After the UK’s second-to-bottom nosedive last Saturday, there are probably emergency meetings planned in the BBC Eurovision broom cupboard office. What exactly went wrong? Was it the song? The Hump? An unlucky combination of the two. In a particularly ballad-heavy year there was nothing distinctive about Engelbert’s offering to make it stand out, despite roping in Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter Sacha Skarbek.
While I’m not going to go off on one against the performance itself, a competent enough job; some actual promotion across Europe beforehand might’ve helped. When the UK has fared well in the contest in recent years with Jade Ewen (et Andrew Lloyd Webber) and Blue it’s not just been down to the decent song choice, but thanks to creating a bit of buzz. Asides from those old enough to remember the Iron Curtain like it was yesterday, Humperdinck might as well have arrived from Mars instead of Leicester. Familiarity makes all the difference.
Enough post-mortem – ONWARDS to next year:
Auntie has a choice -they could reintroduce the democratic aspect of entrant selection again by allowing the public to vote from a shortlist in another Your Country Needs You-style format, albeit with some decent entrants instead of Katie Price and an ex-dustman from The X Factor.
Alternatively they could continue to pick someone themselves, someone talented who is well-known in Europe but down on their luck career-wise who would gladly take the poisoned chalice of Eurovision. Here are some suggestions:
When she’s not pregnant or postponing an album release Sophie Ellis-Bextor is a reliable, if slightly forgotten household name in the UK, like the Wimpy fast food chain. In Russia and Ukraine it’s a different story altogether where she’s somehow cultivated a vast fanbase to the extent that her last record was released there ahead of her homeland. She’s also a Jill of all trades – her cut-glass vocals suitable for dance, indie and ballads. Now an independent artist with three kids and a husband in The Feeling to support, I have a feeling she wouldn’t turn down this gig if asked.
I despise Mika. His shrill, shrieking tones are enough to put the hairs on the back of my neck on edge BUT – he has potential with the right song. Take away his Kate Nash-esque brand of clunky piano tunes and give him a dance number like ‘Kick Ass (We Are Young)’ that he did with RedOne for the Kick Ass film soundtrack and you’ve the makings of a decent Eurovision act. He’s also still massive in France – his sophomore slumping album still managed 2x Platinum over there so he wisely released the first single from his upcoming new record in French over there, bagging a No.1. With his domestic career beginning to stare at the abyss and an obvious fondness for the flamboyant, it’s a bit of a no-brainer for him.
Melanie C loves being a popstar, and were it not for being in the most successful girlband of all time she’d probably be a fairly successful one, free from the ex-Spice shackles that have always been her biggest blessing and curse career-wise. Instead she’s had to make do with going independent to release the solo material she wanted and occasional hits in mainland Europe. As she has nothing to lose, as well as being instantly recognisable she ticks the right boxes. Recently she seems to be stretching her legs a bit beyond the usual album-tour route, having just plonked an EP of dance outtakes on iTunes and announcing that she’s starring in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new upcoming production of Jesus Christ Superstar – Eurovision wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
See you in Sweden next year…