the author

Kristian Nicolai Stakset-Gundersen

Kristian Nicolai Stakset-Gundersen

I am a 30 year old Norwegian man, who has been a Eurovision analyst for several daily newspapers since 2007. I am the producer of an annual Eurovision parody show and I am working daily in TV production.

«Analyst?» you might object: Analyzing the Eurovision Song Contest is not a question of right or wrong, right? But more a matter of individual taste and personal opinions? Everyone should be entitled to an opinion on which songs are good and WHAT Eurovision really is: Is it a music competition or a freakshow of bad taste and second-hand music?

There are probably more opinions on this topic than there are viewers of the Song Contest, which are quite many. Thousands of hard-core fans out there have the strongest views on the subject – and they usually differ quite a lot from one another – so why do we need ANOTHER point of view?

First, let me tell you a little bit about my Eurovision background.

Nine years old, I watched my first Eurovision final, experiencing the Swedish Carola winning the Eurovision trophy after a tie with the French contestant Amina. The tight race lit a spark in me. I started watching the Eurovision year after year, taping it, and watching it over and over again. But for me, it was not necessarily the songs and the music that caught my attention.

I could watch the voting over and over again. I’ve always loved statistics, and revealing the keys of political voting, combined with understanding cultural and musical differences in Europe, made me a Eurovision fan. Not because I loved the classic Eurovision tunes, but because Eurovision AS A CONCEPT intrigued me.

In 2002, I got to know other Eurovision enthusiasts, and my interest for the contest became even bigger when meeting other fans. From 2005, I started producing an annual fan-based parody show, called Parodi Grand Prix, imitating the dynamics of Eurovision.

I’ve studied Comparative politics and Media / Film and TV Production. The latter brought me into the world of television, and I had my first job in the TV industry at the Eurovision 2010, as the personal assistent of the executive producer Jon Ola Sand, who is now EBU’s Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest.

I’ve travelled to the international Eurovision finals since 2007, except for Baku in 2012. For the semifinals, I usually have predicted an average of some 8 qualifiers right. Maybe not that impressive, but I’ve been right and have felt very safe about who was winning every year except for 2011. In 2011, I felt that there were 6-7 countries who could win, and that it was difficult to predict. I would not have put money on Azerbaijan that year…

Music critics and eurotrash fans

Knowing songs by heart, their performers, composers or even conductors is not my strongest side. And I cannot claim to have autistic memory either, so even though statistics and numbers appeal to me, I’m not the one who remember these details the best. But knowing Kama Sutra by heart doesn’t necessarily make you good in bed.

When it comes to music, as I’ve said, that is not my main interest about Eurovision. And there are a lot of professional musicians and music critics around the world who has very strong opinions about this song contest. But being good in bed doesn’t automatically make you a good gynecologist either.

I always believe that there is some logic and reason behind the apparent random outcome of Eurovision. And I do believe that Eurovision still has a role to play in both modern television AND the music industry. But in my opinion, UNDERSTANDING EUROVISION is about decoding the dynamics of the phenomenon. Not about knowing-by-heart the entire history of the contest, nor have a great record of musical accomplishments on your own.

But everyone is entitled to have their own opinions, as I will have mine. For those who find it interesting, I will do the analyzis of the shows my way.

Compared to music critics and most eurotrash fans, I strive to have a close-to-scientific approach to the phenomenon Eurovision Song Contest. If you find this interesting – good for you. If you find it to be just another opinion on the Eurovision Song Contest – then you are a 100% right. It is.

In the end, it is probably all a matter of individual taste and personal opinions anyway.

Kristian Nicolai