Every Eurovision fan knows that time moves differently depending on which point of the season we find ourselves in. During the build-up to Eurovision, time really seems to crawl by in SloMo — then, once everything kicks off, it still feels like it’s all over in a Snap! After so many national finals, pre-parties and shock moments, Eurovision 2022 is already over: and we are left to pack up our flags and entertain ourselves until the season begins again. 

Still, one of the best ways to combat Post-Eurovision Depression is by immersing ourselves in some of the wonderful experiences we’ve shared with #YOU this year. This author was fortunate enough to attend Eurovision in Turin, and so I did my best to chronicle as much of the experience as possible for you to enjoy.

So, let’s rewind the clock, and come along on a trip on the ground through Turin 2022; what was it like to be there during Eurovision this year?

Hey Ho, Let’s Go, Rotterdam to Torino!

Zdob și Zdub’s Trenulețul playing on the train from Milan to Turin.

My own adventure to Eurovision 2022 began with a flight from Dublin airport, to Milan Malpensa. The flight path took us directly over the other 2021 podium countries, France and Switzerland: in that way, it really felt like the perfect transition between the two years. Despite Rotterdam’s incredible show feeling like it was not that long ago at all, it finally felt as though the baton had passed. 

The characters and flavours of Eurovision 2022 were being formed — dancing into life between my headphones, taking shape through various rehearsal pictures — and I couldn’t wait to meet every surprise that was in store.

Although Milan had narrowly missed out on its bid to host this year, there was still a small Eurovision presence there to greet us. Sponsored signs bedecked Milano Centrale train station, and every now and again, I would catch snippets of conversation about the contest among the commuting crowds. However, of course the main event would be situated in Torino, and there the Eurovision adventure would begin in earnest.

As we closed in on Turin, the atmosphere slowly began to shift. Bright yellow Subwoolfer hats began peeking out from above excited faces; and caped superfans from every country swiftly appeared, proudly wearing flags

A large banner in Turin’s Porta Nuova train station.

tucked into the back of their shirts. Banners advertising the contest cropped up on almost every street, as did large spreads in Turin’s train stations.

In particular, an outpouring of love for reigning Sanremo winners Mahmood and Blanco was immediately apparent. They featured prominently on posters plastered throughout the city — indeed, their incredible popularity was highlighted on Friday, when rumours piled that the duo were planning a surprise concert in the Eurovision Village. The result was a chaotic showcase of their immense popularity — as reported by local newspaper Torino Today, thousands queued for the chance to see Brividi live, despite the Italian representatives confirming that the rumour was false. Outside of the park, some fans even began to peel back the Eurovision barricades, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Sanremo champions!

The Shows

The main attractions of course were the shows themselves, inside this year’s venue, the PalaOlimpico. I was fortunate enough to obtain tickets to the family shows of both the Second Semi-Final and the Grand Final. 

Watch the crowd react to Moldova’s performance:

 

Each day, Eurovision fans crammed onto crowded trams, which ferried legions of the devoted toward the venue. For the most part, Turin had seemed somewhat subdued about hosting the contest — while this was my first in-person Eurovision experience, I was told by others that the general enthusiasm levels had felt outwardly much higher in previous host cities such as Lisbon.  However, whether this held true or not, the temperature certainly seemed to rise as we closed in on the PalaOlimpico itself. 

Subwoolfer cosplayers stop to take photos with fellow fans outside of the PalaOlimpico.

Outside the arena, cosplayers danced and took photos; people lined up to take pictures with the massive Eurovision logos; and a genuine sense of joy was palpable everywhere. In one wonderful moment, I overheard Spanish and British fans wishing each other luck in the Grand Final; in another, a fan asked to borrow my Irish flag for a photo, as he was supporting Ireland that night. Even in the supermarket across the road, a child squealed in delight upon seeing some wild Subwoolfers doing their shopping.

For me, it hammered home the true purpose of Eurovision — to promote friendship between countries — in a way far beyond what I had seen on television. Here were thousands of people, many of whom speaking completely different languages, and yet we were all united in our love for this one strange thing.

Inside the arena, there was a large kiosk selling merchandise, drinks and snacks, as well as a cream cheese-sponsored photo booth with perhaps the most cursed tagline ever — stepping inside would render you a new member of “the Creamiest Band ever.” Needless to say, after taking a photo in the booth, I then hurried to my seat.

Myself and the amazing Brooke Scullion.

The biggest hits with the crowd turned out to be a highly accurate metric for predicting the eventual results on Saturday night: most noticeably, it felt like the entire arena was on their feet for Moldova’s performance, a surefire indicator of their incoming status as a televote smash-hit. The cheers were also incredible for Spain’s sensational Chanel Terrero, the United Kingdom’s ever-electric Sam Ryder, the home team of Mahmood and Blanco, Ukraine’s powerful Kalush Orchestra, and Serbia’s hypnotising Konstrakta. 

Seeing Stars: A Chance Meeting With Brooke Scullion!

Some of the best moments of any trip are those you can’t plan for — by pure coincidence, I was able to meet Ireland’s representative Brooke Scullion. 

While walking home from a very packed Eurovillage, I happened to pass by the now-legendary Huntsman pub, which had been catering for Eurovision fans all week. Incredibly, I wandered onto the scene right on time to be there for this amazing moment:

(I am in the back of the video bouncing around with the accidental Ivory Coast flag — I was too excited!).

After our celebration, Brooke was kind enough to stop and chat to all of us who had gathered, and to take pictures. To be able to tell her how great she had been on Thursday night was wonderful; and I sincerely hope that each artist knows how much joy they have brought to fans.

But that’s not the entire story – there’s still more to my Turin experience! Next week I’ll give an even further glimpse into the behind-the-scenes works for Eurovision, the Eurovision village, and more!

Were #YOU in Turin for Eurovision 2022? How was your experience? Let us know your thoughts on Turin 2022 in the comments below, on our forum HERE or on social media, @ESCUnited!

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