Eurovision: You Decide
Hammersmith Apollo – London, England
27th of January 2017
Eurovision: You Decide is the United Kingdom’s show to decide who will qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Kiev on May 13th 2017. Those who know me personally will already be aware that I am a Eurovision nut and even went to the contest last year. The UK have given the continent an absolute murderer’s row of awful entrants (Humperdinck, Scooch et al) and this year looks to be no different. The show was hosted by Mel Giedroyc, with judges comments from Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Bruno Tonioli and vocal coach CeCe Sammy who, if she had subtitles, they would be entirely in caps lock.
Holly Brewer – I Wish I Loved You More: I was hoping for a high energy opener. Technically on point, but absolutely soulless. This is something you would expect from a no-hope Soviet republic like Azerbaijan or Moldova, fourteenth act of the night. Malta have just smashed it out of the park, Lithuania have had a mental prosthetic puppet singing about turnips or something and then this… Total bathroom break. You will never remember this. *1\2.
Danyl Johnson – Light Up The World: A poor live performance. The sound was all over the place to start and his voice isn’t that good. The chorus was catchy and they had the Poli Genova-esque dance choreography. Danyl is green and it shows. It was your typical uplifting “hands across the continent” song. In the hands of a more seasoned worker, this could have been something. Alas, it was not to be. **
Lucie Jones – Never Give Up On You: Written by former champion Emmelie De Forest (Denmark – 2012), there is a lot of name value attached to this song. This was a poignant piano ballad with some fantastic high notes and you can clearly see that this song means a lot to her, as she puts on a emotional performance. It reminds me a lot of people’s attitudes towards Lucha. I’m sure if you’re into this sort of thing, you’ll probably love it, but this just isn’t my thing. The best song so far, but I just don’t think this sort of thing stands a chance with the continental voters. **3/4
Olivia Garcia – Freedom Hearts: This was a lot better than I expected. This was a huge rabble-rowsing singalong. It pleased the crowd and I could definitely see myself dropping the suspense of disbelief and just getting lost in this song. This could work as a Remain anthem showing solidarity to our friends across the continent in these dark times. Maybe we should have just embraced the hate and sent a quasi-right wing martial industrial/neofolk anthem of independence. Then, we might have won. Anyway, this had a lot of flaws, but they could be ironed out before Kiev, and this was the best so far. ***1/4.
Nate Simpson – What We Are Made Of:
Uuuuuuuuurgh. I really should have wrote that pro-EU speed metal song I kept mulling over following Stockholm last year, shouldn’t I? Kudos on Big E Langston making the brutal weight cut before this. A proper dreary song that thick people would call “beautiful”. This song questions what we, as people, are made of. I would suggest it’s granite in order to endure this ordeal. Proper bad. 1/2*
Salena Mastroianni – I Don’t Wanna Fight: This was the best song by a country mile, but again it was let down by an inexperienced talent. I could see what they were going for, but they just couldn’t pull it off. The vocals were a bit ropey, but I’m sure with a bit more time in the dojo, they could tighten up and get something really good. An adequate comparison would be Hideyoshi Kamitani’s recent run as BJW Strong Champion. It looked at the start like it would be promising, but he was just too young and inexperienced to make it click. Additional bonus points for the Provisional IRA dancers. It has that classic danceable vibe to it, but it would need considerable work to stand a chance in the main competition. ***3/4.
In the end [SPOILERS], Lucie won. I can see why, but I personally wouldn’t have chosen her. I don’t know how well she’ll do, but I hope she can bring the bacon home. I do have real concerns about the future talent pool though. Despite claiming that they searched “far and wide” to find the perfect act, all six entrants were X Factor rejects and some of them weren’t even particularly good singers. Pro Wrestling NOAH looks to have more to look forward in it’s dojo and that’s even with Differ Ariake being knocked down in July.
That said, I did really enjoy this show. Eurovision shows are always a blast. All of the archive clips, the importance of what was at stake as well as a performance by Alexander “Feed Me More” Rybak and a re-airing of the ***** classic “Love Love Peace Peace” by last year’s hosts Måns and Petra made this a total blast to watch. Nonetheless, the short-term thrill was not enough to mask the real underlying problem. Last year, a Eurovision dignitary said on the night that “if you hate Eurovision, then vote for Georgia”. The UK then proceeded to give twelve points to Georgia (a fucking wretched song, by the way ). That says it all. The United Kingdom has lost the ability to create real Eurovision stars or even give a shit and on the basis of this show, there is zero to indicate that will change any time soon.
Overall Show Rating – ***3/4.