Pernille Gaardbo, the executive producer of Eurovision 2014, is crazy busy. She’s overseeing the production of one of the world’s most-watched non-sporting events. With three live shows and 170 million viewers to think about, Pernille has some busy months ahead of her. She’s already working 80 hours a week. Even so, Pernille recently took the time to speak with us here at It looks like we’re in for a fabulous time in Copenhagen!

What are the big challenges you’re facing that you didn’t envision when you took the job?

So much to do – so little time! Of course I knew from the start that we would have limited time, but I don’t think anyone can imagine the sheer magnitude of this project. Every day of every week from May to May counts. The Eurovision Song Contest is a project that – in the most positive way imaginable – engulfs everything – time, spirit and heart!

I have never before experienced so many people with so much enthusiasm combined with so much focus for such a long period of time. Keeping up the energy and staying focused at the same time takes a lot of energy, but all the hard work is combined with great dreams and ambitions which actually allows me to work 80 hours a week and still be happy.

Read: Interview with Martin Bender on EuroClub and more.

What are you looking for in a Eurovision host?

Petra Mede, host of Eurovision 2013 in Malmö
Petra Mede, host of Eurovision 2013 in Malmö

The entire show will be centered around the vision contained in the tagline ”Join Us”. As a country we would like to invite not just all of Europe but the entire world to join us in Copenhagen in May, so of course we are looking for a host that can envision him or herself welcoming the entire world to not just one but three great shows. We are looking for a host or hosts that can help both the audience in the venue and the great tv audience feel welcome and make us all have three amazing nights transcending nationalities and different cultures. In short, the host or hosts of ESC14 should be forthcoming, warm and filled with joy and at the same time able to keep the excitement going in all three shows.

Will you emphasize humor to the same extent that Sweden did?

Humor is a great part of Danish culture – and a very important part of any conversation between Danes. The host or hosts should foremost be charming – and then the humor should come naturally.

Will you have hosts that are professional and personable?

Being a host to up to 170 million viewers demands that you are professional, have a great personality and a large amount of integrity.

How are you going to use Join Us in the presentations?

Join Us is all about courtesy and openness. We are aiming to be really great hosts that are welcoming really great guests. To me it’s all about getting close to each other and getting to know each other a little bit better. We would like to present our guests – the artists – in a way that allows us and the viewers to get to know them a little bit better as people.

Read: Interview with DR’s Head of Show Jan Lagermand Lundme.

Eurovision 2014 logo art JoinUs_4

Will there be remotely controlled wrist lights like in Malmö?

We are still in the process of developing ideas, and currently we are working on several great ideas on how to integrate the party in the audience with the show on the stage. But that is all I can tell you right now.

Do you have any input in the filming of the act or is that totally determined by each act?

Each country has their own wishes on how they would like to present their act. To us it is crucial that we respect these wishes and do our outmost to cooperate with the individual country and keep the performances true to their original ideas.

A lot of people outside of Scandinavia view Scandinavian countries as, um, the same. How are you going to showcase Danish culture so that we just don’t think this is Sweden Part II?

That is a very interesting – and funny – perception! In Scandinavia we tend to think that there are huge differences between the countries. But in a larger perspective you might be right, that the differences are not as prominent as they are e.g. between northern Europe and southern Europe or between east and west. In my opinion the amazing and unique thing about the Eurovison Song Contest is that we celebrate and respect the differences. But at the same time we recognize the things that we have in common. The ideas behind ESC14 are created by a Danish team, and this will definitely be something you can see in the show. And we are as excited as little kids waiting for Santa to show the world the best of what we Danes can offer.

Emmelie de FOrest Denmark Winer Eurovision

Read: Herning and Horsens react to Copenhagen’s winning Eurovision bid.

What will the semis be like with only 37 participants?

The exact number of participating countries is yet to be determined. But no matter how many countries that will Join Us in 2014 we will make sure that the Eurovision Song Contest will be a party you should not miss. And the excitement about who will win will be as big as ever.

What is your favorite Eurovision song? “Only Teardrops” doesn’t count.

Then I’ll have to choose two favorites. I still get goose bumps and a lump in my throat when ever I hear “Save your kisses for me”. It contains all the ESC elements that I appreciate: A universal feeling, which everybody can relate to. The heart in the right place! Joy – and just one little teardrop in the corner of your eye.

And the second one will have to be the Danish winner from 1963 “Dansevise”. This is simply an amazing song! Like “Save all your kisses” it touches the heart, but in an entirely different manner. In general I think that I tend to fall in love with songs that get the emotions going.

Read: Will traffic chaos grip Eurovision island?

If you are asked for one piece of advice by the acts, what would you suggest they do or don’t do?

I would ask them to believe 100% in themselves – and perform from their hearts. It is incredibly important that everybody can be proud of and satisfied with their performances. And that will only happen when you go all in and believe in what you are doing 100%.

What do you hope to hear after it’s over that will make you feel you did an outstanding job?

My wish is that the Danes are proud of the show we are making in their name, and that the Europeans have had three fabulous nights. I do sincerely hope that we will all be moved by the way this event can make us transcend our differences, and make us see all the universal feelings, that we DO have in common. This feeling will make the Eurovision Song Contest larger than life.

So what do you think? Is Pernille on track to create an amazing experience? Were you as touched by her sincerity and enthusiasm as we were? Let us know in the comments section below!

You can read all of our coverage of Denmark by clicking here.

David T is a Colorado-based correspondent for You can keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.

Photo: At top: DR; inserts: (EBU)

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