How well has the UK done recently at choosing a Eurovision entry? Not very well, as we find out here.
This Saturday see’s the BBC launch their hunt for a singer to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Moscow in May. The UK has lost their way at the song contest in recent years, as we can see in this look back at some of the recent notable UK entrants into both the song contest and previous auditions to represent the country.
Your Country Needs You starts on BBC1 this Saturday at 7.10 pm, more info on the BBC Eurovision website.
Come Back, Jessica Garlick
Let’s start with the exception. Any other year, any other year, and this would have won Eurovision. In 2002, Malta and Latvia dueled for second place, while the UK and Estonia eventually tied for third. Having to run in second in the contest of 24 countries doomed the song – if it had bee later in the Eurovision running order, the Welsh Pop Idol contestant would likely be lauded as our last winner. Still, it’s our highest placing since being second in 1998.
Love Shine A Light, Katrina and the Waves
And the year before that #2, was the last winner for the UK, back in 1997. Regarded as one of the finest songs to ever grace Eurovision, this was originally written as an anthem for The Samaratins, it soared to success. Expect to hear many mentions of this song.
Cry Baby, Jemini
On the other hand, expect to hear very little about “Jem and I” (see what they did there?). While taking a competent song to the 2003 finals, their lack of stadium performance skills and basic equipment (such as in-ear monitors) meant an out-of-key performance and the embarrassment of the first “nul points” for the UK.
Teenage Life, Daz Sampson
While it came 19th in Greece, Teenage Life had one thing going for it. The UK genuinely loved the song, and it reached the Top Ten in the week after the Song Contest… unlike other UK entries which failed to chart. While Daz didn’t top the table, he at least had the country behind him – perhaps Eurovision wasn’t ready for a Dance/Rap track from the man behind The Hamster Sance?
Woo (You Make Me), Michelle Gayle
So with all this history, last year the UK sent a binman – who’d never done studio songs. Andy did his best with his own song, but when your song peaks at #76 in the UK charts, why should we expect Europe to vote for it when we as a country essentially ignored it. In second place in the UK finals was ex Eastenders Michelle Gayle. Who has two Top 30 albums, who performed in the West End as a leading lady, and has three Brit award nominations. And had a song that was a decent mid-table Eurovision number.
They Don’t Make Em Like They Used To, Justin Hawkins and Beverlei Brown
Need some stadium rockers? Who can work an audience? Call Justin “ex-Darkness” Hawkins and this bouncy Schlagen pop duet that sounds like every Swedish entry since Abba. Surprisinlgy, this came third in the UK’s heats in 2007, loosing out to the reformed Scooch…
Pif Paf Pof, by The High Life (Forbes Mason and Alan Cumming)
Scooch of course did a Carry-on esque number of Airline stewards and stewardesses which was so cringeworthy they needed to have alternativle lyrics to appear on Blue Peter. And scottish comedians Alan Cumming and Forbes Mason must have had flashbacks to their Airline Steward based sitcom, The High Life from the mid 90s, where they attempted to create a Scottish Song for Europe that went something like this…
I’ll Leave My Heart, Cyndi
…and I’ll be honest, Forbes and Cumming were better than Scooch. The song that came second was this belter of a ballad. At the UK Final, Fearne Cotton called Scooch the winner, and Terry Wogan, simulaneously (yet incorrectly) called the contest for Cyndi. Perhaps it was a last Hail Mary to save the UK embarresment that year? Nobody but Terry knows, but consider that Cyndi went on to come second in the Fan-Run “which was the best song that came second” contest (the irony) while Scooch had to rely on a block vote from our friends in Ireland and Malta. Everyone else nul pointed us.
So the stage is now set for us to choose a singer for Eurovision – interestingly that singer will not be singing our entry just yet, as Andrew Lloyd Webber has rightly decided to write something appropriate for the winning performer. Right now the country needs to focus on chosing the right performer who has the ability to hold the audience captive over three mintues, and who can best work the media circuit in the month of the contest.
Your Country Needs You, BBC1 Saturday at 7.10 pm, more info on the BBC Eurovision website.