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Favourite Winners: Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann (Denmark 1963) France Gall (Luxembourg 1965) Marie Myriam (France 1977) Lordi (Finland 2006) Lena Meyer-Landrut (Germany 2010)
Unsung Heroes: Joan Manuel Serrat (Spain 1968), the original singer of Spain’s winning entry who was replaced because he insisted on performing in his native Catalan. Aarzemnieki (Latvia 2014) who brought the world “Cake to Bake”, a bouncy, folksy ode to pastry. If you can’t have some silly, unbridled joy at Eurovision, where?
Magical Moment: Being invited to a reception at the home of the Icelandic Ambassador in Copenhagen, in honor of Pollapönk, the nation’s act in 2014. The contrast between sipping champagne and nibbling canapes at the home of a diplomat while listening to a punk rock act for kids belting out a sped-up version of Blur’s “Girls & Boys” will always strike me as both humbling and hilarious.
You may have heard/seen/read him/her on: BBC Radio 2, BBC Five Live, BBC World Service, LBC Radio, JuniorEurovision.tv, Radio Verulam, ESCInsight, Oystermouth Radio’s “Wales 12 Points”.
Growing up in the United States, Samantha wasn’t really exposed to Eurovision as a child, barring a few passing references in Monty Python sketches or a brief discussion of Dana International during Bat Mitzvah training. But once she finally caught wind of this competition that blended music, culture, and socio-politics, she was hooked. She started her own fansite (The ESC Insider) in 2009, attended her first Eurovision in 2011, and officially joined the team at ESC Insight the following year. Since then, she’s crossed the Atlantic for six Eurovisions, a Swiss National Final, and two Junior Eurovisions, where she worked as an official member of the EBU’s official editorial team. In Kyiv, Samantha will be serving as the Assistant Head of Press for the Bulgarian delegation, helping to manage English-language social media and press relations for broadcaster BNT.