London Eurovision Party – Its that time of year again: green leaves, busy birds, big yellow thing in the sky, and best of all the Eurovision Song Contest comes to London courtesy of the London Eurovision Party.
The day kicked off at the press preview party and we’ll be bringing you some interviews from that event soon.
This year’s party was the best yet: on Sunday 26th April 2015 no fewer than 22 acts graced the stage at the Café de Paris in London’s Piccadilly. Nikki French and Paddy O’Connell hosted with great humour a fast-paced jam-packed show, which ran well over 4 hours, which is longer than it took Dr Eurovision to complete the London Marathon earlier in the day.
Headlining was last year’s winner Conchita Wurst, who returned because she had such a good reception from the London audience last year. As well as her winning song ‘Rise like a phoenix‘, Conchita sang her new single ‘You are unstoppable‘, and treated us to a passionate performance of Cher’s mega-hit ‘Believe‘.
Joint headliners with Conchita were Bianca Nicholas and Alex Larke, aka the UK entry, Electro Velvet, with ‘Still in love with you‘. Bianca and Alex are delightful, they are beautifully styled for their press appearances as well as for the stage, and their performance always has a sweetness to it. They were celebrating being #1 in the physical singles chart and singing on their home ground, so it was a special night for them. I thought the sound quality let them down which was a shame, I don’t think Bianca’s mike was turned on/up enough in the mix.
Other special guests on the night included:
Ray Caruana, lead singer with Live Report, who came 2nd for the UK in 1989 with ‘Why do I always get it wrong?’. Ray showed us he still has a fine voice, its always good to be reminded of the successful UK track record in ESC, even if we have to go back in time a bit.
Sarbel came close to stealing the show with the celebratory dance song ‘Yassou Maria‘, which brought Greece 7th place in 2007. How much fun can you pack into 3 minutes?
Kurt Calleja racked up more fun points with ‘This is the night‘, the Maltese entry at Baku in 2012.
Christer Björkman may be the man behind Melodifestivalen these days, among other credits, but back in 1992 he represented Sweden at Malmo with ‘I morgon är en annan dag‘ (‘Tomorrow is another day‘). He masterminded an audience sing-a-long to a medley of Nordic hits, some of which we remembered better than others.
Kitty Brucknell dazzled with two performances in typically extravagant costume. After her unsuccessful attempts to represent Switzerland or Moldova in this year’s contest, she seems as determined as ever to become part of the Eurovision landscape.
16 of this year’s entries travelled to the Café de Paris.
The performances that made me prick up my ears were Czech Republic, Australia, Switzerland, Cyprus, and my personal favourite Norway.
Marta Jandová & Václav Noid Bárta (Czech Republic) performed ‘Hope never dies‘. Although a well structured song, it hadn’t wowed me up ’til now, but Marta and Václav have huge personalities and bounce off each other with great humour, and this infuses their live performance with lots of emotional energy. I’m looking forward to seeing them bring this into the Stadthalle at Vienna.
Guy Sebastian (Australia) performed ‘Tonight Again’ with great joie de vivre and left us in no doubt this funky party song is a strong contender for the prize.
I had been wondering whether Mélanie René (Switzerland) would have the vocal confidence and stage presence to deliver ‘Time to shine‘; well she showed at the London Party she can definitely stand up to this big song.
In contrast, Giannis (John) Karagiannis (Cyprus) makes the task look easy of performing, with just the right amount of intensity, the gentle contemplative ‘One thing I should have done‘.
Mørland & Debrah Scarlett (Norway) closed the London Party. After some technical hitches they sang a charming version of the massive 2009 winner for Norway ‘Fairytale‘, before performing their entry for this year, ‘A monster like me‘. The song lyric is full of drama, and one of the things I find compelling is the way the duo’s voices work together so well to create dramatic mystery. ‘A monster like me‘ received the biggest ovation of the night, a massive sing-a-long with the chorus, and an audience ‘big bang’ moment when the vocals hit after the pared back instrumental bridge. I’m inquisitive to know how this is going to be choreographed for television to maximise that dramatic impact.
Thanks to everyone involved at London Eurovision for putting on a memorable party! The stage is now set for the main event in Vienna, where rehearsals kick off on 11th May.
Report by Jane.