Can you believe that I’ve been a part of the Eurovision community for over 10 years, and yet have never entered a fan contest? It’s almost inexcusable, but recently I redeemed myself by deciding to finally dive right into one of the community’s favourite off-season activities – and this is how it went.
What is a Fan Contest?
If you’re new to the Eurovision community, or perhaps aren’t too involved with social media around Eurovision, you may not have come across these online events. As the name would suggest, it’s a fan run Song Contest that emulates the Eurovision Song Contest. These contests are run by hosts, which are fans just like you and I, and essentially it’s just a fun way to interact with likeminded people.
Different fan contests are run in different ways, with some taking on more characteristics of Eurovision than others. From what I’ve seen over Twitter, the basic process for a fan contest involves either being allocated or choosing a representative country and choosing a song that will then represent that country. From there, a video or playlist is compiled and given to the participants (and sometimes open for all the public to vote), and then there is a voting period from which the results are decided. Of course each contest varies, but that gives you a basic idea.
Let the contest begin!
Roped into the contest by a good friend, I was full of questions, starting from something as simple as ‘how does it work’ to ‘do you think I can win with something daring.’ I was energetic and eager to win, proving to myself that I’m just as competitive as I once was.
The contest I took part in is called Glorevision. Having just completed the 23rd edition of the contest, it’s been a staple of the fan contest community since mid-2016. This edition was record breaking as it featured the highest number of participating nations in Glorevision history. The winner also received the highest point score in Glorevision history, but we’ll get to the results later!
Strategy or Originality?
Selecting the acts turned out to be a TASK and a half! We were asked to select two competing nations, which weren’t limited to the same borders as Eurovision is, so the possibilities were truly endless. My first pick was Italy. I know a fair bit about the Italian music scene, having visited various times, and discovered many acts through Italian television and also through Sanremo, their actual song contest.
My second pick was Denmark. Oh wait, that was already taken. What about Sweden? Of course, taken. Surely no one picked Latvia? But would I have a strong enough song? I had ideas of who to send, it was just about picking a country that I knew I had a strong entry for – and that turned out to be Iceland.
Choosing both my entries proved to be incredibly challenging, as host and friend Selim can attest to, having had to listen to me go on and on about who I should pick, and whether it had the potential to do well. No one wants to lose, right?
The main challenge was choosing whether I wanted to stay genuine to my own taste in music or whether I should select my act with a clear strategy in mind. I could pick something generic that is inoffensive, or I could pick something that is completely left of field – with the potential to come last.
The good thing about Glorevision is that we have the opportunity to select two nations and therefore two competing songs. Choosing for Iceland was fairly easy. At the moment I’ve been getting back into the music by Svala and her band Blissful, so choosing Blissful’s previous release ‘Elevate’ seemed like a no brainer. The positive to choosing this song is that for the Eurovision fans competing in this fan contest, which I’d argue is all the competitors, would already know Svala and may have already been introduced to her music and style – which I believed could be an advantage.
You don’t have to pick someone that has participated at Eurovision, and that was made evident in this specific edition as we saw some international pop stars compete for their home nations. But, surely in a Eurovision fan contest, choosing someone easily recognisable by most would be an advantage. Plus, it’s a great song.
Choosing for Italy on the other hand was insanely difficult. Knowing the music scene more broadly, I had plenty to choose from. I could choose ‘safely’ with a pop number from fan favourite Annalisa, or perhaps a fellow Sanremo act from previous years but something was telling me to stick to my guns and try for something a bit different.
I decided to either pick something within the Italian rap genre, or pop-rock specifically one of the two incredibly Måneskin songs released post-X Factor. In a sense, Måneskin would have been the safer option since their songs are more radio friendly but still edgy enough that it could be seen as a risk.
Picture this, it was late at night and my decision making was questionable. I decided to go all out and pick one of my all-time favourite songs which is titled Perdonami, by Salmo. I’ll assume that you don’t know this song, but the salient facts are that it’s quite an intense and punchy rap song, lasting just over two minutes. Lyrically at times it is a bit aggressive, but melodically it’s earworm material – at least for me.
In Glorevision, the links submitted to the host are placed into a YouTube playlist, and participants are invited to listen to all the songs and vote. This is the type of song that will immediately attract a new fan or instantly lead to a click of the ‘skip’ button, so it definitely was a risky choice on my behalf.
Start Voting Now!
With 31 competing entries, it was going to be another lengthy task to sift through the entries and rank the nations from last to first. As the playlist went along, I started following a self-placed rule – if the song doesn’t catch my attention within the first minute, it’s a no from me. It made the process a bit shorter, but the process also highlighted my inability to rank things that for me are incomparable.
Yes, they are all songs, but how can one rank two good songs when both have different redeeming qualities? The struggle is real…
The Results are in…
Admittedly I was quite nervous. Although I’ve exposed my taste in music publicly before through my Chart Toppers series on Eurovision Union, deep down I still feel somewhat vulnerable to be sharing this side of me – the Italian rap side.
I had a sinking feeling that my Italian entry could be quite low, but was still hopeful that my safer option of an electronic pop number from former Eurovision star Svala could save the day for me.
I get the message – the results are in. Host Selim starts to Tweet out the results, going from 31 to the eventual winner. I was smashing the refresh button over Glorevision’s twitter page waiting for the results and HOPING that I wouldn’t see my entries pop up early on, but much to my dismay, it didn’t take long to see that I had been kicked out of the competition pretty early.
Thankfully for my pride’s sake, I didn’t come last, but I came too close for comfort. Italy finished in 29th place with 146 points, and Iceland finished in a slightly better position of 21st with 207 points.
Are you ready for a little chat?
As I was navigating the contest for the first time, I decided to talk to the host of the competition and my good friend and fellow Australian Selim to discuss what the competition is all about, and what it means to him.
‘I first started Glorevision because at the time (mid-2016) there weren’t a lot of fan contests, and so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to have a go for myself.’ As I have learnt, it’s not all fun and games for the host, as they have the responsibility of organising the competitors and get their submissions, create the contest playlist and calculate the votes. 23 contests later and it’s clear that the organisation of the contest is no bother to Selim, stating that ‘it gives [me] a great opportunity to showcase my unique ideas and also to be the leader figure.’
Creative control is not the only benefit of leading the contest, and Selim adds that he gets to ‘find great new music,’ and loves the social aspect of the contest, having made great friends along the way.
I’m lowkey disappointed, since all that overthinking about how I should select an act fell to the subjectivity of everyone’s taste in music, but at the same time, I enjoyed the experience, mostly as it was great to see a huge range of nations represented with such diverse music. The contest is all in good fun, but for a first timer, it can feel like an overwhelming sense of responsibility and pressure – if I feel like this for a fan contest, imagine a broadcaster selecting for Eurovision!
If y’all are on Twitter and want to keep the Eurovision fire burning through the at times ‘boring’ off season, engaging with a fan contest is a great way to still keep the involvement alive. You might make some friends along the way, and you’ll get to experience a range of new music. Would I recommend this experience? Absolutely!
Glorevision 24 has begun, and you are all invited to choose your representative country/countries and songs. Follow @Glorevision on Twitter, and you can send a message to the friendly host Selim (personal Twitter, @Selimqeleqeles) with your submissions or any further questions!