shows what the UK could have chosen if Michael had not got the nod. After Holly, Eye Cue who last year couldn’t attend the London Eurovision Party took to the stage with their entry “Lost & Found” which was again well received (there is no negative acts in a Eurovision Party). Following Eye Cue, we had the President of OGAE UK (The official UK Eurovision fan club) Alasdair on stage to introduce the act they had sponsored to be at the event, Anna Bergendhal who sang her 2010 Swedish entry as well as her Melodifestivalen 2019 (Melodifestivalen is the Swedish selection show that is used to select the Swedish artist) called “Ashes to Ashes” which raised the bar (as a side note check out the club mix to Ashes to Ashes by the team at Soundfactory….it’s amazing). To close act one we had two of the class of 2019, Eliot from Belgium whose soulful track set everyone up for the party anthem that came next from Miki from Spain (it’s a brilliant track…seriously YouTube it!) which brought the curtain down on act one as well as Nicki French’s 57563462466th costume change (that is a long running joke readers to the fact she gets through around 15 outfits per party)
Opening up act two we had the Czech Republic’s Lake Malawi who again, left the next act a tough act to follow with their song (as well as the fact they are currently touring the UK) Carousel then joined the party with their entry for this year’s contest.
Nicki French then came onto stage to perform as tradition a Eurovision classic and her choice this year was Go (Before You Break My Heart) a go, the English version of Gigliola Conguetti’s 1974 entry Si for Italy and proved that the timeless track is as much a favourite as ever. Following Nicki we had four acts in quick succession in the shape of Estonia’s Victor Crone, Tulia from Poland, Sarah McTernan from Ireland and finally Leonara from Denmark all bringing their own flavour to the international crowd who travelled from far and wide to be at the event.
Keeping things Scandinavian, Norway and Keiino played their track “Spirit In The Sky” to a thunderous reception (and stayed until the after party to continue with fans), Albania’s Jonida Maliqi who wowed the crowd with her entry Ktheju Tokës was next before Sweden’s
John Lundvik (who also wrote this year’s United Kingdom entry) closed Act 2 with his crowd favourite 2018 Melodifestivalen song “My Turn” and then “Too Late For Love”, bagging a huge reaction from the crowd.
Act Three kicked off with the legend that is Darude (Yes, the guy who did the dance classic Sandstorm) who this year with friend Sebastian Reijman are representing Finland with “Look Away” which was a smash in the venue, Austria was next and Peanda was really good albeit slower than the rest of the other songs on the night, provided the right tonic before the French super star that is Bilal Hassani entered the fray with “Roi” which proved possibly one of the biggest hits of the night. Up next another “Big Five’ (Called so as they provide the biggest financial contribution to the running of Eurovision so automatically qualify for the Saturday grand final) in the shape of Italy’s Mahmood, who got a big reception as there was a large Italian continguent in the audience. The Netherland’s artists in Duncan Laurence was next up and wowed the fans with his track “Arcade”.
Last but two was Jurij Veklenko performed “Run With The Lions” it was time for the home country hero in Michael Rice to take to the stage to bring the house down with his track “Bigger Than Us” which got the biggest reception of the night overall with the writer John Lundvik on the VIP level with us cheering him on.
Finally as always, Nicki French got her famous purple coat out to tell them “Don’t Play That Song Again” which 19 years on they still do!!
That was London Eurovision officially closed for another year, but the party carried on late into the night with fans and acts enjoying their time in the historic venue as the early hours burned away….
Overall, once again the event was a massive success, which is testament to the hard work people like; Kabir, Russell, Laura, Gemma, Alasdair, The OGAE UK, The BBC and others put into it.
If you ever fancied going to it…seriously book tickets, get there have a party and you can even rub shoulders with the acts themselves….