Monday, January 23, 2017

Eurovision 2017: The UK Contenders

BBC Radio 2's Ken Bruce played this morning the six contenders for the UK entry this year. Following several years' dismal results we are, once again, hoping that whoever chooses these things will give us both an artist that has some appeal and a really great song for them to perform.

I was never expecting a great deal from a couple of also-rans from The Voice no-one really remembered, Jake + 1 - and have already forgotten the other one's name. 2015 saw us experiment with a jazz couple we'd never heard of. They were competent but didn't recreate the fun or vocal accuracy for that matter that the single release provided, although that didn't even make the Top 100 in our own chart. 2014 was the year of Molly, a young lady who was probably very talented and wrote the entry herself but had decided to go for some tedious Children of The Universe type of lyric which was a bit stuck in the 1970s for most of us. 2013 and 2012 were real low points for us and it was embarrassing to watch the ancient Bonnie Tyler and Engelbert Humperdinck try and represent us forty years after they had been at their own peak! Dreadful times.

Once again, we're being thrown a range of new talent to choose from. When other countries are sending some of their leading acts, chart toppers and proven talent to the competition we seem determined to ignore our own established and genuinely world-beating stock. It is as if we feel it wouldn't be fair to send Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding or Little Mix. Not really playing game. Sod that, it's time we won, or at least made the Top 5.

So what have we been offered this year?

Olivia Garcia is young and pretty and pretty talented. She didn't make the X Factor Live Shows but did reach the Judges' Houses round. One day we'll enter our winning contestant. Indeed the runner-up, Saara Alto may well be representing Finland so that would certainly blow our chances!



The song is good, though, and ought to do reasonably well. It is forgettable, though.

Holly Brewer is quite young and pretty and also pretty talented. Despite lots of good songwriters getting involved in the track it was really not something that I thought stood out at all. It was only a few minutes ago when I heard it but I can now recall absolutely nothing.


Whilst it won't offend anybody I just don't see anyone rushing to vote for it, either here or in Europe 

Lucie Jones with Never Give Up On You.


Here's a strong entry. Another X Factor girl, And another young, another very pretty girl. Is there a theme here? Lucy reached the Live Shows in 2009 and impressed us all but had strong competition with Stacey Solomon, Olly Murs and Joe McElderry that year, not to mention JEdward!


Lucie has a great range and an interesting timbre to her voice which may sound a bit tinny to some and you also wonder whether there is some auto-tune going on on the single release. I think it is just her voice, though. She has had quite a bit of success on the stage since X Factor and I can imagine that she would not be too fazed by the Eurovision lights.

Danyl Johnson Light Up The World is a good old-style 90s number with a classic Ibiza backbeat. Danyl is not another young pretty girl but a guy in his late 30s. He was also on X Factor in 2009! He came fourth after a good run but always seemed to be trying a bit too hard and I remember thinking at the time that he had the most gigantic mouth. 



Now that doesn't mean he can't sing well. Indeed, it might even help him reach the more difficult voters of Azerbaijan or other distant shores like Iceland. However, he is not exactly a pleasure to watch when he's singing at full blast. This will get quite a few votes, I reckon, but, so far I'd bet on Lucie getting some revenge for his lasting a little longer than her on X Factor. She came 6th after a most controversial elimination battle with JEdward who came 5th.

Selena Mastroianni and I Don't Want To Fight

Here's the 'Peace' song this year. Why can't we put our weapons down. Again, a tinny timbre to this girl's voice sounds a bit like autotune but she has a good pedigree of backing people like Robbie Williams and others, so has plenty of experience.



Back on theme again, this is Selena as she was at an X Factor audition in 2012. She didn't get past Boot Camp, however, which doesn't bode that well. There's not a great deal out there about this girl but she can certainly sing. The song, though, is very much 'manufactured' and, whilst it will get quite a good number of votes, I just don't see Selena getting the gig this year.

Nate Simpson sings What Are We Made Of? It sounds like there are several Nates so that would be tricky to recreate live on the Eurovision stage.



Yet another X Factor contestant and yet another one who didn't really get so far. He made the top 28 and so got a trip to a sunny place but did not make the Live Shows. he can sing, for sure, but tends to meander around notes. This is an OK sort of song but it is not at all memorable.

A disappointing lot, I'm sad to say. Lucie Jones strikes me as the girl most likely to succeed and if they remind the voters of her modelling career that will bring her some much needed extra votes from the straight males across Eurovision land. Olivia Garcia has a pretty good track too and has a certain charm that could help us along the way.

Emillie DeForest who won for Denmark in 2013 wrote the song for Lucie and that girl has a good style. I do struggle with some of the lyrics, though, but I guess that's life in Eurovision! The two guys and Holly Brewer all seem to need to scamper through the words at one point or another and they don't come across as really meaning what they're singing. Selena does get the 'let's stop fighting' message across well, though, and the two girls, Lucie, in particular, are believable.

at the moment, after a couple of plays each, my vote is still for Lucie first, then Olivia and Selena third. I seriously doubt whether the others could achieve any worthwhile placing in the competition with songs that just don't make the grade for me.


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