As the host of the press conferences, Dimitry Shépelev is the man managing all the press conferences at the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. Every entry have two press conferences in the press centre, one for each rehearsal, and apart from these gatherings there are a number of special conferences, such as the ones right after the broadcasts - and the EBU press conference, where the future of the contest is discussed.
“As the host of the press conferences, my job is to make them less long and boring,” Dimitry says. “I've heard that the press conferences in other countries have been too long, so my job is to make them a bit lighter and funnier.”
Dimitry will also host two press conferences at the EuroClub building. In one of them, the host of the Final will be revealed.
Dimitry started out as a journalist. Originally from Belarus, he now lives in Kiev in Ukraine, but simultaneously he works in Russia. One of his early major international ventures was the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest.
“I was a journalist for Belarusian radio at the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki. After that I was employed for the Russian Channel One, so that's why I got this job.”
He also reported from the greenroom in the Russian national selection this year. He has been the host of other TV shows in Russia, and currently he's the the host of the Ukrainian version of Pop Idol.
Usually, the press conferences of the Eurovision Song Contest are managed by several hosts. This time, Dimitry is alone with the work load.
“It seems I don't have a choice,” he says. “This is Russia, here everybody works pretty hard and pretty much. That's okay, and I can't say I'm very tired yet. I feel pretty good - I treat this as entertainment.”
Rude questions allowed
Dimitry has a few questions prepared for every act on the podium, but usually he lets the artists do the talking. The attending journalists and fans usually has a lot of questions. The Eurovision Song Contest press conferences are known to be light-hearted - usually the artists are asked to sing something to entertain the assembly. But if there are no questions from the audience, Dimitry has a backup plan.
“I can always ask how they experience their stay in Moscow,” he says, “but I think that's too boring. I try to make out separate questions for every country, but I don't get much information on them in advance.”
In rare cases there are offensive questions to the artists from the assembly. Dimitry will accept it these questions as well.
“It's their right! Like the Americans say: 'I have the right to ask any question I want to - you have the right not to answer it.' The only thing I don't want is political questions. I'd like this contest to be focused on unity instead of diversity.”