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Eurovision 2019: SuRie’s tips for surviving the contest

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SuRie – full name Susanna Marie Cork – finished 24th last year

On Saturday night, acts from 26 different countries will take to the stage in Tel Aviv for the final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

One of them will be 21-year-old Michael Rice, who will be flying the flag for the UK with his song Bigger Than Us.

  • ‘Game time’ for UK Eurovision hopeful

Like many participating acts, Rice has spent the last few months criss-crossing Europe in the hope of securing votes from our continental neighbours.

We asked British singer SuRie, the UK’s representative at the 2018 contest in Lisbon, to give her tips on how to come through the competition unscathed.

1) Ignore the bloggers

Eurovision is unique, in that the very first rehearsals go on YouTube straight away.

Nowhere else would you find that. You wouldn’t get Taylor Swift’s next arena tour online before it was ready.

Michael RiceImage copyright
Reuters

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Michael Rice will be hoping to fare better in Tel Aviv this year

It’s very difficult to ignore the comments. For every 99 positives, there will be one negative and that’s the one that gets in, especially as you get more tired and fragile and vulnerable.

Try hard to get a perspective on the comments if you do read them, but try not to read them at all.

Trusting your team, and yourself, is more important than what Barry from Bognor thinks of the lightbulbs or your trousers.

2) Bring headphones

The dressing room cubicles in the Eurovision village are quite something. There are no roofs – there are barely any walls – so it gets incredibly loud, non-stop.

When everyone starts vocally warming up, it’s a unique sound indeed.

I survived by downloading a lot of podcasts, audiobooks and quite chilled playlists.

I also got a good set of headphones to balance all that out.

3) Protect your voice

Being in Eurovision is long and arduous. Your singing voice needs to be on top form, so you need to keep yourself healthy.

The amount of interview requests that come in is huge, and that can take a toll on your speaking voice too.

Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands talks to reportersImage copyright
AFP

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You’re never far from a camera at the Eurovision Song Contest

Remember you don’t have to do every single blog request that comes in, and that not every DM [direct message] needs a response.

The platform to engage with fans is amazing, but you’re there to sing – that’s your job.

4) Keep things fresh

There’s a danger of going into autopilot. The way to avoid that happening at crucial moments is to feed off the audience.

There’s always someone to perform to, even in rehearsals, and they could be hearing your song for the very first time.

Their reaction in that moment will be brand new and fresh and you need to hang onto that spontaneity.

5) Just keep singing

Even if you prepare as much as you can, there might still be surprises on the night.

[Surie’s performance last year was interrupted by a stage invader who grabbed her microphone before being removed.]

But the show must go on. If something unexpected happens, there is a performer’s instinct that kicks in immediately.

SuRie stage invasionImage copyright
Getty Images

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The moment SuRie’s performance was interrupted

I had an amazing Eurovision experience and the 10 seconds on stage that were not invited did not taint what was an incredible opportunity.

I didn’t anticipate Eurovision would give me quite so many life lessons to navigate and process, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

6) Get back to the day job

The post-show blues is a real thing. The comedown is hard and it always is.

But because I was used to being an independent artist it wasn’t a surprise to me when the support network went away and it was back to being alone in the studio.

Five days after Lisbon, I went on tour, which was amazingly therapeutic. I then went straight into recording a concept album that meant a huge deal to me.

You’ll be fine if you have something you can throw yourself into next.

8) Never say never

If the invite came to do it again, I’d of course consider it. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of and there’s so much to love about it.

But if I was lucky enough to get the opportunity again it would have to be with a song I’d written, so that I was really proud of what I was putting on stage.

It’s nice to pass the baton on, though, and I wish Michael well. I know he’s in for the time of his life.

I hope he has the most incredible time in an amazing city.

The Eurovision Song Contest final will air on BBC One on 18 May from 20:00 BST. SuRie’s new single, Only You And I, is out now.

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Love Island: Tributes paid to Caroline Flack as winners are crowned

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Caroline Flack was found dead at her London flat last weekend

Love Island paid tribute to Caroline Flack as its first winter series drew to a close on Sunday night.

The former host of the show was found dead in her London flat last weekend.

“The past week has been extremely difficult, coming to terms with the loss of our friend and colleague, Caroline,” presenter Laura Whitmore told viewers of the ITV2 programme.

“Caroline loved Love Island. She loved love, and that’s why tonight’s final is dedicated to her.”

She added: “We’re thinking of her family and everyone who knew her at this time.”

The programme then showed a montage of some of Flack’s memorable moments from the series in recent years.

The islanders were told about Flack’s death off-camera on Saturday, an ITV spokesman confirmed.

Finley Tapp and Paige Turley were crowned the winners of the series as the finale drew to a close.

Image copyright
ITV

Two episodes of this series were pulled from the schedules last weekend after Flack was found dead.

The show returned the following Monday with a tribute to Flack from the show’s narrator Iain Stirling.

This has been the first series of the show to take place in winter and be filmed in South Africa.

Previous seasons have been filmed on the Spanish island of Mallorca over the summer.

Overall, the winter series has been a ratings hit for ITV2, albeit not as successful as previous summer series.

This series has been attracting around three million viewers per episode, including via catch-up services, compared with the 4.5 million the last summer series generally attracted.

Laura Whitmore is the show’s current presenter. She joined the show after Flack was charged with assaulting her boyfriend.

Image copyright
EPA

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Laura Whitmore pictured at the Brit Awards last week

Tapp and Turley were crowned the winners of this series on Sunday night, winning the £50,000 prize, which they chose to share between them.

In a twist that occurs in every series, Turley was given the chance to “steal” the full prize money before she decided to split it evenly.

“It’s been such an amazing experience,” Turley said earlier in the episode. “It’s been filled with challenges, but it’s been amazing.”

Asked what first attracted him to Turley, Tapp said: “I loved how outgoing she was. I wasn’t wrong in picking her because I thought she’d make me laugh and smile all day long. She’s made me very happy.”

Earlier this series, they became the first pair to become an official couple in the villa.

Turley attracted headlines when the series launched in January because she is the ex-girlfriend of singer Lewis Capaldi.

The Scottish star referred to her while accepting the Brit Award for best single earlier this month, for his song Someone You Loved.

“A lot of people think this song is about my ex-girlfriend, who you can now see every night on Love Island,” he said.

“But it’s actually about my grandmother, who sadly passed away a few years ago. I hope ITV don’t contact her to be a on a reality dating show.”

During the finale, Whitmore confirmed the show would return to Mallorca for a new series this summer.


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Earth Harp: The man behind the unique instruments ‘epic’ sound

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William Close is the inventor behind the Earth Harp – the world’s longest string instrument which uses architecture and landscapes to create a unique sound.

Mr Close, who has performed the giant harp all over the world, says the audiences are often left feeling like they are “inside the instrument” during his performances.



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Verdi opera: Conductor stops performance over ‘phone miscreants’

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Carlo RizziImage copyright
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Italian conductor Carlo Rizzi learnt to speak Welsh while serving as the music director of Welsh National Opera between 1992 and 2001

A conductor has twice stopped an opera in Cardiff after mobile phones rang in the audience.

Carlo Rizzi was conducting Welsh National Opera’s new production of Verdi’s Les Vêpres Sicilienes, at Donald Gordon Theatre at the Wales Millennium Centre on Saturday night.

Audience members said Rizzi twice stopped and spoke to the audience about the distraction it caused.

Verdi’s opera is based around true events in Sicily in 1282.

‘Phone miscreants’

David Jackson, a BBC employee who was in the audience, said Rizzi was applauded after bemoaning the interruption caused by mobile phones.

He said: “I spoke to Carlo afterwards and congratulated him on the performance, but also on tackling the phone miscreants.

“He got a warm round of applause after he stopped and ticked off the audience member. Both incidents were right at the beginning of the show and all was well after that.”

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Robin Drayton/Geograph

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Based at the Wales Millennium Centre, the Donald Gordon Theatre is named after its patron, a South African businessman

The opera is sung by WNO in French in its new production directed by Sir David Pountney.

Another audience member confirmed the two instances of disruption caused by mobile phones.

It is not the first time a mobile phone has drawn irritation during a high-profile live performance, with the devices falling foul of numerous artists in the past.

Pianist Krystian Zimerman stormed out of a concert in 2013 because a fan was filming with his phone.

And film and stage actors Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman and Benedict Cumberbatch have all voiced their anger at the use of mobiles while treading the boards in London.

Last year, singer Madonna said she would ban mobile phones from future gigs.

Jackson said his enjoyment of the opera in Cardiff was not affected by the interruptions.

“It was a wonderful performance of a comparatively rarely done piece of Verdi – the mobile phone business didn’t detract,” he said.

WNO confirmed there were “short pauses” and that Rizzi addressed the audience following the second interruption.



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