Earlier today the six shortlisted songs for the BBC’s selection programme Eurovision: You Decide were aired for the first time on Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 morning show. So begins Eurovision on the Thoroughly Good Blog for another year.
The songs mark a distinct improvement on last year’s selection, and a gear-shift in the BBC’s efforts to find a ‘good’ entry for the UK.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re remarkable pop songs, but in most cases they meet the music criteria for Eurovision’s now arena-scale setting. Holly Brewer’s I Wish I Loved You More is a good illustration.
Live vocals are everything
Of the remaining five performed live at the Eurovision You Decide final on Friday on BBC Two, Danyl Johnson’s Light Up The World would sound OK in the Eurovision running order. The only caveat is Johnson’s live vocals will need to be top-notch every time in rehearsals for me to feel comfortable this number is the right choice for the UK. I have reservations.
I Don’t Wanna Fight has a fleeting Clean Bandit vibe to it right at the start, builds to an OK chorus, but peters out rather unsatisfactorily at the end.
The best of the bunch with a soaring melody in its heartfelt chorus is Lucie Jones’ Never Give Up On You, written by a whole army of people from Canada and Sweden, plus Denmark’s 2013 Eurovision winner Emmelie de Forest.
Much of the talk from the UK camp last year was around our Eurovision strategy being more of a marathon than a sprint. The training is clearly paying off but this year seeing a personal best isn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion.
This isn’t a foregone conclusion
From a Eurovision perspective Friday night’s live show on BBC Two will be a test to see whether the most convincing song gets chosen – there’s always a risk it won’t.
Only then will the pundits have an idea of which side of the leader-board the UK can hope to find itself on when the final votes are in.