Eurovision 2018 national selections: Eurovision You Decide (United Kingdom preview)

So, for a third year in a row, the BBC is giving us a live televised national final with six acts to choose from. Voting will be split between a televote and a jury. I’ll be there at the actual show itself; this time it’s being held in Brighton at the Brighton Dome – the very place that hosted the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, famously won by Abba that year. So here is a very quick preview of the songs and artists and thoughts on suitability for Eurovision…

The acts are listed in alphabetical order – my comments and score will indicate what I think of it! Of course, these are just studio versions – how they perform live will be the key…

Asanda “Legends”

A former finalist on Britain’s Got Talent in 2013, Asanda Jezile is a 16 year old Londoner. For me, this is the stand out song of the six choices – a strong voice, some crowd pleasing moments (that moment at the chorus at 50 secs win), catchy chorus, and it’s an uptempo banger

My score: 9/10
Eurovision chances: This sounds very distinctly British (in fact distinctly London) which I think is to the good – with English being sung by majority of countries now, we have to distinguish ourselves in other ways. There won’t be too many songs that sound too close to this – something that could work in its favour. Of course, it might go completely out of synch with what the juries and pan-European vote like but I think it’s worth the gamble. Staging/accompanying dancing could work well with this, and has some voting clip friendly moments.

Goldstone “Feel the Love”

There is something of the Little Mix feel about this song and group – but I feel rather Little Mix-lite. It’s an uptempo pop song with some (potentially) nice harmonies, but I it does a bit “filler” to me.

My score: 6/10
Eurovision chances: Harmonies when done well impress juries, although the public vote can be left unmoved (I’m thinking of The Netherlands). It’s modern and uptempo but I am not sure it would have that much to stand out – and girl groups don’t generally have a strong Eurovision record in terms of results.

Jaz Ellington “You”

With an undoubtedly beautiful voice, Jaz reached the semi-finals of the first series of The Voice on strength of coming first in the public vote. This is a very sweet song, and his strengths as a singer are evident – it’s just not my cup of tea though I’m afraid to say.

My score: 4.5/10
Eurovision chances: I think this would struggle at Eurovision – I’m thinking of another Engelbert-style result. In 2012 we had a sweet song, great singer, but just didn’t have enough people voting for it. That said, a quiet, understated song won Eurovision last year – but countries trying to repeat last year’s musical style or formula don’t tend to do well.

Liam Tamne “Astronaut”

Easy on the eye as well as the ear, Liam is another former contestant of The Voice, as well as now being established in West End musical theatre. His entry for Eurovision has something of the Ed Sheeran about it. It’s inoffensive, though some oddball lyrics. Doesn’t set me on fire though I can see this getting a big public vote in the UK final.

My score: 6/10
Eurovision chances: Quite likely to get swallowed up by less generic songs or similar songs with bigger voting diasporas. While I am sure Liam would be no disgrace, I don’t think this would trouble the left hand side of the scoreboard at all.

RAYA “Crazy”

“Crazy” is co-written by former contestant (twice for Iceland) Greta Salóme. RAYA herself is a singer and dancer with a wide-ranging professional CV. This comes close to being by second favourite (but not quite) – it’s catchy, has anthemic moments but I have a niggling feeling it’s something that we’ve heard before – both at Eurovision and on various Scandinavian country national finals. However, in the absence of Ace Wilder representing Sweden, this is the closest we might get to that if RAYA is successful.

My score: 7.5/10
Eurovision chances: My instinct is that this could disappear a bit in the grand final and miss out on the votes. I think we’d feel aggrieved but unless the staging or position in running order helps this to stand out

SuRie “Storm”

SuRie has the greatest Eurovision pedigree of this year’s entrants having been a backing singer for Belgian entry Loïc Nottet in 2015 and musical director for Belgium’s entry last year “City Lights” by Blanche. Both those entries finished in the top 5…. Like “Crazy”, I enjoy this song a lot. It feels a bit more sophisticated than Crazy, and more depth in meaning, and has some good chorus and anthemic moments.

My score: 8/10
Eurovision chances: After “Legends”, I think this is the next best song for a good Eurovision result – but I do think some beefing up of the song would be needed (plus great staging) to make it stand out and not get lost among 25 other songs.

So those are my cursory thoughts on the six – but what do you think? Leave a comment below! And not long till we find out how they perform live – the most important question in many ways!

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