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In-depth Turin 2022

London Eurovision Party 2022: The Fan’s Thoughts

Finally after two years off, Saturday the 3rd of April 2022 was the highly anticipated London Eurovision Party (LEP). The class of Eurovision 2022 (and others!) took to the stage of the Hard Rock Hotel in central London for fans from the capital and beyond.

What went down at the first London pre party since 2019? Sophie, Georga and AJ from the EuroBuzz team who were in attendance give their opinion on the new venue, the acts and their overall experience. Is it actually worth attending LEP?

The Venue

This year was the first time the London Eurovision Party was held at the Hard Rock Hotel, in the heart of the city right next to Marble Arch. How did the hotel hold up as a party and concert venue?

Sophie: “I really enjoyed the venue and I don’t think the videos and pictures online do it justice. The whole point of LEP is that it’s supposed to be a party, and the fact you are so up close and personal with the artists really adds to the party atmosphere. The staff were also really nice and friendly, there were places to sit down if you wanted to but also very easy to get among the action. Yes, it’s hardly the O2 Arena but I don’t think the LEP staff want to replicate the vibe of a big festival style event.”

AJ: “The venue was interesting – but I really enjoyed it! I agree with Sophie that the pictures didnโ€™t do it justice – looking at some of these pics and videos it gives a totally different impression to how it actually was. Iโ€™d say it worked for LEP, there was enough space for the audience, and you could easily get a good spot close to the stage. My only semi-criticism is that it was almost too โ€˜boujeeโ€™ for an event like this maybe? Then again, with the amount I spent on a ticket, why shouldnโ€™t the venue be boujee!”

Georga: “The venue to me felt iconic – Hard Rock Hotels and Cafรฉs are known across the world, so to host LEP there felt fitting. I never got to experience an LEP at Cafรฉ de Paris so don’t have any prior venue comparisons, but the intimate nature of the whole thing made the experience even more special. You’re not going to bump into artists in the toilets at a huge arena, that’s for sure!”

The Hosts

SuRie (UK Eurovision act for 2018) and Paddy O’Connell were the hosts of the evening. What was their energy like?

Sophie: “SuRie was hilarious! She really kept the crowd going in-between acts when set up was needed. She embodies every single thing about our community and even got the crowd involved in some points too. It comes so natural to her. Paddy O’Connell was a bit obsessed with getting the artists to sing acapella after their performance though…”

AJ: “SuRie is such a queen, honestly. I loved her anyway but I have even more respect for her after LEP – she was funny, charismatic, and showed a genuine interest in each of the artists who took part. She opened the show with her 2018 entry โ€˜Stormโ€™, as a tribute to the people of Ukraine, and then ended the show with an energetic performance of โ€˜Toyโ€™!

I liked Paddy also – I got the chance to speak with him in the queue and he is clearly passionate about LEP and glad that itโ€™s back!

Georga: “SuRie was an outstanding host – her love and passion for the contest really stood out, both in the anecdotes she told and how she interacted with the crowd, but I think Paddy’s humour felt a little too hit and miss for me personally, not every joke stuck or had the reaction that was possibly expected. Having Rylan guest host certain bits was an amazing surprise as well – whether it was an impulsive decision or pre-planned I don’t think we’ll ever know, but it was just so lovely to see!”

SuRie and Rylan / Photo: Georga – twitter.com/_aftercenturies

The Acts

28 acts performed at LEP 2022 – the highest amount of performers for the pre party ever! What did you think of the quality of the show and talent on display?

Sophie: “Of course it was all about 2022 but I was SO happy to see some of the 2020/21 acts get the pre party experience too! (The Roop, James Newman, Eye Que, Victoria). I did think it was a bit strange that some acts only got one song and others got two or event three, but that just might be down to what they wanted to do with their time on stage. It was cool to discover some new songs from these Eurovision artists we grow to love!”

AJ: “The quality of the acts was so good! It was great to see so many 2022 artists, including favourites such as Sweden and Spain. It was great to see James Newman, The Roop, Victoria from the class of 2020/2021 – personally I was surprised there wasnโ€™t more acts from last year, although maybe there just wasnโ€™t time with all the 2022 artists willing to take part. It was good to hear the artists perform some other songs rather than their ESC songs, Iโ€™m sure it must be nice for them to perform something a bit different!”

Georga: “I loved the variety of acts, and the fact my top 3 were all performing made this even better! I loved the pick and mix of past artists, current artists and even National Final artists that got to perform. My only small downside was that some acts got more stage time than others – I’d have loved for all acts to have performed two songs and kept the party going.”

We Are Domi (Czech Republic 2022) / Photo: AJ – twitter.com/OneiroMou

Biggest Surprise

Who wasn’t on your radar until LEP? Did anyone shock you with stunning vocals or incredible stage presence?

Sophie: “It’s always been clear that Ochman (Poland 2022) as absolutely stunning vocals but WOW – they are absolutely next level live for me. It honestly felt like the studio track it was so stunning. A great job from him.”

AJ: “I agree Ochman was great live. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by Andrea (North Macedonia 2022) – she really performed Circles well and itโ€™s made me reconsider its chances in Turin. Also I thought We Are Domi (Czech Republic 2022) was great live, which was somewhat a surprise after people have been saying itโ€™s recent performances are underwhelming.”

Georga: “Definitely Ochman: vocally he was impeccable, it feels as though he’s flown under the radar but after this I’d definitely have him marked down as one to watch!”

Ochman (Poland 2022) / Photo: AJ – twitter.com/OneiroMou

Biggest Crowd Pleaser

Which Eurovision artist at LEP really knows how to work that stage and will be racking up those televote points in May?

Sophie: “The buzz in the room when Chanel (Spain 2022) was on stage was INSANE! The crowd absolutely loved her and you could tell she was so greatful for the support. It popped off so much and that dance break live is an absolute moment.”

AJ: “Chanel was insane, there was no scaling back of SloMoโ€™s performance in LEP, it was just as good as in BenidormFest. Also Cornelia (Sweden 2022) had the crowd in the palm of her hand, with the audience chanting โ€˜winnerโ€™ repeatedly at her!”

Georga: “Probably KEiiNO (Norway 2019), the cheers that they got after their set were almost deafening, it was so lovely to see that there’s still so much love for them! Of this year’s acts, I think potentially Citi Zฤ“ni (Lativa 2022) – you could tell everyone loved the song, and the crowd surf was definitely unexpected but will stick out as a memorable moment for a long time!”

Best Moment

Any inconic moments you’ll never forget?

Sophie: “Rylan (BBC Eurovision Semi Final Commenter) was at LEP 2022 and he got up on stage with Subwoolfer as they taught him the dance to their song! It was so fun and us British fans support Rylan so much so we just love seeing him living his best life.”

AJ: “I think Sam Ryder (UK 2022) ending the show with Space Man was a great moment. Not only did he perform it amazingly but the crowd seemed to be so supportive of it. Fingers crossed this translates into a good result in Turin!

Also, Citi Zฤ“niโ€™s stage dive was a great moment but for different reasons!”

Georga: “For me, the best moment was the La Venda (Spain 2019) conga line that started during the after party, it was amazing to see everyone just join in and celebrate. To me, that’s what the contest is about – a group of people coming together to celebrate a love of music.”

Citi Zฤ“ni (Latvia 2022) / Video: Alice – twitter.com/ESCAlice_

Would You Go Again?

The all-important question – was it time and money well spent as a Eurovision fan? Would you recommend the experience to fellow Eurovision lovers?

Sophie: “Absolutely, it’s really worth it in my opinion if you like to party with Eurovision fans and even the artists! If you’re expecting a concert style experience you won’t get that here and perhaps should look elsewhere. But if you want to see your favourite acts having a laugh on stage and maybe even bump into them in the toilets then this is a great experience! The only thing that I wish was different is that the after party only went on for an hour, definitely not enough time to dance to Eurovision songs!”

AJ: “Definitely! This was my first LEP and I throughly enjoyed myself. It was such a great opportunity to see so many Eurovision artists perform, and to meet so many fellow fans!

Iโ€™m hoping that LEP will consider offering cheaper tickets and be on a Friday or Saturday to allow more fans the opportunity to come. But nevertheless, if youโ€™re able to come to the next one and can afford it, do it!”

Georga: “Definitely, for my first ever Eurovision event I loved every moment of it! From meeting my friends to seeing these amazing artists perform live, it was a truly special evening and one I’d love to experience again.”

Sam Ryder (UK 2022) / Photo: AJ – twitter.com/OneiroMou

As fans, we’ve really missed the in person events and it’s so exciting to see them back this year. Despite a new venue and getting used to the event scene again, it was a great night for not just British fans, but fans from everywhere to unite, catch up with friends and make new ones and of course, show their support for their favourite acts as Eurovision 2022 draws closer and closer.

Did you attend London Eurovision Party this year, or another pre party? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

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