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Did you hear it? Did you…..??????

Posted by DINRIL on March 12, 2011

We are of course referring to Blue’s UK entry, I Can. But in case you didn’t…..

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It’s Blue, da da dee, da da da, da da dee….(Etc)

Posted by DINRIL on January 30, 2011

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……?

Posted in United Kingdom | 3 Comments »

Introducing Romanian Dave…except he’s not really

Posted by DINRIL on January 4, 2011

As 2010 came to a close, most of us might have been hugging random strangers at parties and entertaining everybody with drunken renditions of Auld Lang Syne, but in Romania they were far too busy choosing their entry for Dusseldorf 2011 to worry about such matters. And we happen to think they chose rather well. OK, so Change by Hotel FM is cheesier than an entire consignment of Jarlsberg, but it’s so upbeat and jaunty that we can’t help but love it (even though we shouldn’t really because it stuck in our heads after just one listen and now we can’t get rid of it, to the extent it will probably drive us totally round the twist by May. But anyway….)

We were however surprised to discover that the song is actually performed by a bloke called Dave. Well that doesn’t sound very Romanian does it (and in fact there is a sad shortage of Daves in Eurovision, although the last one we can recall won the damn thing for the Estonians in 2001).  Turns out Romanian Dave, as we have now renamed him, is welder-turned-singer David Bryan, a Newcastle native who now lives with his girlfriend in Romania and was discovered by Hotel FM’s manager performing at a karaoke contest.

But it would seem he’s not the only Brit who is hoping for Eurovision success in Dusseldorf.  Scottish teacher Nicola Barclay is in the running to represent Azerbaijan after making it through their preliminary heats. The 26-year-old, who is a PE teacher at the International School of Azerbaijan in the capital, Baku, made it through as a wildcard after the judges declared they were “amazed” by her vocal skills. Meanwhile British singer Lisa Maffia, a former member of So Solid Crew (remember them? Frankly we’re struggling to……) is rumoured to be in the frame to represent Bulgaria with her latest song, Shut Your Mouth.

All of which beggars the question: if these people are so keen to sing for other countries, why can’t they do it for the UK????? Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that the UK has become a byword for unspeakable naffness on the Eurovision stage thanks to songs which sound like they were composed on the back of a napkin two minutes before show time? Nah, course not. Anyway, here’s what to expect from Romanian Dave…..

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

Just a thought…..

Posted by DINRIL on June 1, 2010

….and basically just an excuse to share this clip with you (no it’s not Eurovision but it made us laugh like drains) – but how about we get this chap to represent the UK in Germany next year? After all he couldn’t do any worse:

Posted in Eurovision 2010, United Kingdom | 3 Comments »

Separated At Birth….

Posted by DINRIL on May 31, 2010

…..the UK’s very own Josh Dubovie:

and, er, Moldova’s much beloved Pavel Turcu:

We’re not sure but it might possibly be the shiny, Officer’s Club-esque suit that does it for us. Maybe Josh could consider a post-Eurovision career in Moldova……?

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Moldova, United Kingdom | 1 Comment »

Absolutely The Last Final Word. Possibly…..

Posted by DINRIL on May 30, 2010

So once again, entirely as most people predicted, the UK slumped to a resounding defeat on the Eurovision stage (granted we didn’t finish quite bottom of the heap, having seen the number of points scored by both Slovenia and Switzerland in the semi-final – which when combined still wasn’t more than the paltry 10 scored by Josh on the night – but anyway….). And once again we can hear the sound of cynical vitriolic pens being sharpened, all too ready to trot out the usual reasons why the country no longer does well at Eurovision.

Of course in any other year those reasons might have stood up – Europe doesn’t like us, it’s all dominated by the East, it’s become a vote for your neighbour contest, the West never gets a look in anyway, nobody likes the Big Four countries because they qualify automatically, and so on and so on ad infinitum. Except something happened last night which renders all of the above null and void. That something was Germany – a Big Four automatic qualifier, a Western European country, and one of the longest standing participants in the contest – taking top honours for only the second time in Eurovision history.

And the mere fact that happened does in fact prove just how much the above have been used as scapegoats to justify the UK’s constant ‘poor little us’ bleating over their lack of success in the last decade. Because (and let’s leave the issue of jury voting aside for a minute) Germany proved that with the right song, with something fresh and modern and contemporary that appeals to a wide audience, it is perfectly possible to win Eurovision regardless of who you are. Not only that, but it’s even possible to win the contest even if you have been lucky enough to get that golden ticket into the final, that nobody is actually going to resent you for it if your song is good enough.

But leaving aside the German triumph for a moment, let us consider the case of the other Big Four countries, France and Spain. The latter, while not exactly helped by the stage invasion of Jimmy Jump, still had a sweet lilting song which appealed to many while France was one of the biggest surprises of the night for us – yes, the song was complete Eurotrash but it was performed with such energy and drive as to become a real crowd-pleaser. No surprise to us, then, that both countries – while not exactly setting the scoreboard on fire – achieved perfectly respectable scores, certainly far from the 10 points awarded to our Josh.

So ultimately (and as Graham Norton said last night) there’s a lesson to be learned in all of this for the UK, namely that the fact we came last has nothing to do with the Big Four countries being unpopular and everything to do with the fact that our song was complete and utter nonsense, and that frankly we can’t carry on hiding behind the ‘nobody gives points to Western Europe’ excuse any more. The mere fact that we did so well in 2009 should prove just how different things can be when we make a little effort and take the whole thing seriously – but just why, exactly, did we feel the 2009 effort was sufficient enough for us to go back to our bad old ways in 2010 and just submit some random old trash, thus only further fuelling the public perception of the UK as singularly useless on the Eurovision stage?

Listen folks, if a Eurovision nation as long in the tooth as Germany can win this whole thing, there’s no reason why we can’t too, but we HAVE TO START TAKING IT SERIOUSLY EVERY YEAR, not just do it once and assume that’ll be enough to set things straight.

Here’s a good idea for starters. How about next year, instead of trying to come up with what we consider to be a typical Eurovision song, we put our heads together and come up with – well, a song? After all, how many of the winners of the last few years have sounded like the kind of camp, cheesy, boom bang a bang-esque Eurovision winners of the past? Er, none of them actually. Lena’s winner certainly didn’t. And come to think of it, with the possible exception of Denmark, nor did any of the other songs in the top five. It’s just a thought, but it would be a start at least. And then we might find that in fact the rest of Europe does quite like us after all.

Posted in Eurovision 2010, United Kingdom | 6 Comments »

Vote Josh! (Well you don’t have to, but just being nice to him would be a start……..)

Posted by DINRIL on May 29, 2010

There’s been a lot of talk in the press over the past few days about the fact that this year’s UK entry is, to put it bluntly, not very good. The tabloids have had a field day, jumping on the fact that poor old Josh Dubovie has the lowest odds ever for a UK Eurovision song, that the odds on him getting no points at all are quite high (for what it’s worth we still think he’ll get more points than whatever Slovenia got in the semi-final so THERE…..), that it’s all a bit useless, etc etc ad infinitum. Even Pete Waterman has said it’s “highly unlikely” his own composition will win.

Now we don’t wish to defend That Sounds Good To Me for a moment (because if we’re being honest, it’s a bit pants), but we are beginning to wonder where this ridiculously defeatist attitude came from? Like it or not, this is the song we have sent to Eurovision this year and Josh is the singer that we, as a nation, voted for back in March – and if we’re going to be that disparaging about it then surely the whole notion of us coming last, getting no points, slinking back to le Royaume-Uni with our tail between our legs etc, becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy? Can you imagine if we ventured into the World Cup with that attitude, decided we were going to lose anyway and sent the England squad out in their away kit, wearing plimsolls, because there was no point in us making an effort? We wouldn’t do that of course, so why do we feel it’s OK to approach Eurovision in such a fashion?

And another thing. All of this can’t be very nice for Josh – who let us remember is only 19 – to actually have to read. The poor lad has gone out to Oslo with all the best intentions only to face lorryloads of tabloid fodder about how the whole thing is a disaster because there is no way he can win. Frankly I wouldn’t bother if I were him. I’d just hop on the next plane home and send a singing poodle (sure you could find one at the Britain’s Got Talent auditions if you looked hard enough) to take my place because there would be no point in my even trying to outdo the bookies and the press. The fact he is going to go out there on Saturday night with his head held high and do his best, even though he is virtually guaranteed a poor result, is to his credit.

All of which leads us to wonder if this attitude could have something to do with the UK’s poor results recently. We’re all too quick to find scapegoats – the Iraq war for example (people of Britain, it happened nearly a decade ago. Nobody hates us for it any more, particularly not the Eurovision community. Now just stop trotting out that archaic old excuse and get over yourselves, OK?) . Or we cry foul over neighbourly voting, or Eastern Bloc domination, or the fact the Wispa bar doesn’t taste as good as it did in the 80s (OK then maybe not. But you get our drift).

Yet we never bother to look at the root cause of why UK has fallen from Eurovision favour – the simple fact that other countries take it seriously while we still regard it as some kind of uber-camp, uber-kitsch singing carnival full of naff songs and dodgy hairdos. People, Eurovision has worked very hard to shake off that image in recent years. The likes of Russia – whose 2008 winner Believe was produced by Timbaland – or Azerbaijan, who have roped in Beyonce’s choreographer to pep up Drip Drop this year – don’t like it when you start suggesting they’re naff and dodgy, and let’s face it, why should they vote for us if that is our attitude towards them and the contest as a whole?

Eurovision has moved with the times. The trouble is that the UK’s perception of Eurovision has, by and large, not moved with it. We thought we’d made a breakthrough in 2009 when Andrew Lloyd Webber got involved and we had the fabulous Jade Ewen singing for us – and indeed, look at the difference it made, look how much better we fared when we did take it seriously. What a shame we didn’t manage to pull it off again this year.

So we hereby appeal to you, when you’re watching this evening, to actually rally round Josh and give him a bit of support. Yes, we know the song sucks. Yes, we know it was written by the Poundstretcher Simon Cowell. And yes we know the only time we’ll probably feature in the left hand side of the scoreboard is at the start before any votes have been cast. But don’t take it out on the teenager who is doing his best to try and represent our country in the best way he can. Because at the end of the day, he’s actually taking the whole thing seriously.  And that counts for a lot in this era of Eurovision.

And on that note we’re off to drag our Union Jacks out of their mothballs……

Posted in Eurovision 2010, United Kingdom | 6 Comments »

Bon Voyage…..

Posted by DINRIL on May 20, 2010

……to our very own Josh as he prepares to make his way to Oslo – but he’s not flying there, oh no. According to BBC News,  the Royaume-Uni representative is travelling to Norway by land to try and avoid delays created by Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud, and is about to undertake an epic 36-hour journey (parts of which will be shown during BBC3’s Eurovision coverage) to get there.

So Europe, please, when you come to vote just bear in mind the Herculean effort the lad has made to get to the contest and be nice to him. And in the meantime Josh, you might want to start giving some thought to how you’re going to get back again…….

Posted in Eurovision 2010, United Kingdom | 1 Comment »

Gosh! It’s Josh!

Posted by DINRIL on April 26, 2010

After weeks of speculation over the final version of the UK’s Eurovision entry, our very own Josh Dubovie performed the all new That Sounds Good To Me live over the weekend, at Amsterdam’s Eurovision In Concert. It was long past our bedtime by the time he took to the stage (and given his tender years, we think it was possibly long past Josh’s also), but the good news is that the performance – and indeed the new version of the song, complete with slightly different chorus and intro and other assorted nips and tucks – seems to have gone down well. Great. So that’ll be a handful of points from the Netherlands then, just another 37 or so countries to convince……:)

Oh, and you can check out the UK performance footage from the concert for yourself at esctoday.com, where it is also revealed that Josh will be joining Niamh Kavanagh, Paula and Ovi and Hera Bjork (she’ll be the one brushing volcanic ash off her sleeves for much of the evening) at the UK Eurovision Preview Party on Sunday May 2. Your friendly Eurovision Blog representative will be there too, if you want to tell us what a good job we’re doing, engage in discussion about the relative merits of Miro vs Didrik Solli-Tangen, buy us a drink or simply compliment us on our party tights…..:)

Posted in Eurovision 2010, United Kingdom | 2 Comments »

The Your Country Needs You 2010 Liveblog!

Posted by DINRIL on March 12, 2010

Welcome to the live blog for Your Country Needs You 2010, the UK’s national final…..

20:04 Nothing to see here folks. We are watching EastEnders ahead of YCNY kicking off at 2030. Not sure how we are feeling about this year’s show. Can’t help feeling after the Herculean effort made in 2009 we’re being a bit half-hearted about it this year and by 2011 we’ll be back to chucking out any old nonsense song cobbled together two minutes before the submission deadline. Still, we shouldn’t dismiss the man who gave the world Rick Astley completely out of hand. Errrrrr………..

20:06 We’re bored. If you’re reading this, tell us what you’ll be eating during the show.

20:30 And we’re off and running!

20:32 It’s clips a go go.

20:34 Enter Pete Waterman. So, since Andrew Lloyd Webber played piano for Jade in Moscow last year, can we expect him to appear on stage in Oslo, possibly as one of the backing dancers. Er….

20:40 All of the contestants are singing classic Stock Aitken Waterman songs before their numbers are whittled down. First up is Karen. She is singing Kylie. She is not good.

20:42 “It’s so difficult being the first,” Graham Norton tells her. So…..you also thought she was rubbish then, Graham??

20:45 Alexis is up. He is singing Rick Astley. Let’s just overlook that point for now shall we? He is rather sweet and appealing although whether his voice is strong enough is another matter.

20:50 And it’s time for the first group, Uni5. They are singing Steps’ Last Thing On My Mind. Why are we not surprised?

20:54 Pete Waterman doesn’t like them. Guess they can kiss goodbye to that ticket to Oslo then.

20:57 Esma is on, singing Donna Summer. Now this is a bit more like it. She’s got the look of a Eurovision diva AND she can sing. Pete, do the decent thing….

21:00 Now we kind of like Josh as well despite our initial trepidation. That could have been more to do with the use of the words ‘I’ll be singing a Jason Donovan song,’ mind…..

21:05 And Miss Fitz round off the first part of the show with more Kylie. Girls, I don’t care if one of you is Norwegian and Simon Cowell didn’t shout at you on The X Factor, you’re rubbish.

21:08 Just enough with the Abba medley already…..

21:15 La Waterman has spoken. And your finalists are – Esma (yay!), Alexis (double yay!) and Josh (wahey!) Good call. All the crummy acts have been sent packing, which goes to show just how much sense this format makes. You can guarantee the public would have voted for one of the groups and sent us plummeting to the bottom of the scoreboard once again.

21:20 It’s nearly time for THE SONG.

21:22 The song is called That Sounds Good To Me. But will it?

21:23: That sounds, er, OK to us….

21:24: We are bopping. Helps.

21:26 We’d be quite happy with any of these finalists but it is beginning to sound like a boy’s song to some members of Team Eurovision.

21:28 Esma is doing well, she’s – oh no, she has blown it, and apologised live on stage! Which leads us to think perhaps she isn’t the one – if that happens in YCNY how would she fare in front of 20,000 people at the Telenor Arena?

21:30 And finally it’s Josh. He looks happy, he looks relaxed! Quite why he is wearing Pavel Turcu’s old cast-offs is another matter entirely…..

21:35 And the phonelines are open. Cue 15 minutes of random guff.

21:44: The Sugababes are performing. This is a good tune, can we send this one?

21:47 Love it when they drag out all the old clips. There are some here even we hadn’t seen before, like the Austrians and the football helmets. That playing the watering can one comes out every time there is a Eurovision show to be filled however. Wonder if that man has ever lived it down?

21:50 The phonelines are closed. Ooooops, we forgot to vote. Oh well, don’t suppose it’ll matter…..

21:51 Oooooh, it is Pixie. And he is whipping the crowd into a frenzy with his 2009 winner Fairytale (rumours that he was earlier seen scooting round TV Centre trying to get his photo taken with as many random newsreaders and reality TV stars as possible have been staunchly denied. And if anybody doesn’t understand this we refer you back to our 2009 coverage….) Just one question though, does he not have any other song he can perform? I mean c’mon, it’s been a year, he must have come up with something already!

21:55 And the results are in!

21:56 Esma has finished third. She is swiftly despatched as we establish a bloke will be representing us this year. But will it be Alexis – or Josh?

21:57 ‘Tis Josh! And yes, he looks shocked. As you do.

21:58 Josh reprises the song, which will of course stick in your head and drive you mad for at least the next 17 years even after it, with almost crushing inevitability, finishes 14th or something. OK, it’s not quite as bad as we were expecting but we still can’t help thinking that it might have been left over from when Steps recorded their last album. We do hope our predictions are wrong, but we shall no doubt see…..

21:59 Bored now. Anybody know what’s happening in the Greek final???????

Posted in United Kingdom | 6 Comments »