Niamh Kavanagh is all set for tonight's Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest. She has been enjoying her time in Oslo together with her team. The sound and production is very satisfying. But even for her, with all her long years of experience, there is a major challenge on the big night – the performance.
“The biggest challenge is not to die of fright before going out to sing in front of millions of people. Despite my experience, that is going to be a little bit nerve-wracking,” she confesses to Eurovision.tv.
In her previous participation in the contest, she won. That was in 1993, with the Jimmy Walsh composition In Your Eyes. Now, the song is It's For You, a new grand ballad. And the return to the contest has revived many memories for Niamh.
“It's very nostalgic to get here, because there are a lot of people here who where present in 1993. And I can tell who they are, because they get this soft look in their eyes,” she smiles.
Many things have changed in the years passed since her last victory. But some things are still the same in the Eurovision Song Contest.
“The structure is still the same. You still have to stand up on stage and sing for three minutes, and you still do your three dress rehearsal and the performance.”
But there is a major difference – the orchestra is gone. Niamh still usually perform with live music, but nevertheless, she knows that the contest had to change in the late '90's.
“But if it was me paving the road, the orchestra would be back in a minute,” she says.
Orchestra, or no orchestra, the fan movement of the contest has exploded in the last decade. But still, Niamh feels the same atmosphere around the fans. They still have the same approach, and Niamh tells of how they still come up and ask for photos in a loving way.
“I love the fans! They are the same in many ways. They're very thoughtful and lovely, I'm very fond of them. Sometimes they might tell me that they don't like my dress or whatever, but I love their energy – because they say it with love.”