EUROVISION hopeful Ryan Dolan got a bird's-eye view of the song contest yesterday – courtesy of Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters.
Taking a break from daily rehearsals ahead of tonight's final, the 27-year-old from Strabane was interviewed by the American singer who is over in Sweden providing commentary for BBC3.
His chat with Ana, who has described Eurovision as a "drag pageant on steroids and on a really good budget", took place on the third-floor balcony of the massive Malmo Arena.
"It was my first time being up that high, so it was nice to get a birdseye view of the venue. The view was really incredible, with a sea of lights below us. Ana was so friendly and it was great to be chatting with her," Ryan told the Herald.
Following the interview, Ryan got a chance to go even higher, ascending to the fifth floor to meet RTE's own commentary team, Marty Whelan and broadcast co-ordinator Grainne Ni Fhiannachta.
"Technically, our accreditation didn't allow me to go up that far, but Michael Kealy – our head of delegation – snuck me in.
"We did it on a break from rehearsals, when the interval act was still on, so we had enough time to pop out onto the balcony area with Marty for a photo," Ryan said.
Ireland will be the last of 26 countries performing in tonight's Grand Final.
"It's great that we'll be fresh in people's minds just as the voting lines open. We're out at the arena now. It's a long day of rehearsals with the jury vote tonight, which is worth 50pc of the vote and is really important," said Ryan.
Although song Only Love Survives will still be fresh in the minds of juries around Europe as they award votes, Keith Mills of Irish Eurovision website All Kinds Of Everything warned Ireland's slot could have a negative impact.
"The problem is that Denmark, the favourite, along with other strong contenders like Norway and Georgia, are all singing in the late stages of the competition. It's going to be tough for Ireland," he said.
However, Ryan averted an even bigger disaster on Thursday night when he had to free himself from the doors of a bus after a visit to a nearby school.
"The driver thought everyone had alighted from the bus so hit the button to close the automatic doors not realising Ryan was still getting off.
"He got trapped and had to shove himself through the doors. Ryan was very lucky – it could have spelt disaster if he'd trapped his hand and not been able to hold the microphone on Saturday night."
The Eurovision Song Contest 2013 – The Final airs at 8pm on RTE One.