Shay Toman still has his head in the clouds after last weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Unlike his fellow Lurgan natives, who sat tight on their settees as the competition unfolded, Shay travelled to Sweden to soak up the musical magic in the flesh - and it wasn’t his first time, either.
This year marked the superfan’s fourth Eurovision adventure, and it might well have been his best.
“At first, it felt a bit of an anticlimax as I had been in Copenhagen two years ago, so was expecting more of the same - overpriced food and drink,” explained Shay. “However, from the outset, it was clear Sweden knew how to organise a contest!
“They had a fantastic Euro club to cater for all the fans’ needs, with contestants from previous years and this year’s appearing every day and night.”
This year’s contest featured an entirely new voting system, with Australia looking like the clear winners up until the very last moment - when Ukraine claimed victory.
“The atmosphere was amazing as always,” Shay shared, “in particular, the new voting - which had everyone on a knife edge until the final score was announced.”
Being at the heart of the contest also gave Shay the opportunity to see some things that viewers at home did not:
“At the after party, the Georgian guitarist was arrested for stealing coat hangers and fighting - which was quite surreal!
“It was definitely the best contest I have been at to date. It was pretty clear Ukraine won as a political statement to Russia, however, I had bet on it a few months ago - and had Australia and Bulgaria each way, who came 2nd and 4th, respectively. I won £3,500 - paying for my trip next year!”
Shay did not waste any time after Ukraine was announced victorious - and has already booked a room in a Kiev hotel for the 2017 contest.
“I’ll be at Eurovision every year, so Ukraine was never a question,” said Shay.
“The only question that remains now is whether or not Russia will attend.”