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Our man in Turin, Stratford media professional and Eurovision expert Dean Asker, gives his view of this year's Eurovision



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Our man in Turin, Stratford media professional and Eurovision expert Dean Asker, gives his view of this year's Eurovision

LAST Saturday evening, something amazing happened. The UK came second in the Eurovision Song Contest, and I was in the Pala Alpitour arena in Turin to witness the joyous celebrations alongside hundreds of British Eurovision fans.

Over the past few years the UK hasn’t done very well in the competition, which is usually followed by cries of “It’s all political! Europe hates us. We could send Adele and we’d still come last.” By snatching this year’s silver position, let’s hope these views have finally been confined to the wastebin.

Dean Asker at Eurovision (56749326)
Dean Asker at Eurovision (56749326)

The reality is that our recent entries just haven’t been good enough. This year we got our act together: we had a great singer in Sam Ryder, a brilliant song, the anthemic Space Man, and electrifying staging. And guess what? We amassed a whopping 466 points, with each of the other 39 countries in the contest – with the exception one (I’m looking at you, Croatia) – voting for us.

How did this happen? Well we took the contest seriously. The BBC, who are responsible for the selection of our entry, engaged the services of TaP Management, a respected music agency who look after the likes of Dua Lipa and Lana Del Rey to help choose the UK entrant. This strategy has paid off in spades.

Sam Ryder (56749543)
Sam Ryder (56749543)

Like me, Sam Ryder believed that a good song, no matter which country enters it, can do well. And he’s been proved right. Just like last year’s winners, Italian rock band, Maneskin – who’ve gone on to global success – he’s shown that taking part in Eurovision is an opportunity that can reap rewards.

Space Man is now heading for a Top 3 position in the UK charts, and I’m sure Sam is on the verge of a great music career.

Ukraine winners.
Ukraine winners.

It was the 25th contest I’ve attended in person, and there’s nothing like experiencing it live. I love the big ballads as much as I love some of the crazier entries. Sweden’s heart-breaking Hold Me Closer was my favourite, but I equally enjoyed Norway’s entry featuring two supposed ‘aliens’ performing Give That Wolf A Banana, a song about wanting to eat your grandma. And where else would you see someone singing about Meghan Markle’s hair whilst washing their hands in a basin? To be fair it was actually a critique about the Serbian healthcare system, but I’m not sure many people got that.

Eurovision has a way of capturing the zeitgeist, and, as expected, Ukraine won with the ethno pop/rap song Stefania. The rapturous and moving response in the hall was, of course, not simply a reaction to the song but what is going on in Europe right now. It felt like Europe was coming together to unite behind Ukraine.

It remains to be seen whether Ukraine will be able to host next year’s contest, or if another country, possibly the UK, will step in. But one thing is for certain: wherever the contest is, I’ll be there, enjoying every fabulous moment, and, now that we have our mojo back, maybe even celebrating a UK win.



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