On Friday the BBC kicked off their hopes of improving on this year’s positive result by welcoming the public to submit entries for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.
The past couple of years have seen acts compete in a National Final, which many other countries in the contest do to select their entry. Both of the winning entries have been of a higher quality than the mainly dismal attempts in the years previously (I’m looking at you Electro Velvet) even if the results didn’t necessarily show this. Lucie Jones managed to combine some eye catching staging with a solid live vocal for a relatively good mid-table position in Kiev.
I hope that the UK can improve even further in Lisbon 2018 but one thing stands in their way: the BBC and the way they select the acts for the National Final.
For the 2017 edition, the viewing public were given the choice to vote for one of six entries. None of them, and I mean none of them, were exceptionally good. They ranged from the bland to the blander to the downright stupid (“Why can’t we put our weapons down” should never be sung in an up-tempo dance number). Lucie Jones’s Never Give Up On You, the winning entry, was downright sleepy in the studio version and was only elevated through a major revamp and the power of the live vocals. Surely there was at least one song that stood out like a beacon to put the fire in the BBC’s dreams of success?
When you look at the songs very closely, it becomes very apparent that all six entries were written in a song writing camp in mainland Europe and that the performers are virtually ‘singers for hire’ who can’t stamp their identity on to the empty shells. The contest has moved on in the past decade with the visuals and the depth of meaning in songs and performances and these average cookie-cutter entries will not cut it anymore. Bearing in mind that last year they also invited the public to send in songs, were they all so awful that they were rejected in favour of what we got?! Given that the song writing camp is returning to produce potential entries, sadly I see a repeat is on the cards.
Personally, I’d love to see a line-up closer to what we got in the 2016 National Final, where some of the songs fitted the archetype at Eurovision but some were self-written by bands and sounded more true and closer to their identity (the brilliant country sound of Darline springs to mind). Surely it would be better for the BBC as a broadcaster to be praised for sending something modern, attractive and different, than the current bland and occasionally embarrassing packages we usually send? But until that happens, I don’t see the United Kingdom getting anywhere near Jade Ewen’s brilliant 5th place in 2009 and, given that as a country we haven’t won since 1997, that is a depressing prospect when we possess one of the most successful music industries in the world.
What do you think about the UK’s plans for Eurovision 2018 and what would you like to see the country send to the contest?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.