After a 90 minute show filled with great performances from our six hopefuls and endless ABBA puns from our hosts, the United Kingdom decided to send SuRie to Lisbon with her anthemic dance track “Storm”.
I will be the first to admit that I had some major concerns about “Storm” prior to You Decide, which I discussed in my preview here. The simplicity of the chorus felt like a double-edged sword; would it connect with the audience or would it plateau? I did feel like this was the most Eurovision-esque entry of the six competing, which again could either help or harm its chances.
However in the live performance, I was really impressed with the level she took that song to. She looked beautiful in her turquoise dress, which stood out cleanly against the modern LED screen and poles behind her. SuRie has been to Eurovision before, as a backing vocalist for the contemporary performances of Loic Nottet (Belgium 2015) and Blanche (Belgium 2017). I could see those influences in her performance and this stopped the track from feeling too dated. What I was most surprised with was how much the audience got into it, singing along with the chorus and clapping along to the infectious beat by the second run of the chorus. The simplicity of the song turned out to be its big strength and she was a worthy winner on the night.
I am not sure how well it would do at Eurovision, as it does have that anthemic quality that makes it easy to remember, but this could also work against SuRie if she was placed early in the running order. I think a soft revamp would do it wonders, maybe build up the beat to increase that infectious quality and find out exactly why it went down so well live and turn that aspect up to a hundred. Potentially something to aim for is Bojana Stamenov’s 2015 entry for Serbia, “Beauty Never Lies”, which used its powerful dance beat to go down well with the audience and get a good placement as a result.
Regarding the remaining five acts, none of them had particularly awful performances but they didn’t set the crowd alight like SuRie did. The bookies and fans’ favourite coming into the show was Asanda’s “Legends”, the most modern song of the bunch. In my review I noted that the song felt a bit messy at times and I wasn’t sure how it would translate live. Those fears were sadly founded when the live performance fell flat on the TV screen. The combination of young backing dancers and a structure that Asanda would move on and off of looked to me like something from the Junior edition of the contest several years back. However the biggest problem for me was the singer’s enunciation of the words; Eurofans and bloggers such as myself have heard the song several times so would know what to expect, however those at home may have struggled to understand what she was singing about. These were the two biggest issues I had with the performance and could have contributed to the reason why “Legends” wasn’t a winner.
DJ and singer RAYA opened the show with a high energy rendition of her track “Crazy”. I did enjoy watching it but I knew that it would be forgotten about by the end of the show. I do feel that RAYA may have stolen votes away from Asanda as the two had very similar songs and concepts on stage but the former had the cleaner performance. Liam Tamne highlighted the strength of his voice with “Astronaut” but, as much as he tried to make something happen, it wasn’t visually interesting enough to do so. Jaz Ellington was my personal favourite before the show and I did enjoy his vocals live and the story he told with his song but the audience’s slightly muted reaction signalled his fate. Then we have girl group Goldstone, with perhaps the flattest performance of the night; nothing was happening at all despite their best efforts, perhaps because the audience were tired after SuRie’s performance.
Finally, a small shout out to the hosts Mel Giedroyc and 2015 Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw, who did a wonderful job to keep the show moving along at a good pace whilst keeping the segments between performances relaxed and fun. The BBC produced their slickest You Decide to date and I definitely see the effort they are putting into every show. Many people are crying out for a scoreboard at the end of the show though but I don’t think the BBC would want any of the artists to feel dismayed if they finished near the bottom, which is somewhat understandable. But all in all it was a good show and I am curious to see how SuRie can translate the excitement in the arena during her performance to a bigger stage.
What do you make of the United Kingdom’s 2018 entry for Eurovision and where do you think SuRie will finish in the Grand Final in Lisbon?
You can let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.