The UK's hope for Eurovision glory, Daz Sampson, today gave spectators in the Athens arena the first taste of his live performance of Teenage life together with his schoolgirl backing entourage who proved once and for all that they are more than capable of delivering a strong vocal backing to the song.
Casually dressed in jeans and a rugby T-shirt, Daz sang Teenage lifewith his support crew, who have adapted the Making your mind up dance routine to make good use of the whole stage area with simple, slick moves thatdo notoverpower the song. As far as stage furniture is concerned, the group perform in front of thenow familiar desks and blackboard, nestling in the multicoloured set. The group are not yet in uniform, but are expected to be so at tomorrow's rehearsal!
The girls are consistently strong on backing vocals, bringing through the power of angry school girls and maintaining harmonies,Daz seems more than comfortable performing the rap. In total, there were four full run-throughs of the song, with Daz joking around with the girls and with some of the fans in the audience that he had met during his promotion of the song back in the United Kingdom.
Daz, hailed as the UK people's champion for his flag-flying mission to make Brits proud in Athens, told the hall about his "air of optimism", boosted by the rehearsal which left all the crew "very happy". Despite placing only just outside the top ten this week, Daz is hopeful of a top five placing next week, after the contest is broadcast – hoping that his mum is somewhere out there buying up all the copies she can!
The UK folk hero confessed his early love of football, but explained how being dropped by his club at sixteen left him heartbroken. For him, the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 has a special meaning: "This is my World Cup final!"
Early worries about the ability of the backing team to reproduce the sound of the recorded track in live conditions were quickly quoshed. "Words can't describe how happy I am. Any doubts about doing it live have been ruled out by their performance today."
Asked about his winnings from the bookmakers after Making your mind up and whether he had bet on himself to win in Athens, Daz confirmed that he has placed a ten thousand pound bet and stands to make almost a quarter of a million pounds if he succeeds. He also said that Fifty thousand would go straight to a children's charity back in the United Kingdom.
Eurovision – where it all began
Daz said that the idea for the song came to him one day when he was driving past his old school. "It was all boarded up and derelict, it was sad. It made me think back. By the time I got to the end of the road, I'd come up with the chorus".
Daz was asked about how long he had been a fan of the contest, replying. "I've been afan since 1981. In the UK we used to really enjoy the voting, but not any more. The politicalvoting issue, it's a nonsense. This is a competition and people should vote on the song".
Competition and respect
Talking about the other entries in the contest, Daz said "I respect my fellow contestants. I love the Greek song, if it was released in the UK, I'd go and buy it. Belgium is a good dance track, Bosnia, I saw Romania earlier and they are really strong. Sweden have a good song too but I think little old Daz Sampson has the best chance to win"
Daz said that he had spoken to Bucks Fizz when they performed at G-A-Y in London and they wished him luck. He said that Katrina (UK 1997) had told him to be confident. Asked about the Queen, he said "I havent heard from HRH (Her Royal Highness) yet, but if I win, I'm expecting a knighthood!"
Update: Viewers in the United Kingdom may be interested to know that a film crew from Channel 4's Paul O'Grady Show have been out here at the venue, filming behind the scenes, for a feature to be included on the programme on Thursday 18th May. The programme will be broadcast from 17:00local time.