Almost two weeks ago now, I visited the London Eurovision Party as accredited press and took the opportunity to interview several of this year's performers.
As press, you always want to keep your cool and appear professional, but the one artist I was absolutely desperate to meet was Kaliopi from Macedonia. I'm a big fan of hers and have been for many years. After hanging around while she was in massive demand early in the day, I eventually managed to grab her right after her soundcheck. It's always a concern when you meet your idols, in case they don't live up to your impression of them, but I had nothing to worry about. Kaliopi was absolutely lovely and hugged and kissed me after the interview when I confessed what a big fan I am.
And she was a delight to interview too, and was shocked at how knowledgeable I was about her career (as well as a little humourously put out that I reminded her how old she was!). It was such a pleasure to meet her, and you can read my interview with her for ESC Nation here.
After having achieved my main goal for the day, I set about grabbing as many more interviews as I could. I'd made contact with Andrej Hofer, the Slovenian press representative, earlier, and he'd promised me an interview with Eva Boto, but she'd been snapped up by Channel 4 and the BBC. He came to find me immediately after my hugs and kisses from Kaliopi, and hustled me into the toilets where I finally got my interview with Eva. You can read that, as well as my chat with 2005 representative Omar Naber, here.
Filipa Sousa from Portugal wasn't very in demand compared to many other performers, as spent much of the afternoon sitting chatting to her parents, who'd she'd flown across to have a brief holiday with in London. I perched on a couch next to them, and her interview is here.
Finally, I ventured into the press scrum upstairs, where at least four acts were sitting with fan and professional journalists queueing up and trying to hold their ground to get their five minutes in. Compact Disco from Hungary headed off very suddenly, but I did manage to sidle my way on to Anggun's table, and did a very quick interview with her too, which you can read here.
The final performer who was hanging around was Sabina Babayeva, who was very sought after by the TV stations present, and I was warned that they were eager for a story on Azerbaijan's human rights record. With a large crowd waiting to get to talk to her, and finding myself at the back of the queue, I bade a hasty retreat. I wasn't able to stay for the party in the evening, where all the acts sang their songs and other hits, before fans and performers danced the night away to Eurovision music until the early hours.