Before September 1 hits, and we get sucked into everything Eurovision/Junior Eurovision, we wanted to take the opportunity to give our readers a chance to get to know our team a bit better. There’s no other way to do this other than to do a series where we introduce ourselves. In this part, it is the turn of the Head of That Eurovision Podcast, Rory.
Hello everyone! My name is Rory, and I’m currently a postgraduate journalism student (though I am trying to break into the real world of journalism).
Name: Rory Gannon
You can find him posting on:
How did I get into the Eurovision Song Contest?
Despite only being a young child, I was absolutely fascinated with geography and you would easily find me with my head buried in an atlas just looking at the shapes of countries, learning their capitals and the intricate details of every nation. My party trick for a long time as a child (and still to this day!) was to name any capital in the world if asked.
This intense infatuation with geography led to me being recommended to watch Eurovision. The Contest had always been watched in my house – my earliest memory being of the 2005 voting sequence. However, as I was so young, I was unable to watch the full shows. This changed when I got to watch the 2007 semi-final. After that I was absolutely enthralled and needed to know more.
What point did I consider myself as a “Eurofan”?
That’s a very tough question to answer, because I fell in love with Eurovision from the moment I paid attention to it. The moment I pinpoint when I realised my true identity as a Eurofan was when I made the local pub play the 2009 semi-finals when I was on holiday in Cyprus. The locals weren’t too pleased with me, but I wasn’t going to let some people make me miss the shows of my new obsession!
How has my life changed since becoming a Eurofan?
Since becoming a Eurofan, my knowledge of European culture has skyrocketed. Many people assume that Eurovision is just three shows a year and nothing else, but life in the Eurofandom has shown that there’s so much more than that: the national finals, the pre-parties, the guessing as to which city could host next year. My obsession with Eurovision has informed many of my own career choices – as I chose to do my undergraduate degree in International Politics. I even did my dissertation on the Contest (with the subject being the effect of identity politics and homosexualisation of the Contest in the modern era).
What are my favourite Eurovision Songs and Countries?
This is simultaneously incredibly easy and painfully hard to fully answer, as I love such a wide variety of songs. I have one specific so-called “stan” country and that is Ukraine; with the exception of 2003, every song Ukraine has sent to the Contest I have enjoyed on a personal and musical level. The ability to take a song, amplify the cultural elements and still present it in an accessible manner is no easy feat, yet Ukraine manages to make it look effortless, and that is the reason they are the only country to maintain a 100% qualification record! Other countries I have soft spots for include Belgium – especially during their dark, moody era; Slovenia – though there can be an odd miss; and Georgia – the ability to be one of a handful of countries to skill experiment and go left-field should be commendable.
Regarding my top 5 entries, this is incredibly hard. I have a penchant for all things moody, lo-fi and atmospheric, and in this current era of the Contest, we are getting a lot of songs that fit into those categories. However, these are my go to tunes in any Eurovision setting:
- 🇺🇦 1944 – Jamala
- 🇬🇪 Visionary Dream – Sopho Khalvashi
- 🇬🇧 Where Are You? – Imaani
- 🇵🇹 O Jardim – Cláudia Pascoal
- 🇫🇷 C’est le dernier qui a parlé qui a raison – Amina
What are my favourite National Final songs?
This question is like asking someone to find a needle in a haystack – there’s far too many to choose from! I fully started watching other countries’ national finals in 2013, which has given be 8 years worth of finals to try and whittle down. I do think if I was given a top 100 to decide, this would be just as hard for me. However, these are the underrepresented songs that deserve a bit more credit!
- 🇲🇩 Curly – Your Recovery (O Melodi Pentru Europa 2014)
- 🇨🇿 Debbi – High on Love (ESCZ 2018)
- 🇪🇪 Cätlin Mägi and Jaan Pehk – Parmumäng (Eesti Laul 2019)
- 🇺🇦 [O] – Tam, kudy ya idu (Vidbir 2020)
- 🇵🇹 Miguel Maroco – Girassol (Festival da Cancao 2021)
What are you looking forward to in the next Eurovision season?
The beauty of a show like the Eurovision Song Contest is its unpredictability; we never know what we’re going to get next year. We think we know everything, and then someone comes out and completely changes the game. That is the element I’m most looking forward to in the upcoming season – we are going to get a host of new songs, new experiences and – most importantly – a new winner. Italy is ready to put on a classy, spectacular show, and to say we are ready for it is probably the biggest understatement ever! I’m also really looking forward to providing you all with new opinions and new episodes of our podcast, so be sure to follow us there so you can track what we think!
What do you think of Rory’s opinions? Want to learn more about our team? Let us know in the comments below or on social media. Don’t forget to follow ‘THAT Eurovision Site’ over at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.