So…….the question we’ve all been wondering for many many weeks now is, just who is going to represent the UK at Eurovision this year? Someone who finished seventh in The X Factor once? No. Some no-mark pantomime star singing a tune which was composed on the back of a napkin in the dressing room two minutes before showtime? No. Penry the mild mannered janitor? Could be…..except it’s none of those people. It is in fact that somewhat – we say somewhat as they’ve been off the scene for a few years – boy band Blue. Yup, not content with making their own solo bids to represent the UK (Anthony Costa in 2006), announcing the UK results in 2009 and acting as a judge on 2009’s Your Country Needs You (take a bow, Duncan James) this year the band themselves are actually flying the flag for le Royaume Uni in Dusseldorf.
But wait, there’s more! Not only do the public not have a say in choosing the artist for the first time since 1994 (when Frances Ruffelle was dispatched to Dublin by the BBC and came home with a 10th place for her troubles) but for the first time EVER we don’t have a say in choosing the song either. That’s right – it’s already been picked, and is a brand new Blue composition called I Can. No word yet on when we’ll hear it, but it’ll be featured on a documentary about the band’s preparation for the contest, to be screened in April.
And you know what? We have quite a good feeling about this. OK, so Blue have been pretty much off the scene since 2004 but the fact remains people still know who they are, the various members have remained pretty high-profile since the height of their teenage girl-screaming knicker-hurling fame, and perhaps crucially – THEY CAN SING LIVE. They’ve duetted with Elton John, don’t forget, and he doesn’t just sing with anyone. And let’s not forget the fact that they’re also pretty well known in Europe, having sold albums by the bucketload both there and at home. OK, so we can’t vouch for how many are now sitting in the 9 Euros bargain bin at record stores across the continent but at least they sold them.
As for the song already being selected, well that is bound to ruffle a few feathers, given that the UK public is so accustomed to choosing it themselves. But there is a part of us which thinks: well given what a bad job you’ve made of that in recent years, what’s the point? Part of the problem the UK has had with Eurovision recently, we feel, is that the vast majority of the country appears to still think it is some great big continental joke, and henceforth we can treat it as such. How else do you explain Scooch in 2007 for example? It is years since we have chosen a song that could truly be regarded as a seriously decent contender (in the years when we’ve had to choose a song rather than singer that is), and the voters going for some load of nonsense en masse then blaming it on neighbourly voting or the UK being hated on account of some decade-old war when it scores about four points only serves to highlight this. Basically people of the UK – you blew it, so now you don’t get to choose.
The point is, as we should have realised last year, is that there is no reason WHY the UK shouldn’t be able to win this contest – if Germany, who were in much the same position as us until last year, can do it then anybody can, regardless of political allegiance, wars, whatever other excuse you may care to drum up. Nobody is to blame for our recent failures at Eurovision but ourselves. So why should you have the chance to screw things up again this year?
If we’re being honest, we do have a few reservations – namely the fact that Blue haven’t been around for a while, that they’re no longer at the height of their fame – but frankly these are quite small quibbles, because there’s also no reason why they can’t use this to make a successful comeback, given how popular they once were. At least it’s a sign that the UK has finally realised we need to take this contest seriously if we’re ever going to stand a chance of winning again. And whatever we may think of Blue’s song personally, you can guarantee we’ll be backing them all the way.
Now then, where’s that I Heart Duncan scarf from 2004 got to……?