No wait! Seriously! Come back! Despite all my issues with the staging and presentation of the Germany entry this year, like all Eurovision songs to me, there is value in them, including this song. (And kudos to the two ladies from S!sters constantly making the most of their time in the Eurovision spotlight!) But let me explain…
The two weeks of Eurovision at the press center is grueling. it’s hard work, with long hours and many times looking at the same performances over and over and over again. There was one day where they had Anna Odobescu ‘Stay’ on constant replay and I thought I was going to go insane. I am not sure how to explain it to my friends, but despite that, it is all so worth it. And that’s because of the people with whom I am in the press center.
“I’m tired, tired of competing
I tried to hold you under
But honey, you kept breathing”
The Eurovision press center is a hodgepodge of competition, both friendly and visceral. We have goals to meet. Content to upload. There are high emotions many times. But there is also support. Our team was always there for one another. I will mostly miss the group chat we had going on our laptops and phones as we worked together.
As much support we have for one another, it does sadden me to see others in the press center who act in the opposite manner. It is quite a shame to see certain members so obviously ostracize themselves from the supportive community that exists within the press center. We are all very busy, and we try our best to respectful of one another’s time, but there are always moments to check in, chat about things beyond Eurovision, and just watch out for one another.
During my four years at the Eurovision press center, I have been amazed by how I first came in with an assumption that there was a bullseye on us at ESC United, and that folks were ready to underestimate us. Granted, I still think back to the first time Matt and I did press in 2013 in Malmo and some of the looks we got from people wondering how these two guys were crazy enough to do the load of work that larger teams had done for so many years prior. However, as we worked our butts off, we quickly gained the respect of others, and these have grown into very fruitful and fulfilling friendships.
So this year, I went with the strategy to ignore the toxicity and competitiveness that may exist and to embrace the support and love to ensure that we all could continue breathing.
“Oh, you gotta know I’m with ya”
There are many from the press center that I talk to throughout the year, about things other than Eurovision. Last year, in my day job, I actually won a big award. This year, I was surprised when other press took time to come up and congratulate me in person. I won’t lie, winning that award was awesome, but it was a year ago and part of me had moved on to other work responsibilities. Those quick and simple congratulations were a welcome reminder to stop, breathe, and take time to celebrate my triumphs. Knowing I could do this with others, despite actually them for only two weeks a year was the added bonus.
At the same time, in the recent months, I experienced not too great of times, as I worked through changes in my personal life. And just as they were there to celebrate, members from the press were there to commiserate and offer support. To think about how busy they are in their lives, yet how they wanted to take time to catch up, that is humbling. For most of us in the press center, we are not competing; rather, we are collaborating by supporting one another.
“Don’t you try to hide it
What has been just as amazing for me has been the amount of support that our viewers provide us. We have had that for all the time that Matt and I have worked together. This year I really felt it with the livestream. Six years ago, livestreams were non-existent. But in the press center, so many are occurring, and I think Matt deserves a lot of credit for that, as I believe he was one of the first to use these (others in the press center I know have confirmed by belief, FYI).
I was a bit hesitant to be online on a livestream, honestly. I am quite the private person, who prefers going through my routine locations of preference and not really venturing out. And livestreams were new to me. This is likely why I felt the need to call myself and David the “B-Team,” this fear of uncertainty, not being good enough, and an “imposter.” The best wake-up call was the viewers telling me to stop calling us that because they loved the different spin that we provided. From that point on, my confidence on the livestream increased. And perhaps at times I got too comfortable to where I may have overshared. But I had to remind myself that I cannot hide who I am out of fear. I am me, and I know I will always be (okay wrong song…).
“I see flames in your eyes
Damn, they burn so bright
Oh, you gotta know I’m with ya”
At the end of the day, working press with ESC United this year far exceeded my expectations. The support that exists in the press center and with our readers/viewers is incredible. I hope that we all can continue working together to not only fight the vitriol that can sadly exist in Eurovision fandom, but more importantly, nurture and enrich the supportive relationship that we have all built so that we can live our lives to their fullest potentials.
Apologies for the schmaltzy editorial. But I am not so much in my usual Post-Eurovision Depression (PED). Rather, I am in a Post-Eurovision Euphoria (PEE). And like an excited dog, I P-E-E. Okay, maybe need to work on that acronym a bit more…
What do #YOU think? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE, or join the discussion on social media and below!