Saturday, March 01, 2014

The UK's Eurovision entry to be revealed on Monday

So, we've had yet another entertaining series of rumours - yes folks, the lead-up to the announcement of the UK's Eurovision entry is always an unmissable feast.  Who would be this year's UK entry?  Well, if you've been playing UK Eurovision bingo, this lot might just get you a full house!
  • Geri Halliwell
  • Belinda Carlisle
  • Dame Vera Lynn
  • Wet Wet Wet
  • Paloma Faith
  • Nina Nesbitt
  • Olly Murs
  • Sam Bailey
  • Aiden Grimshaw
  • Wet Wet Wet
  • Charlotte Church
  • Adele
  • One Direction
  • Jessie J
  • Amy Macdonald
...and the list is endless.

In the last couple of days, the BBC has finally broken its silence and announced that this year's UK entry will be revealed at 7.30pm UK time on Monday 3rd March. 

In this blog post, executive producer Guy Freeman announced:

"With 9 million UK viewers watching last year’s show and a very active online fan base, the contest is as popular as ever. There’s certainly no shortage of ideas out there as to what needs to be done.
It’s clear that people genuinely care about it and I do too...Some countries use selection shows and we’ve done this in the past, but this year we began by taking a dispassionate look at recent winners. We discovered that simply by and large they’ve been very good songs that have deserved to win.
It’s clear there’s a disconnect between what kind of songs and artists are now winning Eurovision, versus the stereotype that many people – including much of the music industry - still hold in their minds. Yes, novelty songs and acts do still turn up in the show, provide great entertainment and make good press – but they don’t tend to win. So, early on in plans for 2014, we took the view that we needed a bespoke, contemporary song, written specifically to suit the conditions of the competition – rather than trying to get lucky with a pre-existing track from an artist",

Mr Freeman goes on to say that this year's artist and song has been chosen via the BBC Introducing process, which has uncovered unsigned/unknown acts who have gone on to bigger things.  The BBC approached a few artists who were actually interested in writing and performing a song specifically written for Eurovision: "The end result is that we now have a powerful and impressive song that we hope will do us proud in Copenhagen. We’re keen to introduce the song and artist to everyone as soon as possible, so it will be premiered on BBC Red button next Monday (3rd March) evening at 7.30pm and available to catch up on BBC iPlayer".

So after all the rumours, it looks like we're sending an unknown artist to Copenhagen.  Which presumably means that there is no reputation to destroy, because said artist hasn't actually established one yet.  That's a promising, if slightly defeatist, notion: we should be sending our best artists to Eurovision, but there's no chance of that thanks to the disastrous reputation which this country's media (and a certain Mr Wogan) built up over the years: Representing the United Kingdom in Eurovision is something to be ashamed of.

There are some hopeful signs: no to novelty, yes to quality songwriting and performance.  However, why the red button?  Surely if this is a sign that things are changing, why bury it there?  It's a challenge to overturn the prejudices of a generation, but putting it on prime time on BBC1 would be a start.

However, I will reserve my judgement until Monday night: in the meantime my excitement is building.  Hoping that the song (and artist) won't let us down.

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