Out & About – London Eurovision Party
When I received the invitation to annual London Eurovision Party at Café De Paris I had no idea what to expect. Whilst I often watch Eurovision, partake in the odd sweepstake and maybe even the occasional drinking game I am by no means a huge Eurovision fan. I was therefore concerned that this party may go over my head….I couldn’t have been further wrong. Not only did I have an absolute blast but the whole Eurovision appeal finally clicked for me.
The party essentially consisted of many of this years performers singing their entry and maybe even another song, in addition to few previous contestants thrown in for good measure. This included non other than Eurovision Royalty Conchita who performed her winning number ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ in addition to 2 other numbers.
The show was presented by Nicki French and Paddy O’Connoll. French had previously represented the UK in the Eurovision song contest in 2000 and O’Connell is a presenter for BBC Radio 4.
Our entry this year is Lucie Jones. Lucie is a former X-Factor contestant however more recently has forged a modelling career and a successful musical theatre career. Her musical theatre roles include playing Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and appearing as Maureen in the current tour of Rent (In which she is excellent). Of course with this in mind I was thrilled to be able to catch up with Lucie:
I asked Lucie how Eurovision came about considering her current Musical Theatre roles. She says she was asked to come in and listen to a few songs for Eurovision and says:
‘As soon as I heard ‘Never Give Up On You I knew that was my song. They asked me to listen to a couple of others and I said nope, this is the one, I can make this work.’
She then went away to learn the song, performed it and luckily for her and us, they loved it. When asked about the Eurovision “superfans” she it was agreed that they are a different breed to Musical Theatre fans but that they have been wonderful and supportive so far. I of course couldn’t help but ask her about Rent and combining this with Eurovision. She says:
‘It’s been really hard but have been very well supported from both sides, my colleagues and friends at work are just wonderful and so supportive.
Unfortunately I couldn’t eek out of Lucy her plans after Eurovision – so watch this space for the press release.
One thing that was hugely apparent from the contest this year was despite Brexit, as far as Eurovision is concerned we are ‘Stronger Together.’ Of course we gloss over the fact that Russia is not performing this year due to the show being in the Ukraine! Whilst Lucie got her obligatory home crowd cheer the crowd also went wild for the likes of Italy and Romania. Lucie even joined together with the Spanish contestant, Manuel for a duet and whilst some may insinuate that this was a nod to politics I suspect that it was far more innocent and they simply have similar music styles and clicked well over social media. Lucy earlier had told me that despite them being firm Twitter and Instagram friends this was the first time they had met and rehearsed together for the first time that day! You certainty couldn’t tell that from the performance!
The contestants all came across as genuinely thrilled to be part of the Eurovision bubble. Nathan from Austria not only had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand but got presented with a birthday cake on stage by Conchita. I also had the pleasure of chatting to Jana from Macedonia in the green room who I shall now be rooting for in her semi-finals!
All styles of music was performed in this first preview party of the season, from ballads to rock to yodelling and all went down brilliantly well. That being said people watching at this event was just as exciting as the main event itself. My personal favourite was a lady that positioned herself next to the stage from the beginning with all the nations flag and didn’t move from that spot until closing. The crowd were supportive of all acts and one of the friendliest rooms I’ve been in, in London. The acts wondered around the upper part of the venue once they had performed with the rest of their delegation. The atmosphere in the Green Room was jovial, with many acts taking a stint behind the bar in good spirit.
This was one of the best nights out in London I have had in a while. I would thoroughly recommend a visit next year and you can keep updated by checking out their website. In the meantime come Eurovision night I can guarantee that I will be annoying all of those around me by repeatedly saying ‘I met them…..’ and crossing my fingers that despite Brexit we manage to do better than our performances at recent years (24th for the last 2 years). Many thanks to the organisers of this event for the invite….. I’m looking forward to next years already (hint hint)!