Features

Meet the ESCXTRA team! Part 1 – RYAN

This summer, we are running a series of feature articles that is slightly different to the norm. We think this is the perfect time for you (and us!) to find out more about the ESCXTRA team! Twice a week we’ll meet two of our team members. What is our personal Eurovision story? Why did we want to be a part of this website? What are our favourite Eurovision songs of all-time? How can you get in touch with us on social media? Read on to find out!

RYAN COBB

I am 22 years old, from the East Midlands region in the United Kingdom. Currently working in retail, I joined ESCXTRA in August 2016. You can follow me on the following social media handles:

Twitter: @RyanCobb__

Your first Eurovision memory?

My earliest Eurovision memory is from 2001. Eurovision was always a fixture on my family’s TV so it was natural that I ended up witnessing it one day. I remember Lindsay Dracass performing No Dream Impossible for the UK and Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL taking victory for Estonia. At the young age of six, I didn’t realise what a shock that victory was! I was initially attracted by the voting process, seeing flags and countries go up and down a scoreboard.

Your Eurovision journey?

By 2003, I was getting into the songs more and more. I remember having a scorecard for the first time, and ranking Sertab last. How silly I was! I was enjoying Junior Eurovision just as much, Cory Spedding’s second place remaining one of my all-time Eurovision highlights. As the adult contest became a two, and eventually three-night affair, I became more and more interested. I bought my first Eurovision compilation CD in 2007 so I could listen to Evridiki’s Comme ci, comme ca on loop! I remember outrageously claiming that Malta’s Morena was a certain contender for victory in 2008…

In 2009, my interest in the contest went up another notch… I watched my first foreign national final. Visiting Eurovision.tv, I saw them streaming Eesti Laul which I now know was the first edition of the revamped Estonian national final. I gave it a watch and rooted for Urban Symphony in the superfinal, and they won! You see, Estonia are at the centre of two of my major Eurovision milestones. It’s only right that they are now one of my favourite Eurovision countries.

In 2011 I began watching every national final I could find, rather than waiting for Eurovision.tv’s special preview player to arrive in March or April that they had back in those days. By the following year, I was fully in tune with the national final calendar tuning in to absolutely everything. From then on, I’ve tuned into as many national selections as physically possible, constantly ranking and predicting.

Why is Eurovision special to you?

My three biggest passions in life are music, travel and sport. Eurovision is dominated by my favourite music genres of pop and dance, it allows me to explore different cultures and languages and the fact it is a contest brings that competitive sporting element to it. It ticks every box! There’s nothing else in the world that brings together over 40 countries for the same three hours to watch a show with such spirit and joy, Eurovision is such a special thing that Europe has to be proud of.

What attracted you to ESCXTRA?

I’d watched the live stream since 2011 (I think… it may have been 2012!), it was always something that made ESCXTRA unique. I’d always dreamt have being able to write for a Eurovision website and having the opportunity to be actually on-site during a contest. Joining ESCXTRA was very much a right place at the right time situation. I’d seen an initial advert for applications around the end of May 2016, just as I was finishing my degree but I never thought I would have a chance.

Then while travelling in late July, I saw another push for applications as well as a complete site rebrand. I felt like something great was happening for the website, why not try to be part of it. Luckily my application was accepted and my first article for the website written within a couple of weeks!

While I hoped that one day I may get the chance to be able to represent the website on location during a contest, not in a million years did I believe it would be as soon as the following contest in Kyiv. I can’t thank this website enough for the incredible opportunity to meet so many new people and to experience such an unbelievable two weeks that was the Kyiv contest. Thank you ESCXTRA!

And finally, your top 5 Eurovision songs of all-time?

Right, now this is an impossible task! In reverse order, this is my top five… which will probably change by the next time you ask me!

5. Christina Metaxa – Firefly (Cyprus 2009)

4. Lena – Satellite (Germany 2010)

3. Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye To Yesterday (Estonia 2015)

2. Ivi Adamou – La La Love (Cyprus 2012)

1. Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime (Bulgaria 2016)

Perhaps this benefits from still sounding very on-trend, but I have to give it to If Love Was A Crime. Poli’s previous entry was the only Bulgarian entry I had actually liked up until this point, and she made it two out of two and impressively so. It’s the perfect summer anthem, with choruses, post-choruses, vocal distortions and saxophones in all the right places. On stage in Stockholm, it was utterly euphoric… and yes I have learned the dance!

Stay tuned for the next part in our Meet the ESCXTRA team series. On Tuesday we will meet Luke! Remember you can share your Eurovision stories with us in the comments section below or via the comments sections on our Facebook page @ESCXTRA. We would love to hear them!

Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!
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