Eurovision Postcard: Day 3
WGU graduate Jamie Davies will be writing daily blogs from his first ever experience covering the Eurovision Song Contest for ESCplus in Lisbon, Portugal.
Tuesday saw the song contest really lift off as the nightlife of Lisbon would host its first ever Eurovision show. I’m sure after so many months of preparation from the event organisers and the host country, they are thrilled to finally see the contest begin!
As this year’s presenters Silvia Alberto, Catarina Furtado, Daniela Ruah and Filomena Cautela said the famous words ‘Let the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 begin!’. The Altice Arena erupted and flags decorating the venue were waving back and forth. But those presenters are okay but they are just not quite Mans Zelmerlow and Petra Mede – arguably the best Eurovision hosts we have ever been entertained by.
But before I could sit down, pick up a jar of Portugal’s Sagres and enjoy semi-final 1, there was a bit of broadcasting work to do.
My travel bag feels empty without a mic
I spent the night before (Monday) at the Euro Café which is a place for all the fans to go and socialise and enjoy all the Eurovision soundtracks you can think of. My thanks to the ESC Bubble team for having me on the guest list. It was an enjoyable night, so enjoyable I didn’t leave the venue until 6 am…
So when writing the to-do list for Tuesday ahead of semi-final 1… The build-up was going to be a long one.
- Record a reaction video to the Jury Show of Semi-final 1
- Record an hour-long Euro Jam special for Calon FM
- And let’s not forget writing the latest daily blog for Glyndwr University ;-)
It’s not a long list but when the Jammeister has had no sleep he goes CRAZY!
ESCplus provided me with one of their t-shirts, I’d put that on, grab the mic and in the words of the Eurovision boss Jon Ola Sand – TAKE IT AWAY!
Before I filmed my thoughts on the Jury show of semi-final 1, I had to note down my top ten countries to qualify for the Grand Final on Saturday. And they were…
- Cyprus (Predicted winner)
- Czech Republic
That’s 7/10! I’ll take that!
WATCH: Semi-Final 1 Jury Show Reaction & Predictions
Straight after I would record on my little iPad (That does more wonders than a PC) the Euro Jam Semi-Final 1 preview for Calon FM. Then it was off to my second home this week, the Altice Arena or what I would like to call it… The BIG Rock!
I bumped into Ieva Zasimauskaite of Lithuania before the start of the show and wished her good luck. Ieva told me to meet up with her after the show. Even though I didn’t predict Lithuania to qualify, my heart really wanted her to but my brain was thinking otherwise. Don’t you just hate your brain sometimes!?
I sat near fellow Brits as we waved our Union Jacks for SuRie as she performed ‘Storm’ in the interval of Tuesday night’s show. Semi-final 1 in my eyes was the best semi-final in years as it had so many good songs in the line-up. Sadly, only 10 of the 19 countries competing were going to qualify. Cyprus and Israel were the ones to beat when you judge it from the crowd responses. I think Cyprus won Semi-final 1.
The result announcements were so tense but if you keep an eye on the cameraman in the green room below, you know who is next to qualify seconds before the presenters announce it to the TV audiences. Ireland had finally reached the final for the first time in five years and the crowd were absolutely chuffed for them. Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s song had been criticised in the past including members from Russia because of two men dancing together. It was so nice to see O’Shaughnessy silencing his critics.
The shock of the night was Belgium and Greece not making the final. I was not a fan of Belgium’s staging which made me forget about the song so I don’t think that helped Sennek.
When I was heading out to the arena I wanted to do something relevant to what my inspiration, Martin Brundle, does in Formula 1 for Sky Sports and that is his grid walks. I went around the arena to gather fan’s reactions to the results and that included an Irish crowd going absolutely crazy for their qualification. And in that crowd was O’Shaughnessy’s Grandad who was over the moon, it was a lovely moment.
WATCH: Semi-Final 1: Fan’s reactions after the show.
Then I did what I promised to Ieva and that was meeting up after the show. She qualified which made the get together extra special. She was delighted with the result and also gave me a nice gift.
I just hope Ieva didn’t see my predictions video ;-)
And then Mikolas Josef of Czech Republic and I were reunited and congratulated him on making the final. I had no doubt in my mind. Great song, great stage performance!
One show down… two more to go!