It will probably come as no surprise to you that my Facebook timeline and twitter feed have gone slightly mad today with the news that there is to be a public vote for the UK entry for next years Eurovision Song Contest. It seems that everyone is talking about it and we eagerly (yet cautiously – see Garrett’s article) await to see what format that will take. I’ve been most interested in the many, I mean MANY, comments flying around along the lines of, ‘it doesn’t matter… no one votes for UK… everyone votes for their neighbours… we’ll always come last ‘cos Europe doesn’t like us… block voting…’ comments (you know the ones I mean). Well, I suggest that it’s not a case of this at all actually, because the UK has proven when it sends a good song, well performed, Europe sends the votes; I’m going to take a look back at what I thought of the UK’s recent history in Eurovision…
Vienna 2015 Electro Velvet – Still In Love With You
Let me start by saying I do actually quite like this song, it’s still going round on my iPod and still features on my Deezer playlist. I think it’s catchy, fun and a little bit different however, I think this was hugely let down by the staging and performance. Many Eurofans pointed that neither Alex or Bianca’s performance was strong enough to carry the song or the occasion and I’m sad to say I agree with them. Add on to it the really bad staging of the song, the unimpressive video wall element and the annoyingly cheesy light-up costumes and you are on course for Eurovision disaster, if I being honest I was surprised it got 5 points, but then quite a lot surprised me about the points in Vienna.
Copenhagen 2014 Molly Smitten-Downs – Children of the Universe
I would go so far as to say that this song has been one of my very favourite UK entries for quite some years. I think the UK got super unlucky in the placement of the song, the UK was the last song of the evening, and just two songs after The Common Linnets from The Netherlands who ended up in second place so it’s no wonder this song got a bit overlooked. Molly performed it well on the night but there is more to Eurovision than one good performance and a decent song, you have to work the crowd, you need to do all the press and you need to woo people a bit and unfortunately I don’t think she came across very well in interviews. To me she seemed like a bit of a posh, privately educated girl who was going through a bit of a temper tantrum phase. It was always going to be Austria’s year was 2014 and I don’t think Molly should feel bad about her 17th placing and 40 points, including an 8 pointer from Ireland and 7 from Denmark. I do genuinely think she’d have had more points if she’d been a bit more interview savvy and had come sooner in the line-up
Malmö 2013 Bonnie Tyler – Believe in Me
It’s always dodgy to enter a song with a title that can be used against you! Believe in Me – no Bonnie sadly Europe didn’t. To my great shame I actually had to YouTube this one myself in order to write about it because it was so forgettable that I had actually forgotten it. I mean I suppose there’s nothing wrong with it, but Bonnie’s vocals are not brilliant, she looks totally uneasy and out of place on the stage and the song has fallen out of your brain almost before it’s ended, it’s just simply a mid-tempo pop and the lyrics are a bit weak and pathetic. 7 points from Ireland and a few from others gave the UK 23 points and a 19th place finish, not exactly a disaster, but it was obvious from the start that this would go nowhere compared to Denmark’s slightly surprising but well deserved win.
Baku 2012 Englebert Humperdink – Love Will Set You Free
Bonnie Tyler’s effort in 2013 can be described as forgettable, then the UK’s entry in 2012 is the complete opposite, it’s totally memorable, unfortunately for me for all the wrong reasons. This, in my opinion, is the UK’s lowest point in Eurovision history in the 25 years I’ve been watching. The song is dreadful, the performance was so stiff and uncomfortable to watch, the image was totally wrong, the dancing did nothing to add to the staging of the song, for me this is pretty much as low as it gets for Eurovision – it was out of touch, out of tune and out of fashion. For some bizarre reason Ireland saw fit to give it 4 points and Estonia went one better and threw 5 points in the UK’s direction, but ending 25th out of 26 with 12 points, was in my opinion 12 points and one place higher than it deserved. I cannot and will never figure out who at the BBC thought this was a good idea. My apologies, I really don’t have anything good to say about it so…moving on…
Dusseldorf 2011 Blue – I Can
So for those who say no one ever votes for the UK, actually you only have to go back to 2011 to find a really good song, by a relatively well-known band who worked the press and played the game in the run up to the competition and because of this they actually pulled in a result for the UK. Ok it was only 11th, but it was on the left side of the board and they even cracked the 100 point barrier and garnering the UK’s last 12 point score which came from Bulgaria! So the boys vocals weren’t exactly on the nail to begin with but they did manage to pull it back by the second verse and the crowd in the arena were quite obviously enjoying it. Personally I quite like, it’s good boy-band pop music and what I do really like is the staging off the song, the 4 video walls are clean and crisp it’s not overly complicated and the song just simply feels right in its staging. All this was only 5 years ago, not 20 like so many people seem to think.
In fact you only have to go back another couple of years to find the UK finishing in 5th place with Jade Ewen’s big ballad ‘It’s My Time’ written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s really not that long ago that the UK were garnishing point from across the continent and not just swapping a few with Ireland and Malta. So when I’m asked whether I think the UK will ever stand a chance at Eurovision glory again, the answer is simply yes, if the BBC start taking it seriously again, which 2016 looks like they just might and with a good song, good singer, and just tapping into the zeitgeist then there is no reason at all why Europe won’t vote for them and I have to say if the BBC pitch it right then this may well be a big step on the road to a 6th win for the UK.
So do you think that UK can win Eurovision again? Are their run of low scores more down to the wrong singer, song and staging? Are the plans for Eurovision 2016 filling you with confidence?
Let us know.
Author : Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source : Eurovision Ireland