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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 06:44 GMT 07:44 UK
Garlick bidding for Eurovision glory
Jessica Garlick
Jessica Garlick is playing it cool at Talinn, Estonia


After months of preparation, Jessica Garlick is preparing to take the stage in the world's biggest musical event, the Eurovision Song Contest.

The 20-year-old singer from Kidwelly in south west Wales, is in the Estonian capital Talinn, where, on Saturday, she will sing before hundreds of millions of viewers across Europe.

Talinn
The Estonian capital Talinn is hosting the event
The idiosyncratic annual musical extravaganza - now in its 47th year - has launched acts including Abba, Celine Dion and Enrique Inglesias' father Julio to international stardom.

And Garlick, who earlier this year lost out in the search for glory in the ITV series Pop Idol, is hoping Estonia will be her own launchpad to stardom.

She says it has long been an ambition to sing at Eurovision and was excited when she first heard her name had been put forward.

Childhood dream

"When I was younger, I remember sitting watching Eurovision on TV and my mum telling me that one day I would be there singing for the UK."

The young singer, who now lives in Herefordshire with her family and her boyfriend Owen Satterley, hopes to beat off competition from 23 others with her ballad Come Back.


I remember sitting watching Eurovision on TV and my mum telling me that one day I would be there singing for the UK

Jessica Garlick
"When I heard the song I thought it was just fantastic," she said.

"I would love to win but, as long as people are pleased with my performance, I will be happy."

If Garlick does win, will go one better than fellow Welsh singer Mary Hopkin - of Those Were The Days fame - who hailed from Pontardawe on the other side of the Gwendraeth Valley.

She came second with Knock Knock Who's There in the 1970 contest.

Homeward bound

The potential marketing spin-offs off a Welsh win in Estonia have already been recognised.

The leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly, Nick Bourne, is lobbying for next year's contest to be held in Cardiff in the event of a Garlick triumph.

Estonia
Estonia won the 2001 Song for Europe contest
"If Jessica Garlick is successful in winning this year's contest in Estonia, then it would be fitting for next year's event to take place in the capital city of her country," said the Mid and West Wales AM.

"This would be a tremendous opportunity for Wales to be seen around the globe and the knock-on effects would surely bring massive benefits for Wales as a whole.

Estonian roots

However, one politician who will definitely not be cheering Garlick on is the of the Welsh Democrat leader Lembit OpÔk.

The Montgomery MP's parents left Estonia during the World War II, but he has returned to cheer on his homeland this weekend.

"It's only a little country and nobody could believe they won the Eurovision Song Contest last year," he said.

"The odds of it happening again in the near future can't be too huge.

"So I'm making a pilgrimage for what could be a once-in a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate the Eurovision in the land of my fathers."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Lembit OpÔk, Lib Dem MP
"I couldn't resist the chance to go"
BBC Wales's Hywel Griffith
""It's been a steep learning curve for Jessica Garlick"

Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

24 May 02 | Entertainment
23 May 02 | Entertainment
17 May 02 | Entertainment
15 May 02 | Wales
03 Mar 02 | Entertainment
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