It’s the home stretch with my reviews now, so it’s about time to look at my home country. Could this be a big year for the embattled veteran nation?
The United Kingdom debuted in Eurovision’s second year, and have appeared at all of the contest since 1959. During this spell they have won the contest 5 times, most recently back in 1997 when Katrina and the Waves took “Love shine a light” to the top of the table in Dublin.
While the UK added to its long list of 2nd place finishes in Birmingham the following year, the intervening years haven’t been kind, with Jessica Garlick’s 3rd place in 2002 and Jade Ewen’s 5th place in 2009 the only top 10 finishes since 1998.
Along with many attempts by other members of the “Big Four” during the 00’s, its immunity from needing to qualify appeared to be more of a liability than an asset, and some terrible results followed – particularly the nul points finish in Riga with Jemini.
Attitude to the contest in the UK is the biggest problem I think, and while many continue to treat the contest as a joke at home, I wonder if we can ever regain former glories. Progress has been made though, Blue made a creditable effort in 2011, and while the stunt-casting of Engelbert Humperdinck and Bonnie Tyler in the last few years hasn’t gone quite to plan, it has at least shown there is more goodwill in Europe than we deserve.
Time to start anew though, and an internal selection picked a relative unknown singer, Molly Smitten-Downes. She provided the vocals for Sash!’s greatest hits remix of “Encore une fois”, “Raindrops”, but is otherwise not a household name in the UK. She participated in the BBC’s “Introducing” project for up-and-coming talent.
Great stuff, and the mission statement from the head of the Eurovision team at the BBC was so refreshing, finally we might be onto a good thing.
The best thing though? Not only is Molly a great live performer, the song is getting some serious buzz. Do I dare believe we might manage to win? Before the stakes get too high, whatever happens I think this is definite progress for the UK in the contest and that can only be a great thing as a fan.
“Children of the Universe” is a stirring call to arms, not in the peace-ballad template Israel have perfected, but more of a contemporary singalong complete with “Power to the people” chant refrain. There are shades of Coldplay’s “Paradise” in there, but there feels like there’s more substance here. As a British fan, I’ve protected myself by usually feeling fairly neutral about our entries, but I can’t resist it this time. It’s not quite my genre of choice, and there are songs I like better, but my God, I’d be so happy if this did well.
Good luck Molly, I’m rooting for you!!
For reviews of ALL the competing entries in the 2014 contest, as well as coverage of all the national finals and all sorts of other news, please visit my Copenhagen 2014 Hub by clicking the link, or the “Copenhagen 2014” menu on the top banner, or the “#Joinus” crystal on the left-hand bar.