Truth be told, I approached the 2017 UK Eurovision selection programme struggling to summon up excitement and enthusiasm.
I was tired. Dispirited. Unconvinced.
Only the night before a good friend of mine had helped me understand how my focus on Eurovision had shifted. After years of investing in the UK and hoping for the best, I was now far more invested in the process of Eurovision and the promise of a celebration at the end of it.
The atmosphere that emerges when Eurovision fans convene is a far more realistic guarantee compared to trying to hedge your bets (and therefore manage your own expectations) as regards the UK’s place in the final leaderboard.
Lucie Jones’ live performance of ‘Never Give Up’ on last night’s BBC Two show defied the low-level expectations of the song I’d ended up with after hearing it on Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 show earlier in the week.
A studio recording doesn’t do Lucie Jones’ considerable vocal stamina justice. The live performance (above) with the mix of the crowd and a breathtakingly simple staging amplifies the song’s considerable poise transforming it into a bit of a heart-breaker. I adore it.
Not everyone will like it. Lazy cynical journalists will dismiss it. I don’t really care.
Eurovision is brutal. The only thing that really counts is whether the song has an impact on a personal level. And frankly, you’d have to be a cold-hearted bastard if this year’s UK Eurovision song didn’t touch you in some way.
Progress has been made. That’s what’s most important.