ESC UK Selection Final 12-03-10
3 of us, myself, my sister Cathy and her daughter Danielle left Wales at 9:30am. We were advised not to drive directly to London as the parking, traffic and congestion charge are astronomical. Instead, we drove to Reading, which is approx 45 miles from London and caught the train for the last leg of the journey into the capital.
After stopping in one of the motorway service stations for a coffee and potty stop (we were desperate for a wee and I was desperate for a nicotine hit) we got into London at 12:30pm.
We caught the tube into Picadilly Circus with the intention whilst we were there to be ‘On the go in a tourists shoes’, but after seeing how quickly the time was passing, we decided to just have lunch instead. I sent text message to Magda, saying we were in London, and got a text back from her saying that she was 4th in the queue, so we should hurry. Back on the tube for the last leg to TV Centre and on arrival, I recognised Magda in the queue, straight away.
After hugs and introductions we had to join onto the end of the line and await the doors opening. I started to get concerned, as there was still no sign of Andrea by 4:15 and the doors were due to open at 4:30!!! We had to leave our mobile phones at the security desk and pass through an airline style metal detector. All bags had to go through a scanner and I was even made to take my belt off (not like it was Batman’s utility belt or anything, it was just holding my jeans up, for the love of God!) and so after redressing myself, we were finally ushered into the refreshment lounge, where we hooked up with Magda again. Coats were checked in, soft drinks were bought and banners, T-shirts and gifts were displayed, whilst we STILL awaited Andrea’s arrival. Andrea arrived at approx 5:00pm so all was well. I got everyone to sign ‘The Flag’ and we awaited the time when we would be transferred into the studio.
As the 3 of us were only staying for Alex’s and the Sugababes performance we had stickers to distinguish us from those who had booked for the entire show (who were given wristbands). This meant that we were separated from Magda and Andrea and were escorted to the studio first. We saw the host, Graham Norton exercising his dogs in the courtyard, so that caused a bit of a buzz to the crowd.
Upon entry to the studio, we were herded…I…mean ushered into the corner of the studio, RIGHT BY THE ENTRANCE TO THE STAGE!!! (on the Youtube video, it was the circular door, on the right hand side of the screen, that looked like an archery target) We could see backstage, so knew beforehand when the Smurf would arrive. After a bit of a boogie to previous Eurovision hits, to get us into the party spirit, a rather camp, yet energetic young man (He was the floor manager I think) told us when to clap, sway to the beat, scream etc, which we all did with gusto. Some researchers brought out the 3 hat poles for Frikar whilst Graham was officially introduced to the audience. Graham picked out Magda from the crowd and asked her about Alex. She replied that she knew him on Facebook. That became a bit of a running joke to the friends and family of the show contestants, like, “You never know if <insert name> wins tonight, you too could become THEIR friend on Facebook!” etc. Graham did a link to camera whilst the Frikar boys (Ulf-Arne recognised me, or it may have been ‘The Flag’, I’m not sure) entered the stage and then Graham uttered the immortal line, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, HE’S HERE TONIGHT. THE SCANDINAVIAN SUPERSTAR HIMSELF, PERFORMING HIS EUROVISION WINNING SONG ‘FAIRYTALE’…IT’S ALEXANDER RYEBAK!!!! I turned to Cathy, and said “Its REEBAK! Get it right or dont say it at all!” lol.
Well, the crowd went nuclear at the mention of his name. I really didn’t realise he had so many British fans, but they were out in force in that room tonight. I dont think any of you need worry about his state of mind, as he was radiant coming through the stage door. He really knows how to turn it on for a performance, I’ll credit him with that. Frikar were spectacular. I’ll stick my neck out and say they were better even than Prague (although I missed Anders not being there). Alex acknowledged Magda and Andrea (who were close to the centre of the stage) but I was at eye level when he did ‘THE MOVE’ and boy did I get an eyeful!! lol I’m not going to forget THAT in a hurry. After the performance they had to pass by us to get off stage. I waved the flag and Facebookie banner that I had brought (picture to follow) and got another acknowledgement from Ulf-Arne (who is starting to become my favourite member by the way) and a big thumbs up from Adne.
I was now ready to leave, but I had to stick around for the Sugababes performance. As we were waiting for the Sugababes to come onto the stage, Pete Waterman walked behind us. I mouthed to Cathy and Danielle, ‘Thats Pete Waterman’ There were 2 girls standing behind Cathy who read my lips and asked “Was that REALLY Pete Waterman?”, to which Cathy replied, “Yes, it was.” One of the girls then said “Oh, I didn’t notice, I was busy looking at Alexander through the gap at the side of the stage door!!! “DAMN!!! I missed him again!!! My timing sucks…OFFICIALLY!!
The Sugababes were very good, but in my opinion, not a patch on Alex’s show, but then I’m biased. :o) After a brief interview with Graham, the contestants were brought on stage for a rehearsal of their Abba medley. I was now starting to get really tired and longed for the show to be over. We were then allowed to go back to the refreshment room to relax until the main show went out live. I asked a production assistant if Alex was still in the building and she said she saw him leave TV Centre about 20 minutes earlier. DOUBLE DAMN!! If only we could have gone before the Sugababes came out! I was NOT happy.
As we were not allowed to stay, since we only had the pre-recording pass, I had to say goodbye to Magda and Andrea. I was given my phone back and that is when I had the smuggled photo with them both. I asked a guy who was seated if he would take our photo and it turned out he lives about 25 miles from my town! “I thought I heard a Welsh accent!” he said. After final hugs, we made our way out of TV Centre and headed back to the tube.
Upon reaching Paddington Station, we hopped onto the express train back to Reading, and arrived there approx 9:10pm. We got back in the car and started the long drive home, arriving home at 12:30am.
Its been a REALLY long day, but it was worth it. Ok, Alex didn’t see us, although Frikar did, No-one managed to give Alex their gifts, Geraint had to stay in my bag as he wasn’t allowed on the stage and I was afraid he’d melt being so close to the really hot lights, but I’ve got 4 more signatures to ‘The Flag’, met and made friends with 2 FABULOUS girls and got an eyeful of Alex with his legs open! (I SOOOOO love ‘The Move’ and he does it so well. lol)
HAPPY DAYS! lol