“Since the age of nine I’ve been a Malta Eurovision regular. My father used to take the whole family to the event, which was held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. I have to confess that the first few years I was bored by the whole thing, but I got addicted fast. Before I knew it I was actually looking forward to the contest,” says Olwyn Jo Saliba.
Little did the young Olwyn think that she would be choosing a career that is so intrinsically tied to the festival – and not just the event in Malta either. Nowadays, in fact, Olwyn gets to attend the international contest every single year in her capacity as camera-person with a production company.
“My first international Eurovision experience was with Fabrizio Faniello in Greece and it was quite a shock. I spent the whole time locked up in a small room, editing videos. My second experience was in Helsinki with Olivia Lewis. I knew what to expect and how to cope with the work, so it was a totally different kettle of fish. Since then I have attended every single year and I have to say that when you're there, in the middle of it all, it's impossible not to have fun.”
Nowadays Olwyn feels very much at home among the hustle and bustle of “Euro-village”, as the city where the event is hosted is known during those frenetic two weeks in May.
“Every year it’s different. Serbia was particularly hilarious because no-one spoke any English. Russia was a whole adventure, particularly on the one night when there was no official event happening and we decided to venture to a club on our own. When the taxi driver dumped us in what looked like the middle of nowhere, we panicked. Today, we laugh about it.”
When asked about past winners, Olwyn starts reeling them off in a rather impressive way. She tries to identify a pattern in the style of the entries that become popular and then shakes her head.
“There really is no pattern. It’s not a question of language: Serbia’s winning entry was in Serb. It’s not a question of costume – Ukraine had that wildly popular hit from Verka Serduchka, where the singer was wearing something totally ridiculous on his head, was it a massive disco ball? The entry didn’t win but it was a big success nonetheless. I guess charisma goes a long way, that’s the only sure thing,” Olwyn concludes with a smile.
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