Category Archives: Featured

Behind the scenes at Eurovision 2024 with performer, Sarah Blomgren

At ESC Covers we sometimes like to take a look a look at the rarer and more unusual parts of the Eurovision Song Contest, plus love showcasing some of the talented people behind the scenes whom the mainstream media don’t often credit.

Today we have an exclusive interview with Sarah Blomgren Barth, who some of you may have seen performing along side Erik Aahl at the closing sections of both the Friday Night Preview Show (aka Jury Final) and Saturday Afternoon Preview Show inside the Malmö Arena. During the rehearsals for the voting sequence, Sarah and Erik stood in for the ‘fake’ winners of both of these shows, and treated the audience to their dance renditions of Doomsday Blue by Bambie Thug and We Will Rave by Kaleen.

If you’ve never been to one of the rehearsal shows at Eurovision in the past, you may not have realised that the entire show is rehearsed a number of times before the live TV programme is aired across Europe and the world. The whole thing is presented as if it were real, including full script, performances, postcards, jokes from the hosts, and of course the full voting process. This gives the whole production team, broadcasters and commentators across the world to experience the entire show as it will look for real.

One of the most important things to do, is to fully rehearse and practice the voting – to make sure any problems are ironed out before going live for real. The results of these of course need to be made up (as the televoting hasn’t yet been opened), and we see a completely different scoreboard to the actual show. We also need fake winners, and this is where Sarah and Erik’s part was very important to the success of the show! They actually got to be Eurovision ‘winners’ for a few moments! The entire leaked performance of the fake winning performance was uploaded onto YouTube, by Eurovision Exclusives and is available to watch after reading our interview with Sarah below.

Hi Sarah! Thanks for taking the time to speak to ESC Covers! How did you get involved with Eurovision this year? Were you volunteeers/fans/employees/standins etc?

I got involved with this year’s Eurovision through the dance studio Malmö dansfabrik where I got the opportunity to be a rehearsal stand-in dancer for two countries. After that I also got the job as a Moomin troll for the interval act in the second semi final before being a stand in for the winning act. We actually got the call asking if we wanted to be stand-ins for the winning number on the Friday a few hours before we were on stage performing in the first rehearsal show for the finale. 

What does the average day working at Eurovision look like? What’s the daily routine?

The days were quite different depending on what I was there to do. When we did the first stand-in work we would get there and have some time in the changing room to get warmed up and ready before getting our in-ears and doing a sound check before heading to the stage to wait for our time. Once it was our turn we would get safety notes and quickly stage the number before doing it full out and filming. Each performance got to do it 2-3 times depending on how much time there was over. Many of the countries with a lot of props on stage only managed to do it twice. Those who had multiple performances had to wait to do it all again and then we would leave once we were done for the day. 

For the work I did as a Moomin troll we had 3 rehearsals on the stage the week before the show, the first one was without costumes but the other two were with our full costumes. The performance days we had, we would arrive around the time that the show started. We weren’t on until later in the show so we didn’t have to be there that early. We waited in the back-stage area until it was time to get our in-ears, get dressed and head to the stage. Once we were done we had quite a few hours to kill before doing it again.

As stand-ins for the winning act we weren’t on until the very end so we arrived when the show had already started and then we went directly to the greenroom and sat there through the whole mock voting before going straight to the stage walking the “winners walk”. The first rehearsal went slower and we got instructions on what was going to happen before performing. We did Ireland’s number on the Friday because we had done it as rehearsal stand-ins and therefore knew the choreo. Then we had to wait to do it again later in the evening. When we came on Saturday for the rehearsal performance they wanted us to do Austrias number instead. But we didn’t know that choreography so we tried to learn the beginning right before going on stage and just improvise the rest.

What did you think of the show overall? Have you watched Eurovision before? Did you have any favorite songs, and were you happy with Switzerland winning?

I think that the show this year was very good with a lot of good songs and a lot of great dance numbers but also great interval acts. I have watched Eurovision every year for as long as I can remember but I usually only watch the finale from home. It is hard to choose just one song as a favorite. I really liked Switzerland’s song and their amazing performance but I also really liked Ukraine, Italy and Armenia. I think it was a tough year with a lot of great performances but I think Nemo from Switzerland is a well deserving winner. 

How long have you both been dancing for? What styles of dance are your favorites?

I started dancing when I was 4 and I am 19 now, so I have been dancing for about 15 years or so. The styles I enjoy the most have to be modern/contemporary and jazz.

Were you involved in the choreography for any of this year’s performances?

No, I was not involved in the choreography for any of the performances. We had to learn the choreographies we got to do as stand-in dancers from videos sent to us from each countries own rehearsals. Some countries also changed their choreographies before the actual show and then we would have to relearn the numbers so that we knew the newest version of it. That was a bit stressful at times considering that we had very little time to work on this but it was also fun to see how the numbers evolved and also what additional changes were made between the time that we were on stage to the live performances.

How does it feel to now see your performance on YouTube, when it was really just intended for the audience at the rehearsal shows?

It definitely feels weird to see myself on the internet like that and to see how many views the videos get. I generally don’t like watching videos of myself dancing and I have felt quite insecure about the videos and about my performance even though I am so thankful that I got this amazing opportunity and it was so much fun getting to dance on the Eurovision stage. I think that it’s nearly impossible in today’s world to do anything for just the audience, there are always going to be people who record something. That was something I knew before I did the performances so I tried to prepare myself for it but it is still a weird feeling seeing myself like that. 

Do you also act or perform anywhere else?

I am currently a dance student at Copenhagen Contemporary Dance School where we have done performances at different schools and nursing homes during the last couple of months. I also recently had a performance with my dance studio Malmö Dansfabrik.

Who are your inspirations?

There are so many amazing dancers that I look up to. I am constantly getting inspired by the other students at my school and by all of our amazing teachers that we have. 

What would you say is the best dance routine of all time?

There are so many amazing dance performances and new ones are constantly being made so it really is impossible to say that one specific one is the best. The last dance performance I saw was “Hammer” by Göteborgsoperans danskompani which i really loved watching.

Which musical act would be your dream to perform on stage with?

Maybe Benjamin Ingrosso. I really like his songs and the interval act he did for the first semi final in eurovision was absolutely amazing and looked like so much fun to do as a dancer.

Do you have any important messages to the world?

To treat everyone with respect and kindness. To see our differences and respect them. To not be so quick to judge each other and to remember that we are all humans with feelings and we should treat each other the way we would want to be treated by others. 

How can our readers find out more about you both? (social media/dance school etc)

My instagram is Sarah_blomgren and the school I go to is Copenhagen Contemporary Dance School and I also dance at Malmö Dansfabrik. 

We’d like to thank Sarah very much for answering our questions, and hope that we will maybe get to see both herself and Erik at other massive productions in the future. ESC Covers will be the first to let you know of their upcoming productions. Watch this space!

Sarah and Erik’s leaked YouTube ‘winning’ performance is available to watch below:

Video taken from the Eurovision Exclusives channel on YouTube.

Who exactly were those Interval Acts?

Since the live show on Sunday, there has been mixed interest and confusion on social media as to who a number of the performers during the interval at the 2023 Junior Eurovision Song Contest actually were!

If you’re not from the country, then you may have been baffled as to who exactly the gospel/soul ‘French Lizzo‘ that performed during the common song and We Are The World rendition was. You may have also been wondering where you recognised the talented piano player performing favourites such as Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You during the JESC 2023 final too, or maybe enjoyed his variety of French Junior Eurovision piano versions during the opening ceremony at the luxorious Le Negrosco hotel on the Promenade des Anglais last week.

French Lizzo‘ or ‘French Alison Hammond‘ (as descibed by some UK viewers) is actually a singer-songwriter from Paris, called Florence François!

She has her own Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, along with a YouTube channel featuring cover versions of songs by soul artists such as Aretha Franklin and Etta James, as well as pop acts such as P!nk and Dua Lipa!

The pianist that you saw perform during the live show is a famous French YouTuber called Van Toan (with almost 4 million subscribers on the platform!) He is also a TikTok influencer with over 9.7 Million followers! Van can also be found on Instagram too. Check out his social channels below:

During the interval of the live final, you would of also seen previous French Junior Eurovision Song Contest winning acts, Lissandro and Valentina, plus the 2016 French Eurovision entrant, Amir with his lively performance of the fanstastic, J’ai cherché!

Images: Florence Françoi / Van Toan @ YouTube

YouTube’s Honest Vocal Coach reacts to France’s winning song

The Honest Vocal Coach has just released a new video reacting to the singing talents of Zoé Clauzure, and her live performance of Cœur. Zoe of course won this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest for France with a total of 228 points. Continue reading YouTube’s Honest Vocal Coach reacts to France’s winning song

Talented YouTuber performs cover versions of the 2023 JESC songs

We like to showcase talented musicians here at ESC Covers, and we’ve recently become aware of the Piano with Pano YouTube channel.

Pano is a pianist from Greece who has been uploading his cover versions of songs from Eurovision, Junior Eurovision, and the various National Finals across Europe over the past few years, and he has recently compiled a playlist of all of this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest entries.

He also posts his content on TikTok and Instagram, and there’s even a brilliant piano rendition of Cha Cha Cha to enjoy in his uploads!:

You can check out his JESC 2023 playlist below. Don’t forget to show your support by subscribing, liking and commenting on his videos!

Image: Piano with Pano’s YouTube channel