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Believe In Bonnie? Do we have a choice?

Posted by Caroline on March 16, 2013

So now that we’ve had a week to think about it, we have to ask ourselves the question: just how do we feel about the ‘legend’ that is Bonnie Tyler doing it for the UK in Malmo? Well it’s been a week of mixed feelings, if we’re being honest – ranging from disappointment at the BBC once again foisting a bygone name on us, through to annoyance when comparing it to what the rest of Europe are doing (i.e making an effort) before, ultimately, acceptance (well we can’t do anything about it so we might as well just live with it).

On the plus side the song, Believe In Me, isn’t actually nearly as bad as it could have been – although to be fair when the best thing you can find to say about a song is ‘pleasant’, ‘bland’, ‘inoffensive’ or, heaven forbid, ‘nice’, then it’s potentially a bad sign – after all, there are certainly many worse songs in this year’s line-up, but those which are do at least display the sort of bombastic, so-bad-it’s-actually-good charm which is more likely to get them noticed on the night. And doing ‘inoffensive’ has never exactly stood the United Kingdom in good stead, given that the road to Eurovision glory for le Royaume-Uni is littered with the remains of those acts who played it really, really safe. The Hump, for one. James Fox for another. And all those random pastel-suited mid-80s singers we’ve conveniently forgotten.

That aside there is always the possibility that Bonita’s reputation could score her a few points from assorted countries – she’s certainly well-known enough in France and Germany (where she has recently been on tour) and parts of Eastern Europe, while her name also tends to spark instant recognition also – most people who weren’t old enough to remember Total Eclipse Of The Heart before its Mastercard ad revival at least seem to have heard her name, even if it’s accompanied by much scratching of the head and looking a bit puzzled while they try to figure out if it’s someone their mum liked. And under the new system of selecting the running order we should be in for a decent spot in the line-up, after being on first in 2012 all but ended what slim chance we had of a decent result.

But that’s to bypass the main issue here, which is to ponder what the BBC is playing at, exactly, when it comes to selecting such artists from the past to compete in a multinational singing competition populated, for the most part, by CURRENT singers. Having failed so spectacularly with Engelbert in 2012, you’d have thought the Beeb would have learned from its mistakes, taken a look at what the rest of Europe was up to and followed suit. Not so. Granted, Bonnie is younger than The Hump, but only by 15 years, which hardly makes her some fresh young talent out to wow the continent with her singing prowess. And the decision to field someone who, while well-known, hasn’t actually graced the charts since 1995, is for want of a better word baffling.

It may of course turn out that the BBC plumped for Bonnie after being turned down by other artists – but if that happens to be the case then they only have themselves to blame, given the number of acts who have expressed an interest in Eurovision or offered their services in recent years. Hurts, a firm fan favourite and creators of the ace new track Miracle (now wouldn’t that have been a good entry for Malmo?) have offered and were rejected, while rumour has it Pixie Lott was all set to sign last year until the decision was vetoed at the last minute. OK so she may well have mewled like a frightened kitten on stage and scored even less points than The Hump, but at least it would have shown we were making an effort to send someone more relevant to current audiences. Others who have hinted they would be interested have included the Pet Shop Boys, Scissor Sisters (we have Ana Matronic commentating on the semi-finals this year but why isn’t she on stage for us instead??) and, on an almost annual basis, Mika. Meanwhile the great British public continues to show just how big a joke they regard the contest as by suggesting we should send Rylan Clark or Diva Fever. No we shouldn’t.

If on the other hand Bonnie was chosen over the plethora of available artists who have indicated that they would do Eurovision, then that’s a serious case of misjudgment – or failing to understand the evolution of the contest – on the part of the BBC. Not only is the whole business of sending a past-it artist or a sub-standard song and then blaming its failure on the fact that ‘Europe doesn’t like us’ getting very tiresome, but there is the danger that the more these established artists take on the Eurovision challenge and fail, the less chance the Beeb will have of persuading anybody newer or younger or fresher to step up to the plate. And if that happens then we’ll clearly be doomed to sending once-popular hitmakers from a long-gone era while Sweden continue to send acts like Loreen.

At the end of the day we have nothing personal against Ms Tyler. We know she’ll try and do the UK proud and you know that whatever happens we’ll be sat there on the night waving our Union Jacks and trying not to look too despondent. And if she does defy our expectations and end up on the left hand side of the scoreboard we will happily throw up our hands and admit we were wrong. But we’ll be honest, we’re not getting our hopes up.

Posted in Eurovision 2013, United Kingdom | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

Set faces to stunned….

Posted by Caroline on April 22, 2012

….because who knew this salient fact about Max Milner, one of our favourite contestants on The Voice? We didn’t…..:)

Posted in United Kingdom | Leave a Comment »

Love Will Set You Free? Yes please!

Posted by Caroline on March 19, 2012

So after much speculation, gnashing of teeth and general dischord about the choice of Engelbert Humperdinck to represent the UK in Baku (to the point when we actually had visions of some of you marching down to the BBC wearing medieval costume and holding flaming torches), the veteran crooner’s song for the contest has finally been unveiled. Love Will Set You free, penned by ace songwriters Sacha Skarbek (OK, he co-wrote James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful, but nobody’s perfect) and Martin Terefe, was revealed on the BBC’s official Eurovision website this morning – and the reaction has been as divided as you might expect. Some think it’s a potential winner, others aren’t so keen. There are of course others who have clearly branded it the worst song in the entire history of music simply because it’s a UK Eurovision entry and we all know how clever and fashionable it is to knock those. But our thoughts on what they can go and do are not reprintable on a family blog.

And as for our thoughts? Well, we’re so glad that we decided to wait until we’d heard the song before we passed judgment on whether Engelbert was the right man for the job – and sure enough, our patience has been rewarded. For Love Will Set You Free is the kind of simple, gentle, back-to-basics ballad the UK should have sent years ago – and in a contest where ballads are two a penny, it stands out as one of the best (frankly if we were Zeljko from Serbia we’d be quaking in our boots at the thought of pensioner power). Of course the ‘nul points’ naysayers have been out in full force since it was revealed – but since a) most of them have embraced the Russian grannies while continuing to denounce our own singing pensioner, and b) would be fawning over this song like flies around a bun if it had hailed from the Balkans or Eastern Europe, we’re not listening to them either. The fact is, this is simply one of the best efforts the UK has fielded in years – and even if it doesn’t win (and against the likes of Sweden we’ll be honest it has an uphill task), at least we won’t be the laughing stock of the continent this year. And in case you have yet to hear what all the fuss is about look no further:

Posted in Eurovision 2012, United Kingdom | 3 Comments »

It’s Englebert….

Posted by Caroline on March 1, 2012

…..Humperdinck, to be precise. Yup, the 75-year-0ld formerly known as Arnold Dorsey is set to take to the Eurovision stage for the United Kingdom in May. With a song written by Martin Terefe and Sacha Skarbek who have previously penned songs for the likes of Mary J Blige and Adele. We’ll level with you. It COULD work. We’ll be offering further thoughts on this soon, but in the mean time for those less familiar with the Hump (as we are now referring to him), here’s a picture:

Form an orderly queue, ladies….

 

 

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Rumours, United Kingdom | 1 Comment »

So tonight’s the night…..

Posted by Caroline on March 1, 2012

…….that the UK FINALLY announces who will be representing us in Baku. And according to those in the know, it is a ‘Grammy-nominated legendary name’ who from what we gather is on the older side. This potentially sounds promising. Tom Jones is a Grammy nominated legend. So is Elton John. So is Paul McCartney. On the other hand, so are Bonnie Tyler and Rick Astley.

All will no doubt be revealed later on. In the mean time, we would like to say that secretly we are hoping for David Hasselhoff as this would win us a cake-related bet. Seriously. If we’re wrong can we have the cake anyway??

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Rumours, United Kingdom | 2 Comments »

Just get on with it already…..!

Posted by Caroline on January 28, 2012

So it’s almost February, all around Europe countries are clamouring to get their Eurovision efforts together and yet here in the UK, we have yet to hear anything whatsoever about who might actually be representing us come May. What gives, exactly? Granted, they left it till quite late in the day last year to reveal that Blue would be flying our much beleaguered Eurovision flag in Dusseldorf (and very well they did too), but given the renewed interest in the contest as a result why all the silence this year? Frankly we’re getting bored of waiting.

What we do know is that after the success of choosing a song and artist internally last year the BBC plans to do the same again this year (and before you all start grousing about it again, let us remind you it is because you cannot be trusted. And until you, Mr and Mrs Public, realise that this is a ‘proper’ singing contest and stop voting for the likes of Scooch as though it were 1984 and everybody is in silly costumes playing the flugelhorn, then you will most likely continue to not be trusted). And as such there have been all manner of rumours floating around the social media networks who the lucky representative might be. So while we wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, let’s take a look at some of those names who have been mentioned in the Twittersphere, and elsewhere, and offer our own thoughts on why they might be a good, or not such a good, idea:

JOE MCELDERRY/STACEY SOLOMON

For them: Rumour has it that these two have been snapped up to perform a duet in Baku. Given their obvious cuteness and singing ability (we’re prepared to overlook Driving Home For Christmas, Stace), and the popularity of male/female duets in recent years, we suppose it could work.

Against them: Does anybody in Europe actually know who they are? A former X Factor flop turned Operastar and the ‘loveable’ Essex girl who might have a fun personality but who hasn’t exactly released many records? That said, we reckon the chances of this happening are pretty remote, since we seem to recall Stacey is due to give birth some time in May. So she might be a little busy. This could of course leave Joe on his own, which could work if the song is decent and he promoted the hell out of it. But it would HAVE to be decent. As opposed to a Josh Dubovie moment.

SUGABABES (New version)

For them: Not only are they well-known across the continent but one of their number, Jade Ewen, has been on the Eurovision stage before and hence knows exactly what she is doing. And like Blue, they haven’t done a whole lot lately except pose nicely for tabloid newspapers wearing tight things, so they could potentially benefit from the renewed interest. Plus of course Russia’s answer to the Sugababes did rather well in 2007 with one of the best entries of the past decade. It could work!

Against them: Heidi is currently tied up with Dancing On Ice (well at least until tomorrow, although she could be there for weeks yet!) which could mean she doesn’t have the time to devote to getting a song together. And does Jade really want to do it again? We’re not sure.

THE ORIGINAL SUGABABES

For them: This is an interesting rumour based around the fact that the original Sugababes line-up (Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan) are getting back together and working on new material with Emeli Sande, possibly one of the coolest girl singers on the planet right now. Could that new material include something for Eurovision? If it did it would doubtless be worth hearing.

Against them: Well, they can’t be the Sugababes if we already have a Sugababes, hence they would probably end up not being called the Sugababes and all the Sugababes fans in Europe expecting the Sugababes would complain about the lack of Sugababes on offer. Disaster ensues.

HURTS

For them: The duo dubbed ‘the new Tears For Fears’ by at least two people have previously expressed an interest in representing the UK, and they are certainly cool and fabby enough to do us justice. And given their fanbase it could give the contest a whole new credibility in the UK.

Against them: Or all their fans could turn against them for doing Eurovision thus ruining their careers. Oh what the heck. We would enjoy it. Although we’re not sure how famous they are in the rest of Europe – in terms of having the ‘instant recognition’ factor that Blue had. A lot of promotion would clearly be needed.

JOHNNY ROBINSON

For him: Well he can sing.

Against him: Much as we loved Johnny on The X Factor – especially that week he did The Darkness – we cannot think of any just reason why this job should be his. Not only is he a virtual unknown but this veers dangerously close to the sort of territory that the UK should really be trying to avoid now we have clawed back a shred of Eurovision credibility. You just know he would be given some cheesy camp pop nonsense to sing which would do nothing for our chances and certainly nothing for him (since we know he can belt those ballads out really well), thus undoing all the good work that was done last year. So if this really does happen we will – oh bang our fist on the table and shout ‘no!’ or something.

McFLY

For them: Enjoying renewed popularity thanks to Dougie Poynter’s I’m A Celeb victory and Harry Judd’s Strictly Come Dancing triumph, everybody seems to love them at the moment. And like Blue, we know they would do a good job.

Against them: Well they’re on tour in the UK till April so would they really have the time to devote to the Eurovision cause? Oh what the heck. We can’t think of anything against them, really (Editor has brief recollection of Harry Judd dancing Argentine Tango and swoons)

ADELE

For her: To quote one of her songs, ‘rumour has it’ that Adele entered the running after a Turkish website ran a story which mentioned both Eurovision and Adele. Thus someone on Twitter put two and two together and decided Adele must be representing us, right? Obviously it would be amazing. But we don’t speak a word of Turkish and even WE can tell you that’s not what the article said.

Against her: There would be nothing against her. Apart from the fact she ain’t doing it.

Posted in Eurovision 2012, United Kingdom | 3 Comments »

Clash Of The Titans….

Posted by Caroline on May 14, 2011

This time last year, with the Eurovision final just hours away, we were resigning ourselves to the fact that the UK was probably going to come last again, sighing about the fact nobody in this country was taking it seriously but vowing to support poor old Josh Dubovie anyway because, damn it, our national pride was at stake. Fast forward to this year and things could not be more different. For once there is actually a real sense of interest and excitement in the UK about Eurovision – despite all the bleating naysayers going on about it all being political and biased towards the East (of course, that’s why it’s in Germany this year, hmmmmm?)

Except of course it’s not just because the UK has finally decided to take it seriously and field a well-known act. It’s because for the first time in as long as we can remember there are two acts on tonight who will be very familiar to UK viewers – quite remarkable given that we’re usually lucky to even have heard of one. And in recent days the focus has switched from ‘can Blue bring Eurovision back to the UK?’ to ‘the titanic battle that is Blue vs Jedward’. Both have a fighting chance of bringing home the gold tonight, and even though the latter might be representing Ireland there’s still a huge groundswell of support for them here. The whole notion of ‘are you Team Blue or Team Jedward’ has sprung up without warning, and everybody you ask seems to have an opinion on it (we have yet to meet anybody who has said ‘Team Kati Wolf, actually’. But anyway….)

So let’s just look at this from both sides of the coin for a minute. Team Blue supporters vehemently argue that Jedward are a silly novelty act and that Duncan, Lee and co have entered a proper song and it’ll bring glory back to the UK if it wins and maybe enable us to start taking the contest seriously once again. Team Jedward fans will inevitably tell you that Blue are old and past it and have a dull song and that the wacky Irish twins are, well, more Eurovision somehow (although the people who say this last bit are clearly the people who still have a preconceived idea of what a Eurovision song should sound like and henceforth are the reason we ever sent Scooch in the first place).

It’s true that Blue probably have more at stake here than Jedward do. A lot is resting on how they fare tonight given that it is, after all, their big comeback. And given the UK press’s perception of our Eurovision prowess (having conveniently forgotten the period between 1967 and 1997, it seems) nothing short of a victory will be any good whatsoever. Remember how they denounced Andrew Lloyd Webber as a Eurovision failure when Jade Ewen finished FIFTH in 2009? Er we’d say that was far from a failure (do these same people also call their children a failure if they finish fifth in a spelling test at school? Er, I think not). We can hear the sound of venemous pens being sharpened as we speak and can picture tomorrow’s headlines – ‘WE CAN’T’, ‘BLUE’S EUROVISION FLOP CONTEST’ etc etc which would no doubt be applied even if the UK finished in second place with 400 points.

On the other hand Jedward probably don’t have quite so much to lose since their bizarre career seems to be on the up anyway and not winning Eurovision probably wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to their many advertising deals, personal appearances and general habit of hanging around and being annoying. Granted, the song is probably what those aforementioned people would call ‘more Eurovision’ but that’s not necessarily the key to victory these days as we well know, while the Blue fans hoping for a victory will happily denounce it as throwaway rubbish. The question you have to ask yourself at this juncture though is – is it the song they are not keen on or the fact it is by Jedward? If Lipstick were by any other artist in the whole of Ireland would people be so hesitant about admitting they liked it? Somehow we think not.

We are the first people to admit we were very sceptical about the whole Jedward business when we first heard about it. But we also hold up our hands and admit that they have a very catchy, memorable tune on their hands – and being less of a worthy, serious song than Blue’s effort doesn’t make it any less of a worthy candidate for the title. And we can’t help but be impressed by the way they have won the rest of Europe over with their mad personalities and frankly bizarre performance – which actually looked as though they were making it up as they went along. More importantly it is a song which suits them perfectly – there would be no point them trying to do something a bit more staid any more than there would be a point to Blue trying to do a song like theirs. Everybody would get in a muddle and end up with the dreaded ‘nul points’ and then there would we be?

The point is whoever you are supporting tonight, both Blue and Jedward deserve to be up on that stage for the simple reason that they’ve brought Eurovision fever back to the United Kingdom after years of ennui. And if either one of them triumphs, you can guarantee Eurovision Blog will be celebrating on their behalf.

And on that note, we shall offer our usual vote of thanks to our lovely readers and every person who has helped us with content during this Eurovision season, and rest assured even after the season is over we’ll be back here offering salient comment whenever there is something of interest to report before the whole thing kicks off again around Christmas 🙂 And don’t forget to join us back here later on for the liveblog or Tweeting for Virgin Media at TVonVM

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Eurovision News, Ireland, United Kingdom | Leave a Comment »

It’s a bumper weekend….

Posted by Caroline on April 16, 2011

….in Eurovision land and no messing. At least if you happen to live in the UK. For starters, Eurovision fans and cynics who are STILL convinced the UK cannot possibly win in Dusseldorf can either have their suspicions confirmed or be pleasantly surprised by tuning in to Eurovision: Your Country Needs Blue on BBC1 at 6.10pm. This is what we get this year in lieu of an actual selection contest (they should of course have titled it Hands Off Our Song, Your Country Doesn’t Actually Need You This Year but that was clearly too long to fit in the Radio Times) and is a documentary about the boys making their bid for the contest. No doubt I Can will also be featured, punctuated by clips of the UK making fools of itself on a continental scale so we can all point and laugh and smugly say that it won’t be like that THIS year. Will it….?

Then on Sunday it’s the annual UK Eurovision preview party at London’s Shadow Lounge, from 5pm – midnight, with performances from the likes of Romanian Dave, Bulgaria’s Poli Genova, Senit from San Marino, winsome Swiss lass Anna Rossinelli, Glen Vella from Malta, Italy’s Raphael Gulazzi and – gasp! Dana International. Sadly your humble Eurovision Blog editor can’t make it this year but if you are going and you happen to bump into Josh Dubovie wandering the corridors looking a bit lost and puzzled, do give him our best….

Posted in Eurovision 2011, United Kingdom | 1 Comment »

We are reliably informed….

Posted by Caroline on April 4, 2011

…..that it was on this day, 30 years ago, that Bucks Fizz won the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest with Making Your Mind Up. Cue lots of misty-eyed nostalgic memories about how they don’t write ’em like that any more etc etc. Well they don’t, let’s be honest. And they had choreography and everything. Was a foregone conclusion as far as we’re concerned. Actually we can’t decide whether to celebrate this as a landmark moment in Eurovision history or just be slightly alarmed by the fact that there are people who were in nappies when this won who are now, er, 30. Let’s just gloss over that and remember their finest hour instead, shall we….?

Oh and incidentally it’s worth noting that the UK won with this song, in the year of a Royal Wedding, with a four-piece vocal group whose name began with the letter B. Fast forward to 2011 and it’s the year of a Royal Wedding and the UK is entering a four-piece vocal group whose name begins with the letter – it’s a SIGN we tell you! A SIGN!!!!!! (that France is going to win you mean? – Ed) Whatever happens, Blue, just do us a favour and promise us you’ll keep your trousers on for the entire duration of the performance……

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Eurovision News, Nostalgia, United Kingdom | 1 Comment »

Sigh….if you want something done properly, do it yourself….

Posted by Caroline on March 12, 2011

…..is possibly what Duncan James and the rest of the Blue boys may have been thinking when they took on the task of turning around the UK’s Eurovision fortunes this year.  And their road to the contest has been no easy one. The fact is, the reputation of the UK on the Eurovision stage has been so shot to pieces in recent years that whoever rose to the challenge this year was never going to be in for an easy ride.  We could have sent Elton John duetting with Robbie Williams featuring George Michael on backing vocals and everybody would still have told us that we were going to come last. Such is the perception of the UK at Eurovision in recent years – and who can blame us for thinking that, since apart from the momentary blip of 2009 we haven’t exactly done anything to change that opinion – that it was hard to see it changing.

But this year, we think things are going to be very different indeed. We are the first to admit we weren’t big fans of Blue, that it was a valiant if somewhat dated choice, that it could all fall flat etc etc. Well now we have had a chance to hear I Can. Several times. And we can honestly say that we absolutely love it. OK, so the lyrics are fundamentally nonsense and it’s not necessarily anything removed from the normal realms of boy band territory, but it’s also anthemic, has a killer chorus which will lodge in the heads of voters long after the final note has been sung, and if their performance on The Graham Norton Show tonight was anything to go by, they already have a slick stage routine worked out. More importantly, they seem to be giving it their all. None of the half-hearted, resigned to the dumper attitude that we went into the contest with last year where even Pete Waterman turned round and admitted we weren’t going to do too well, these boys are in it to win it. And it’s hard not to marvel at the difference.

But the most crucial selling point of the song, as far as we’re concerned, is the one which may well stand it in good stead on the night – the fact that while it may be memorable and well-performed, it doesn’t actually sound like a Eurovision song. What it sounds like – and this is something we’ve been nagging those folks at the BBC about for ages – is a good pop song which just happens to be entering Eurovision. Now didn’t we harp on about that last year, complaining that we had tried so hard to come up with what constituted a typical Eurosong that we had lost sight of what actually won the contest these days? Someone, somewhere clearly agrees with us.

Because instead of going for some cliched dated nonsense, or getting the public to vote in some ridiculous novelty act who might as well have ‘LAST PLACE’ stamped on their forehead because they have gotten it into their head that the whole thing is pre-ordained for Russia and their mates to win until at least 2024, the powers that be have dispensed with the idea of trying to enter a typical Eurovision song. And instead they’ve just entered a song. Which is what we suggested they should be doing in the first place. Now don’t you see how much better that is for everybody?

We can’t tell you how Blue will fare on the big night, of course – you’ll have to tune in and find out. But with the buzz that this song appears to have created around Europe – much of it positive – it looks as though this could be the year that the UK reminds everybody what a powerful force it used to be on the Eurovision stage. Better still, it could even signal a revival of interest in the contest in this country in the same way Lena made Germany fall in love with it once again. And if nothing else, that could finally make the public realise the error of their ways in not taking it seriously in recent years. Meanwhile you can guarantee we’ll also be backing our boys all the way to Dusseldorf. Because if we’re being honest, this is the best shot we’ve had at the Eurovision crown for a very long time.

Now if only we’d thought of doing this kind of thing sooner……..

Posted in Eurovision 2011, United Kingdom | 2 Comments »