Eurovision Fam Feature: Not An Average Joe

Here in the Eurovision Fam we want to feature YOU! No, not all of you, but a few YOUs in the Eurovision Song Contest fandom. As always, this is a site where we are highlighting and centering the voices of individuals who are not from Eurovision participating countries. 

Check out the latest Eurovision Family Member: Joe 

Where are you from?

New York, The States

When and how did you discover the Eurovision Song Contest? 

I had heard about it here and there, but the point where I really started learning about it and paying attention to it was while I was doing a journalism program in Oxford in the summer of 2017. I was looking up lists of the best songs ever for a website and I stumbled upon a ranking of every British entry up to that point. I watched a few videos and I’ve been hooked ever since.

What is your all-time favorite Eurovision Song?

“Nocturne” by Secret Garden (Noway 1995)

Who is your favorite Eurovision winner and why?

Norway 1995—I have a lot of respect for Norway trying something daring and original. Even now, sending a song with barely any lyrics is a gutsy move, and the musicians of Secret Garden create a beautiful, transfixing soundscape, aided by the glorious RTE Concert Orchestra. It stands out even now, and there’s never been a Eurovision entry like it before or since. It defies every cliche about the Contest and I really love it.

What is your favorite Eurovision Contest year and why?

Probably 1996. Just a really solid year all around, without a bad song in the bunch. It’s a year with so many different genres and styles crammed into a mere 23 songs, from dance music to folk to gospel and jazz. It’s a year I’d show people to demonstrate that Eurovision is more than just schlager and pop music.

If you could change one thing about the Eurovision Song Contest what would it be and why?

I really wish they wouldn’t geoblock the last few years’ worth of contest performances. Maybe it’s some record company bullsh!t or something, but it’s a major hindrance to getting people from outside the Eurovision sphere invested. For all their talk about trying to get Americans interested in Eurovision, they’ve never been able to find a consistent network to show it on or made access easy beyond the music videos and certain bits and pieces. I genuinely do want there to be more of a fanbase for the contest here in the USA, but they haven’t made it easy for themselves.

What do you LOVE about being in the Eurovision fan community?

Most of the time, fans are very open to embracing new things. You meet people from tons of countries with wildly varying music tastes, but nine times out of ten, you’re absolutely going to find common ground with somebody about something. And in many cases (not always online, I’ll admit), people are very kind and funny.

What is the hardest thing about being a fan NOT from a participating country? 

It definitely feels a little weird to not have a country to 100% get behind. I have my favorites, sure, but I don’t have the heartfelt connection fans from those countries do. I feel a bit like I’m on the outside looking in sometimes. Also, whenever there’s even a brief conversation about the USA joining Eurovision (which, like many, I oppose – we haven’t earned that the way Australia did), I suddenly find myself inundated with criticism of the USA for butting in and feel very unwelcome as an American fan.

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Published by Elda Mengisto

Frequent writer, aspiring scholar, occasional fencer. I'm a lover of all things beautiful and light.

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