This article is Part Two of a two part account of what it was like to attend Eurovision 2022 in Turin – click here to catch up on Part One!
Welcome back to our trip through Turin 2022! Last week, we covered the general atmosphere in the city and the arena, as well as a chance meeting with Ireland’s Brooke Scullion! This week, it’s time to give #YOU a little bit of behind-the-scenes insight, a look at the Eurovision Village, and a summation of the experience as a whole. What was it like to attend Eurovision 2022?
As Not Seen on TV:
One of the most interesting aspects of attending Eurovision in-person is the glimpse into how the show is made. I was fortunate enough to attend two shows at the PalaOlimp
ico: the Family Shows of both the Second Semi Final and the Grand Final. Only a few minor aspects gave them away as being rehearsals –
in particular, it was hilarious to see stand-ins miming their way through faux interviews in place of absent acts (Chanel and Sam Ryder look oddly similar today, the hosts joked) or celebrating fake results in the green room. Some performers also did not wear their final outfits, such as MIKA sporting a casual outfit and baseball cap.
Otherwise, both shows ran identically to their live show counterparts – and it was fascinating to see just how the production was put together. Prior to each song, artists waited patiently on-stage as visible countdowns trickled down; workers sprinted around arranging props; and any gaps were patched by the hosts practicing their lines.
Armenia’s performance was particularly interesting to watch from the arena. On paper — that’s a terrible pun — Rosa Linn’s performance seems reminiscent of the concept for Malta’s 2019 entry Chameleon, as both performances opted for the illusion of a house’s interior. However, Snap’s staging seemed a little more elaborate. Stagehands rushed in to rapidly assemble the set, which consisted of about four large segments. The entire “room” was mounted on a turnstile: this meant that spectators in front of the stage could peer in through the fourth wall for most of the performance, while also ensuring that toward the end of the song, the entire set could be manually pushed around, so that Rosa could face the audience as she burst from the walls.
Other, unexpected, curiosities occurred. I was surprised to find for example that Finland’s The Rasmus began their performance not on the stage, but with frontman Lauri Ylönen actually standing behind the kinetic sun. The result for viewers at home — the primary audience — was that the shot of Lauri and his balloon stood out visually a little more; while for the arena audience, it made for a cheer-worthy moment when the singer finally ran around onto the stage.
Notably, Sheldon Riley’s incredible vocal performance for Australia was also made all the more impressive by realising that it happened while stagehands periodically pushed the stairs he stood on!
Interestingly, it was also possible from some seats to view what was happening backstage. There we saw Subwoolfer prepare during Marius Bear’s Swiss entry Boys Do Cry, two songs before they were due to perform — we could also see some of the props stored away for later acts.
Watch below to see Subwoolfer prepare behind the stage during Marius Bear’s Swiss entry; you can also spot Cornelia Jakobs’ prop lying in wait!
A recurring aspect of each Eurovision edition is the Eurovision Village — a free-to-enter area in the host city which is dedicated to Eurovision, similar in concept to the Olympic Villages created for each Olympic Games. This year’s EuroVillage was situated in the Parco del Valentino, and provided a massive near-125 acre space for Eurovision fans to congregate.
I was fortunate enough to gain entry to the Village for the live viewing of the Second Semi Final. Despite the hectic queues for food and drink, this was, without doubt, an incredible experience — to be surrounded on all sides by thousands of fervent Eurovision fans, experiencing the live dramas unfolding on the Village’s massive television screens all at once, was a highlight of my trip.
Watch the EuroVillage audience clapping in unison to Konstrakta’s In Corpore Sano!
There was some disappointment this year regarding the EuroVillage’s programming choices, however. For the most part, this year’s Village mainly featured artists with few connections to Eurovision — a great springboard for introducing new music, however a little dissatisfying for those who wished for constant Eurovision-themed ambience. However, there were still some incredible Eurovision-related guest performances throughout the week (such as 2019 winner Duncan Lawrence), and the ability to watch Eurovision live alongside thousands of fellow fans remains incredible.
Nevertheless, here are certainly aspects to be improved upon. The Village quickly reached capacity several hours prior to the Grand Final, leaving countless fans to wander the streets of Turin, searching desperately for somewhere to watch the final. Without a clear guide as to which venues would be showing the final, there were many lost, face-painted frowns wandering the streets. This is assuredly an aspect which could be communicated more clearly.
I would recommend that future Eurovision-goers arrive at the Eurovision Village as soon as you possibly can, pack snacks, and to perhaps have a back-up plan in place if denied entry.
Bigger Than the Scoreboard
In the end, despite some chaotic organisational moments, there was a palpable lesson to Eurovision 2022: a genuine message of togetherness. Throughout the season, the United Kingdom’s runner-up Sam Ryder emphasised that the scoreboard did not matter hugely to him in the grander scale of things — Eurovision is, ultimately, not exclusively a competition but also a platform, and a collaborative celebration of music and culture.
This season was yet another one which highlighted this camaraderie. Portugal’s MARO invited fellow Festival da Canção contestants Diana Castro and Milhanas to join her at Eurovision; and Finland’s The Rasmus and Poland’s Krystian Ochman both busked on the streets of Turin with Ukraine’s poignant winners Kalush Orchestra.
During the week, I witnessed frequent moments of kindness: be it meeting wonderful new friends, or a stranger telling me how sorry they were that my country didn’t qualify. Reaching out to each other matters most of all, and music is a tremendously powerful connective force.
When all was sung and done, I was left not only humming our winner Stefania, but appreciating the ability of the contest to share voices and promote friendship between ourselves; something all the more important in dark times. Without Eurovision, there would be no way that many of us would have witnessed such a diverse and important spread of musical talent; and for another year, I am immensely grateful.
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!