ESC Pulse Article: The Emotional Rollercoaster of Stockholm

So I just got home last night, finally getting a decent night’s sleep and now having to sit down and articulate my thoughts on what happened the past two weeks. I’ll try my best to get everything out of my system.

Two weeks ago I came to the Swedish capital with uncertainty but a good level of hope that I would enjoy this experience. I collected my press badge, reunited with some of my friends in press (too many to mention, you all know who you are), walked through Gamla stan and had a tour of the Euroclub/Fan Cafe. I was already starting to settle down and prepare myself for the first slog of rehearsals the following day. It was great to be back in the Eurovision Bubble.

The first week of rehearsals started and day-by-day we were all excited and anticipating over what each country would bring to the table. Some produced big applause, some produced huge rants, and some produced large indifference. As you can see on the site, I made daily video updates over my opinions of the rehearsals. Some people agreed with me, others, well, didn’t appreciate my criticism over certain performances to say the least.

Wednesday morning was the most nerve-wracking for me, because my favourite’s rehearsal was first up that day. “Please don’t have messed this up, please be good”, I kept saying to myself, as I was battling the negative thoughts in my head. I was pacing up and down the room as everyone I was sat with tried to calm me down. In the end the staging turned out fantastic and I could breath a sigh of relief, knowing that the Latvian delegation had done the song justice in my eyes.

After the joy of Wednesday, Thursday was a completely different story. Norway had their first rehearsal, and as soon as I saw it I was extremely worried. “Oh no, this is now going to do badly, I can’t bare to see my beloved Norway fail in the semis” as I broke down crying in what was the first of a handful of crying fits I had during those two weeks.

What really didn’t help was me getting extremely nasty comments later that day from people taking offense to what I said about a certain country’s rehearsal the day before in my video update. I understand if people don’t agree with my views on what makes a good staging, but it’s not easy seeing people tell you to be ashamed of yourself for being honest when you’ve been battling depression for over two years now.

By the Friday once we finally saw all 42 stagings, me and the ESC Insight and Eurovision Ireland crew, who I was sat with, were still none the wiser over who was going to win. I don’t like being uncertain in these circumstances, as to my slightly broken mind, it meant the higher chance of a nasty surprise.

I managed to get a couple of interviews with Greta and Poli, both of whom were so lovely and it was an absolute pleasure to meet and talk to, and both gave me big hugs after recording. I wish I had gotten the chance to speak with more artists, but it’s not easy to do everything required in a Eurovision fansite if you’re the only member of your team on the ground. Everyone who I managed to get a photo with were really nice, and it makes me realize how much I love working on this site, because everyone I meet whether it’s press or delegations or the actual artists are such wonderful people.

The first semi-final finally arrived and I was very excited and nervous at the same time. I actually had a ticket for the show and had a great time watching it with an Icelandic flag in hand. But then the results came, and the second of my crying fits followed. I was just heartbroken. I couldn’t believe what just happened actually happened. If I wasn’t so unsure of whether I was going to catch the last train to my apartment, I would’ve gone straight back to bed instead of sheepishly dragging myself to Euroclub. I think my reactions video said it all…

Everyone was shocked and upset, it wasn’t just me. I lost count of how many times someone spotted my t-shirt and consoled me over Iceland. I also bumped into Iceland’s Head of Press later that night, I told him that I was disappointed but they all seemed to be handling it well. Speaking of which, I bumped into Jüri Pootsmann at the end of the night, he saw my t-shirt and expressed to me how sad he was about Iceland. I responded by saying to him “I’m also sad about you, you were brilliant tonight”, but he smiled and said to me “please don’t be sad, it’s fine” before we gave each other a big hug.

The following day everyone kept saying “well, after what happened to Iceland, anything can happen tomorrow”, so naturally I was extremely worried about what could possibly happen to Justs the next day. I kept trying to convince myself “everything will be fine”, as once again the demons in my mind came out to wreak havoc on me. But the Thursday night finally came, and I finally had something to celebrate:

What you probably couldn’t hear at the end of the video is that I had bought a gift for Justs ready to give to him should he have qualified. I couldn’t give it to him in person as security had suddenly decided to have the second semi-final press conference table cordoned off from everyone, so I had to make do with getting Latvia’s Head of Press to come and collect it instead. It’s up to him whether or not he wants to show off my gift, but I’ll say that it was golden and came with a short message on a postcard.

The next two of my crying fits came the following day at the final jury rehearsal as I realized that soon it will all be over and I will have to leave everything behind. It was as if Post Eurovision Depression was about to make an early appearance for me and I really wasn’t ready for it. Thankfully I had a few shoulders to cry on as I was being an irrational fool in front of hundreds of people.

Final night came and I was hoping and praying that we would have a winner that I wouldn’t be upset about (not mentioning names). The voting came and I was freaking out over how all-over-the-place the jury scoring was. Once Australia was announced 4th in the televote and Poland was announced 3rd, the lightbulb clicked in my head and I immediately bounced and shouted “It’s Ukraine! We’re going to Ukraine next year!” as everyone tried to shut me up saying “No! We don’t know yet!”, as I had forgotten that we were sat next to a bunch of Russian journalists, how awkward!

But I knew that I was right. Once Russia’s televote score was finally revealed, the opposite end of the press centre exploded with blue and yellow flags, and I managed to run to the other end and congratulated a couple of Ukrainians and got a big group hug from them.

At the end of the day I was happy for them, and I was happy that we got a winner that I was pleased with. I partied at Euroclub in my dark red clothing until the early hours of the morning, it meant only getting two hours sleep before my flight home but I didn’t care. As I made my way back to the apartment, I spotted Justs coming out of the exit, and the first thing I did was give him a big hug and tell him how proud I was of him. He seemed really spaced out after a long night, but he thanked me for my support.

I still can’t quite believe that it’s all over, and it might take me a while to fully recover from the madness. But thank you to everyone who followed my ramblings on Twitter and on my daily video updates on the website, thank you to all my friends (both press and non-press) for putting up with me, thank you to SVT and all the organisers for making me feel welcome and doing such a great job, thank you to all the wonderful delegations and artists that I met who put their heart and souls into those performances.

And not least of all, thank you to a certain Mr. Sirmais for making me cry when I listened to his CD when I got home, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you and I hope we see each other again one day. I wish you all the best in the future!

I’m very much looking forward to going to Kiev (or whichever Ukrainian city we go to) next year!


Author: Kylie Wilson

Editor-in-chief of ESC Pulse. A British-New Zealander who's an unashamed Norwegophile, has watched Eurovision every year since 1999, and is not afraid to speak her mind and step outside the general consensus.

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