UK– Review of all the Finalists for 2017
United Kingdom– 6 acts will compete for a place in Kiev and go on to represent their country in Eurovision 2017. The Final is being beamed live from the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London on Friday January 27th 2017 starting at 20:30 CET and I will be doing a LIVE rolling blog.
So in advance of the show I have listened to all the songs in the Final and given some thoughts on their chances of progressing to Eurovision in Kiev in May. You can hear the songs on the BBC Eurovision website following this link. You can also see that the rest of the team at Eurovision Ireland have also got some thoughts on the 6 songs.
So who will succeed in taking on the UK golden ticket from Joe and Jake who finished 24th in the Grand Final last year. We shall find out on the show on Friday 27th January so remember to look back and follow the live blog.
Song 1 – Olivia Garcia – Freedom Hearts
Andrew : A good start and this song has a good modern feel to it. Vocally it sounds great as Olivia has a real strong vocal. This actually reminds me of last years entry from Australia and look how well it did. Yeah this would work well for me.
John : Sixteen, eh? If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. It starts OK, and moves into the chorus quite quickly. There’s a reasonable hook there, and it also moves well into the bridge. No key change for the purists out there. My only reservation is that it seems like a two minute song stretched to three minutes.
Phil : It’s a decent song but it doesn’t have a spark for me. It also doesn’t have a constructed ending – it just stops..
James : I’m still kind of waiting for it to start. For me it plods along and doesn’t have enough of an umpf! factor to keep my attention for very long. The vocals are fine, but otherwise it’s quite flat and repetitive. Sorry, not enthralled.
Bogdan : Olivia’s song wants to be a kind of an anthem, but needs more power to be one. Maybe with powerful backing-vocals it’s possible. At a second listening, I’m starting to like it more so I’ll give it an 8 out of 10.
Song 2 – Holly Brewer – I Wish I Loved You More
Andrew : Now this is also very hopeful, a strong modern contemporary power ballad. I could see some of the current crop of hitmakers( Little Mix, Beyoncé) easily having a hit with this this type of song. Yep I would be very happy with this in Kyiv.
John : A voice that seems older than Holly’s 21 years. It’s a bit Adele-like in sound when it starts. There’s a very contemporary, if slightly formulaic, sound which I’ve heard before. The formula continues through the second verse and chorus, and then the bridge too. And you could imagine those golden fireworks that cascade from the roof of a packed venue towards the end of the song. Finally, some of the Swedish writers have obviously had much influence on it, as it’s definitely, definitely, definitely got their fingerprints all over it.
Phil : Well this is safer than safe, it has all the pre-requisites. Good singer, good song, key change….. I think i’ll be writing that a lot in these six songs.
James : Finally! A song in this selection with a more contemporary sound to it! This has everything I love in a Eurovision song: a solid sound both vocally and musically, good for singing along to and a bit of heart in there too– but am I a cynic for thinking this is a (un)subtle message from the UK to Europe? 😉
Bogdan : A classic Eurovision ballad. Sounds nice, nothing new though. My score: 6 out of 10.
Song 3 – Lucie Jones – Never Give Up On You
Andrew : Now this is a lovely stripped down kind of ballad that I love. Lucie has a really great voice and would kill this live I am sure given her pedigree in musicals. This song is more about the vocal leading the instrumentation and it works really well for me. This is getting tricky and only at song 3.
John : This starts promising. Lucy’s voice seems to suit the song, although it could be very challenging and risky in the wrong hands. I do keep waiting for it to get going with a change in tempo, but none comes. It actually has something about it and I think it’s the best so far.
Phil : Unlike the first two it actually has a decent ending and it does something that a UK song hasn’t done for ages…. builds into a decent little contender.
James : Very competent vocal performance and I like these styles of songs and their messages. The one thing I would love would be more of a crescendo and key change towards the end, but all in all a solid entry – bravo!
Bogdan : Another ballad, but can see this one breaking top 15 at Eurovision. “Together we’ll dance through this storm” indeed. My score: 8 out of 10
Song 4 – Danyl Johnson – Light Up The World
Andrew : Ok so we have moved more uptempo for Danyl’s entry and it sound quite modern and has a pop feel with hints of gospel thrown in. It sounds more anthemic the further in we go and the vocals are certainly very uplifting. But I don’t think its would be my overall preference.
John : Uptempo at last. It sounds like the sort of thing Gary Barlow could write. Or sing. Not a bad thing. The beat is quite catchy, but there’s a pause that’s a bit too long between the chorus and the second verse. There are lots of the right ingredients there, and I’m trying to like it. On balance, therefore, it’s OK, but probably not a winner.
Phil : It bounces along and the three minutes is over too quickly for my liking but it has less wrong with it, and more potential therefore, than the other 3.
James : What can I say here? It’s not that it’s bad in anyway, it’s just I’m left feeling it’s all a bit High School Musical and hollow. Not sure how much of an impact this will make on the voting audience in Europe if I’m honest.
Bogdan : Although I love Daryl’s voice, this one all it needs is a trumpet and can be played at UEFA Champions League. Not for Eurovision. For this reason my score is 5 out of 10.
Song 5 – Salena Mastroianni – I Don’t Wanna Fight
Andrew :Now this is a stand out song, Its uptempo dance feel is catchy and infectious. The lyrics give us a peace message which may also go down well with the audience. It reminds me a little of the entry from France last year. We all remember how well that did. Also Salena’s Italian pedigree may ensure points from Italy, San Marino and Malta.
John : We’ve gone mid/uptempo again, and a little techno. But not full-on techno. Then when it finally kicks in there’s a floor-filler quality about the song. In fact, a decent remix could do it wonders. As a concern, I think the build-up to the uptempo chorus might be long enough for people to switch off. It’s repetitive, which could work either way; it could be the hook that’s needed or just a bit samey. It’s better than some of the others though.
Phil : So a rock song about Peace, or Boogie with a drumbeat if you will. Weakest of the six.
James : Nice RNB style beat, upbeat and boppu, I reckon this would easily get the hall up and dancing in Kyiv! I’m not convinced yet it’s enough to win the whole contest, but it’s certainly enough to get the UK noticed and get us some much wanted points. Reminds me a little of Belgium’s What’s The Pressure from last year too!
Bogdan : I don’t want to fight, but surely I want to dance! With a memorable chorus, this one could probably be a fan favourite at Euroclub. My score 8 out of 10.
Song 6 – Nate Simpson – What Are We Made Of
Andrew : Now I have a dilemma. Nate has a superbly strong voice. The song has some anthemic qualities to it but is very out dated to my older ear. I prefer modern and contemporary and this has none of that. It is a decent song nonetheless but I think would give us our least good result if it went to Kyiv.
John : Lots of orchestration and piano before it cuts to the anthemic part that has been lacking from the other songs. Having said that, there’s the formulaic accusation to be made as you can call the structure and key change several hours before they happen. It’s actually OK and very easy on the ear. It could be the one that goes to Kyiv, although if it does I can’t actually see it doing much.
Phil : To me, if anything is going to challenge Danyl and Emillie-light in the charge to the top it’s this one.
James : Now this one caught my attention – a bit of drama, a bit of a pop sound and builds nicely at the end. Still think it needs something more to be considered in the winning class of Eurovision entry, but I can’t put my finger on what exactly… any ideas?
Bogdan : Nate’s voice is so powerful but this is so outdated in my ears. Could have easily won in the 90’s early 2000’s. And we already know what are we made of? Made of stars, no? 😀 Sorry, this is a 6 out of 10.
Bogdan: If it were in my power to choose, I would say Lucie Jones, Olivia Garcia or Salena Mastroianni. Those three are the best choices UK can make this year.
John: An interesting selection of songs, but they all seem a little too ‘safe’ to me. I will grow to like the one we pick, although safe might not quite be enough. Nevertheless, my favourite is by Lucie Jones, probably followed by Danyl Johnson.
James: OK, so my favourite has to be “I Wish I Loved You More” by Holly Brewer. I think it’s our strongest contender, has enough of everything to stand out on the night come May and will resonate well across the continent. Were it in my power, I’d give her the ticket to Ukraine now!
Phil : Favouring Danyl over Nate with Lucie back in third.
Andrew : I favour Nate the least. I could make a decent case for any one of the other five but favour either Salena Mastroianni or Holly Brewer.
So there we have it folks do you have a favourite in the UK? Why don’t you comment and tell us?
Remember to check back at 20:30 CET on Friday 27th January for my LIVE blog of the full Final in the UK.
Author – Andrew James Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland, BBC