Valentina is honored to receive a gift from halfway around the world. Ralph sends a special thank you message to readers.

From Zack:

Before and after the interview with Valentina at their hotel, I got a chance to talk to the head of press team, Markus and Lior about their Eurovision experiences.  Being a Eurovision newbie, I really wanted to know how my experience differed from that of a delegation member.  It turns out like being accredited press, they have a lot on their plates as well, if not more!  They also wanted to know a bit about how I became a Eurovision fan, being from the US.

Upon hearing that Valentina was performing at the EuroVillage that afternoon, Matt and I wanted to stop by to quickly give them a small “thank you” gift from us.  Like with Latvia and Macedonia, I wanted to give some of our OGAE Rest of the World countries a small present from Hawai’i.  They are sharing with me a bit of their world, and so I wanted to share a bit of my world, particularly because they were so gracious to answer some of our readers’ questions.

On our way to the EuroVillage, Matt and I ran actually ran into the San Marino head of press, Markus.  I told him that I had a small gift to the San Marino delegation for letting us do an interview with them.  But Markus instead suggested that we swing by their hotel in a few because he wanted us to personally deliver our present to Valentina herself.  And when we did arrive, Valentina was there waiting for us.  Of course, she happily accepted the present and hugged and kissed me (:blush:).

We wanted to take a photo presenting our gift, but she was very tired, especially after being bombarded on Sunday night at Euroclub from adoring fans wanting photos with her.  She was fortunate to have her artistic director, Fabrizio, there to sorta keep things in control!   So of course we said no photo was necessary.  It is easy to see that Valentina has been working very hard.  But all the delegations have.  It will be incredibly sad to be losing six of them tonight.

From Sunday’s interview. From left to right: lyricist Mauro Balestri, Valentina Monetta, ESC staff Kristian, and artistic director Fabrizio Raggi

We were gonna grab coffee with the press guys, but we got a bit delayed because Ralph Siegel came out to talk with us!  For me, it was awesome to see Ralph and Matt chat in German.   Moreover, Ralph is very charming in person.  Loves to talk, and very passionate about music.

By the time we were ready to leave, it was getting very close to Valentina’s performance at EuroVillage, and we wanted to give them their space.  We are press, but we also want to respect the privacy and space that delegations need, especially heading up into the Semi-finals.

Before we left, we asked Ralph to share a message with the ESC United readers.  It was taken on my iPhone, so I apologize for the poor quality.

Matt and I left the San Marino delegation in total disbelief that we just spent a good chunk of our day yesterday just hanging out with them.

Tonight we have the first semi-final and results.  Tomorrow, we will share our thoughts about the six delegations that did not make it through to the finals.  Nothing mean I promise, just some fun details here and there about our best memories of them during the press meet and greets, and just seeing them out and about (because on the way to San Marino’s hotel, we saw so many artists – Austria, Croatia, Albania, Armenia, Estonia – just hanging out).

Thank you to everyone in the San Marino delegation. Your kindness and hospitality will not be forgotten. But more than that, we have been completed blown away by how nice everyone from every delegation has been.  Latvia and Macedonia are a few others that come to mind immediately. For a first timer, definitely an experience that I will never forget.



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  1. Zack

    May 14, 2013 at 17:00

    A fun side story Roy. Kristian is an avid tennis player, and he’s a member of an online tennis forum. He asked me if he could have Valentina do a quick thank you to her fans on there. Of course I said yes, because he’s been such a great asset to the team! I hope the folks at the forum he frequents are excited for the thank you message. Also delighted that we could get him tickets to the second semi-final to cheer on Macedonia.

  2. roy van der merwe

    May 14, 2013 at 15:51

    Really a great team, lets hope for a good position in the final.
    Glad to see Kristian also on the photo

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