The Eurovision Song Contest is known by many as simply a singing competition where over 40 countries battle each other out annually to win the prestigious trophy and the right to host the contest the following year. However, what many outside of the Eurovision bubble tend to overlook is that the contest doesn’t just span three glorious nights in one iconic week, but also lives on with many participants forming friendships with one another. Come Together, Building Bridges, Celebrate Diversity — all those slogans seem rather fitting.
Today we take a look at some of the heart-warming friendships that have formed as a result of the Eurovision Song Contest over the past few years.
1. Ari Ólafsson and César Sampson
While César may have won the jury vote of the Eurovision final, it was Ari who won over all our hearts, including newfound friend César Sampson. Both Ari and César were devoted to the Eurovision pre-party tour attending three events together – the London Eurovision Party, Eurovision in Concert in Amsterdam and Israel Calling. The two seemed to have had fun with each other and with other Eurovision contestants too, producing countless picture-worthy friendship goals for all of us to aspire to. One which comes to mind instantly is a comedic reference to Game of Thrones where Rasmussen, Surie, Corinne and of course Ari and César are shivering together in the dreary rain at Israel Calling. Or that one of him with Zibbz and Mikolas Josef at a spa in Madrid.
The friendships continued right through Eurovision itself and while Ari failed to qualify for the final, he stayed for the rest of the week supporting not just César, whom he gave a warm hug after the final, but virtually everyone in the competition. The end of the contest, however, did not mark the end of their friendship as César went all the way up to wintry Iceland to visit Ari. Hopefully the two of them will continue to warm our cold hearts with their love and perhaps even collaborate artistically one day.
2. Elina Nechayeva and Alexander Rybak
Two of the most hyped entries of 2018 were at the hands of Elina Nechayeva and Alexander Rybak who would, over the course of the Eurovision season, bond with one another, eventually becoming good friends who would visit one another after the contest.
While neither Elina nor Alexander made it to the pre-party tour, this did not stop the two of them from getting acquainted during Eurovision. Both Elina and Alexander attended the Nordic party in Lisbon and both managed to spend the full week in Lisbon after they qualified for the final. This was not the end for the two of them as after the contest they met a few months later when Alexander came to Estonia to perform in the city of Narva. While in the country, the two took time out of their busy schedule to catch up with one another after the chaos and drama of Eurovision.
3. Kasia Moś and Norma John
For this next friendship, we hark back to Kyiv and Eurovision 2017 involving the elegant Norma John from Finland and powerful Kasia Moś from Poland. Both acts participated in numerous pre-parties leading up to Kyiv and Kasia was busy making friends with pretty much everyone possible. Among them was the duo Norma John from Finland, with their friendship remaining as strong as ever today, not letting distance get the better of them.
After Eurovision ended, Norma John joined Kasia in the southern Polish city of Katowice for a concert around December 2017. This was not the end, however, as they both began teasing news of an upcoming duet, thus extending their friendship to their professional lives. Roughly one year after Eurovision 2017, the song entitled “Wild Eyes” was released and spread a message of respecting nature and celebrating its diversity (sound familiar?). With stunning scenery and ethereal vocals from the trio it left many hoping that a second song might come some time in the future.
4. Sennek and Ieva Zasimauskaitė
Much like Ari and César, Sennek and Ieva were both active participants of the Eurovision pre-party tour, attending the events in Israel and Amsterdam together and evidently spending their time to get to know one another better. Their friendship blossomed at Eurovision with Ieva bringing her Belgian friend a present on the first day of rehearsals. She said: “I have a present for my Belgian singer because I miss her so much so I have a bag from my city”. The next thing we see is the two of them in a warm embrace; enough to put a smile on our faces for the rest of the day. The two of them continue to be close, with Ieva writing a heartfelt message to her ESC-bestie that “friendship is the most important thing in life”. Preach sister!
5. Surie and Madame Monsieur
A pairing which could help heal Europe’s wounds after the UK opted to leave the European Union back in 2016 comes in the form of Surie and Madame Monsieur. Both acts competed in tough national selections respectively, defeating fierce competitors for the ticket to Lisbon and the honour of representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest. Both Surie and Madame Monsieur were avid participants of the numerous pre-parties which took place during the lead up to the Eurovision Song Contest. The trio were both present in London and Israel Calling but it was at Eurovision in Concert when their friendship reached new heights. While Madame Monsieur were scheduled to perform at the Dutch event, Émilie Satt fell ill, leaving the duo without a singer.
However, never fear because Surie is here. The English songstress graciously offered her assistance to the French couple by performing an English version of “Mercy”. The performance shrunk the size of the channel and united the two countries in a heart-warming rendition of a song already preaching a message of hope and solidarity. Lasting all the way to Eurovision and beyond, the trio never looked back after that moment and have continued their friendship ever since.
6. Eleni Foureira, Eugent Bushpepa and Ermal Meta
Three European countries united by a common ethnicity. Eleni, Eugent and Ermal all represented different countries at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 with Eleni performing for Cyprus, Eugent for Albania and Ermal for Italy. However, the three artists have one thing in common, namely their links to the land of eagles — Albania. Both Ermal and Eleni were born in the southern Albanian city of Fier, however, both of them left at a relatively young age, moving to different countries. Ermal moved with his family to Bari, southern Italy, at age 13, while Eleni fled her home town for Greece after civil war ravaged the country. Nevertheless, the two never forgot their roots and united along with Eugent in Lisbon to celebrate their ancestry with the well-known Albanian eagle hand gesture. The trio embody the message of a multi-cultural and diverse European continent and show that you can reach your goals no matter how many hardships you may have faced.
7. Nathan Trent and…everyone
Nathan Trent, or Mr Congeniality 2017, was without a doubt one of the most committed participants in the Eurovision Song Contest that year, travelling all over Europe to the pre-parties and engaging with fans and journalists at every possible moment. Not only did he mingle with the 2017 crowd but reached out to previous Austrian representatives and also gave César Sampson some words of wisdom before he took to the stage in Lisbon. Not only were these friendships just for fun but Nathan collaborated with Norway’s JOWST on a song after Eurovision had ended – demonstrating the power of friendship. If you’re still in doubt regarding Nathan’s credentials for being on this list, take a look at this collage from some of his Instagram pictures:
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