The Eurovision juggernaut rolled into London recently as the Shadow Lounge in Soho hosted the UK’s preview party, and with the competition mere weeks away the anticipation was almost palpable. Eight of this year’s hopefuls made it over to Blighty, all keen to give a good account of themselves in front of the UK’s most ardent and passionate Eurovision fans and we were on hand to welcome them. Find out their hopes, fears and costume choices for Eurovision in this exclusive video.
Hosted by Nicki French and the equally quick witted Paddy O'Connell, first of up was Austria’s entry Natália Kelly. The 18 year old had the fans eating out of her hand as she opened with the Celione Dion 1988 winning song ‘Ne partez pas sans moi’. A spine tingling rendition of ‘Shine’ left the room in no doubt the American born youngster is a real challenger in this year’s competition.
Opera star Cezar may not be a household name in the UK, but his unique mix of countertenor singing with a banging dance backing track will surely turn a few heads this year. Looking the part in shades and waistcoat the striking Romanian launched into ‘It’s My Life’ with real gusto. His vocal acrobatics leaving many in the audience with their jaws on the floor and the bar’s management worried about any glass in the vicinity.
He may not have the biggest stage presence in the world, but Malta’s Gianluca makes up for it with the biggest of smiles and a sunny Mediterranean disposition , his rendition of ‘Tomorrow’ had everyone in the club singing along as one. The cuddly Maltese doctor looked like he really was enjoying his time with the UK Eurovision fans.
Finland’s Krista Siegfrids is already many people’s one to watch this year, and she certainly knows how to put on a show. In full bridal outfit and accompanied by her Team Ding-Dong dressed as page boys, her energetic version of ‘Marry Me’ was too big for the Shadow Lounge stage, and as they marched into the delighted crowd the temperature and noise increased. The performance ended with Krista giving one of her ‘boys’ a cheeky kiss which raised the roof.
Not to be out done, Greek band Koza Mostra were determined to keep the energy in the place frenetic. The five piece were joined on stage by legendary folk singer Agathon Iakovidis and his amazing moustache. Their mixture of traditional Balkan music and bouncy rock choruses had the crowd jumping from the off, and when they sang ‘Alcohol is Free’ the place went crazy, the music and the sentiment sending a clear message that this was a party with a capital P.
After a short interval, so that everyone could catch their collective breath, it was down PeR (Please Explain the Rhythm) to get the crowd going again. Unfortunately for the Latvians, someone forgot to put the stage lights back on, so the two youngsters had to perform the poppy ‘Here We Go’ in the partial gloom. They did their best to get everyone’s ‘hands in the air’ with some mightily impressive beat-boxing before they left the stage.
Emmelie de Forest may have been nervous performing her ballad ‘Only Teardrops’ so late on the bill, with the crowd already whipped into a Eurovision fever, but the teenager from Denmark needn’t have worried, as the audience fell silent as they became transfixed by the fragile beauty of her voice. A stunning performance accompanied by a simple acoustic guitar led to one of the biggest cheers of the night – watch out Malmö.
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