Naturally, I have a long and beautiful Lithuanian name and surname, but let me be Donny Montell for a little bit. I’m 2* years old and have been with ESCXTRA.com since the very beginning. I am always trying to see the good in the songs as long as they are trying to do something original rather than copy-paste from what we have heard a million times before or something really timeless that would sound good for years and decades to come.
Your first Eurovision memory?
My very first memory of Eurovision was back in 1997 with Ms. Pugacheva singing her heart out to Primadonna. My grandpa who is of Russian descent was watching the Eurovision specifically for her and I just tagged along. Don’t really remember much of the contest apart from her and Cyprus being quite good, but I wouldn’t give a 9 year-old to judge a contest. I most likely fell asleep pretty soon into the whole shabang. No, I don’t like Pugacheva’s entry if that’s the question.
Your Eurovision journey?
It had a few stages. My first Eurovision was in 2001 when Lithuania were represented by SKAMP which was hugely covered by local media. This was the first contest that I watched fully and even recorded on VHS (!). I have very fond memories of that contest as that was when I thought “wow, this is really entertaining”. I clearly remember hoping for Greece to win, but I was and still am happy with Estonia as the winner too (don’t stone me to death).
Then came 2004 for which I thought I’d listen to songs prior to the contest. And that’s when Lena Ph came along. I remember thinking she was “it” and would win the contest hands down and we all know how that went. I really enjoyed the mic-stand gimmick and remember thinking it was super original! So with this I started getting into forums where fans would get together and Eurovision really picked up the pace for me.
After that 2008 happened in Belgrade which I still think was perhaps the strongest post 2000 year. I got to go to see it all live then and it changed my perception of how things work and how a lot of it was very differently viewed by different countries.
Why is Eurovision special to you?
Eurovision is special to me because it has it all. The glitter, the glamour, the alternative, the original, the national. It is really surprising each time, you always see that one or two songs that make it so high which you seemingly don’t understand why and get it months later (or not). Eurovision is great entertainment which at the end is what it stays for me.
What attracted you to ESCXTRA?
Nothing, I was already here when it was born. Jokes aside, ESCXTRA as a title is my baby and I had good and bad times with it, tried to quit already and yet I’m still here like that old auntie nobody likes, but invites to family reunions anyway. I promise to be better?
And finally, your top 5 Eurovision songs of all-time
5. Sweden 2004
4. Italy 1964
3. Luxembourg 1973
2. Sweden 2012
1. Portugal 2008
Perhaps I’m subjective when picking the Portuguese entry of 2008 because I was there in Belgrade to see it live, but this is the first song in or out of Eurovision that actually made me emotional. I quite liked it before the contest, but seeing it live for the first time (even in rehearsal mode) was a wave that hit me and still sends shivers down my spine. By far the best entry Andrej Babic took part in and a very proud moment for Portugal too.
Stay tuned for the next part in our Meet the ESCXTRA team series. On Sunday we will meet Rodrigo! 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!