“There wasn’t any time to feel fear,” says SuRie, in her first interview since a man invaded the stage during her Eurovision performance.
Israel may have won Eurovision 2018, but SuRie – who performed Storm on behalf of the United Kingdom – won the respect of countless viewers for her performance on Saturday 12 May.
During her live performance of her power ballad, SuRie saw her big moment scuppered when a protester barged his way onto the stage, ripping her microphone from her hands and screaming a political opinion about the UK media “being Nazis”.
The incident left SuRie without a microphone for at least 10 seconds and she was forced to clap along as cameras cut to fans in the audience. She later resumed her song and finished to rapturous applause.
“Storms don’t last forever, forever, remember,” she sang, visibly trembling. “We can hold our hands together through this storm.”
Now, in her first interview since the incident, SuRie has revealed that her encounter with the man (believed to be activist Dr AC Activism) left her with “a couple of bruises” and a hurt shoulder.
“There wasn’t any time to feel fear,” she told This Morning’s Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.
“He was suddenly there, security were on him as quick as he was on me, he got the mic for a few seconds, that was out of my hands, but the song was still going.
“The backing vocalists were still singing, the crowd was still chanting, so I just turned upstage for a moment but I was still clapping and cheering with the crowd, I just didn’t have the mic.
“I turned back and saw the mic on the floor, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s mine, I’ll finish this song’.”
SuRie added: “You can see that [internal fire] in my eyes for the last part of the song – you can see that determination to finish that song. The lyrics took on a new meaning: ‘Hold your head up, Don’t give up’.”
And, while the singer was offered the chance to perform the song again, she declined after discussing it with her team.
“We had that conversation, but I was really proud of that performance,” she explained. “And you work up to that moment. You don’t get to do the 100m sprint at the Olympics again because your shoelace is untied or something. You had that one shot and that was my moment, and we didn’t need to repeat that.
“We had those conversations backstage, I saw the reaction and faces of my team, who were very proud of the recovery and the power of that, and we didn’t need to go again.”
SuRie may not have won the competition (the UK finished 24th out of 26 countries), but the singer said she was glad she didn’t coast to the top of the leader-board on “sympathy votes”.
And, insisting that she didn’t take part to win, she added: “Eurovision began a few years after World War II, when everyone’s reeling from grief and sadness and fear, and they bring nations together to sing their way out of it.
“[But] my leader-board for the night was the Twitter feed and the Instagram feed that I’ve had, filled with love and support from so many people.”
Meanwhile, the European Broadcasting Union has issued a statement explaining exactly how Dr AC (reportedly the same man who invaded the stage at the National Television Awards this year, and The Voice in 2017) managed to get onto the stage during the Song Contest in Lisbon.
They said: “A person invaded the main stage during SuRie’s performance at the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final in Lisbon.
“He climbed into the camera run and reached the main stage via the bridge, pursued by security.
“He was removed off stage after seven seconds and is being questioned by police.
“We take security very seriously and an investigation into what happened is already under way.”