Eurovision 2018 Previews: United Kingdom

Continuing our preview journey, we move on to the land of tea, queuing and some big wedding. It’s the United Kingdom!!!

History

The United Kingdom first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1957. This year will be their sixty-first participation. Having not missed a contest since 1959, the United Kingdom holds the record for the longest uninterrupted participation in the contest. They have won five times. Their first victory came courtesy of Sandie Shaw with “Puppet on a String” in 1967, then Lulu with “Boom Bang-a-Bang” in 1969 (tied), Brotherhood of Man with “Save Your Kisses for Me” in 1976, Bucks Fizz with “Making Your Mind Up” in 1981 and finally Katrina and the Waves with “Love, Shine a Light” in 1997. They also hold the record for most second places with 12 and most hostings of the contest with 8, as they stepped in when other countries could not host. In the 21st century, they have fared badly, only finishing in top 10 on two occasions. Jessica Garlick finished joint third in 2002 with “Come Back” and Jade Ewen finished fifth in 2009 with “It’s My Time”. Last year, Lucie Jones came fifteenth in the final with “Never Give Up On You”, the United Kingdom’s best result since 2011.

Selection

The British broadcaster, BBC, organised Eurovision: You Decide for the thrid year running to select their Eurovision entry. Six songs competed in the final and the winner was chosen by a jury (50%) and public voting (50%). SuRie was awarded the British ticket to Lisbon.

Artist

Susanna Marie Cork (SuRie) was born on February 18 1989 in Essex, England. At a young age, SuRie learnt to play the piano and oboe, as well as attending singing lessons and writing her own songs. She performed in front of the Prince of Wales as a child soloist and later graduated from the Royal Academy of Music. Most recently she provided backing vocals for Will Young and Chris Martin and teaches at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London.

SuRie is no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest as she took to the stage in 2015 as a backing vocalist and dancer for Belgian singer Loic Nottet. She returned two years later as a backing singer for Blanche, also from Belgium.

The song that SuRie will perform in Lisbon, “Storm”, was written and composed by
Nicole Blair, Gil Lewis and Sean Hargreaves.

Song Review

I have mixed feelings about this song. It’s very middle-of-the-road and there’s no real wow moment in it. I don’t feel that the revamp improved the song in any way. That being said, SuRie does have this uncanny ability to get an entire crowd on her side. This helped her through when others faltered in the national final. It’s not bad but it’s not extremely good either. I predict a middle-of-the-table finish for the UK.

What Could Have Been

SuRie was not my pick from the national final. For me, it was Jaz Ellington with “You”. This painful love song about someone loving you but you not loving them is heart-wrenching. I remember watching Jaz on The Voice a few years back and being mesmerised by his soulful voice and it still hasn’t lost its magic. I think this would have been a better choice for the UK.

 

                         Good luck to the United Kingdom!

Will SuRie get through the storm or will the elements defeat her? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!

(Sources: eurovision.tv, BBC, YouTube)

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Eurovision 2017 Previews: United Kingdom

Continuing our preview journey, we move on to the land of royals, queuing and the EU’s ex. It’s the United Kingdom!!!

History

The United Kingdom first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1957. This year will be their sixtieth participation. Having not missed a contest since 1959, the United Kingdom holds the record for the longest uninterrupted participation in the contest. They have won five times. Their first victory came courtesy of Sandie Shaw with “Puppet on a String” in 1967, then Lulu with “Boom Bang-a-Bang” in 1969 (tied), Brotherhood of Man with “Save Your Kisses for Me” in 1976, Bucks Fizz with “Making Your Mind Up” in 1981 and finally Katrina and the Waves with “Love, Shine a Light” in 1997. They also hold the record for most second places with 12 and most hostings of the contest with 8, as they stepped in when other countries could not host. In the 21st century, they have fared badly, only finishing in top 10 on two occasions. Jessica Garlick finished joint third in 2002 with “Come Back” and Jade Ewen finished fifth in 2009 with “It’s My Time”. Last year, Joe & Jake finished 24th in the final “You’re Not Alone”.

Selection

The British broadcaster, BBC, organised Eurovision: You Decide for the second year running to select their Eurovision entry. Six songs competed in the final, all sung by former X Factor participants. The winner was chosen by a jury (50%) and public voting (50%). Lucie Jones won the British ticket to Kyiv.

Artist

Lucie Jones was born on March 20th 1991 in Pentrych, just outside Cardiff. She auditioned for the sixth series of The X Factor and was controversially eliminated in week 5 of the live shows, in a showdown against Jedward, who would go on to represent Ireland in 2011 and 2012. After her appearance on The X Factor, she began a career in musical theatre. Her credits include playing Cosette in Les Misérables, Kelly in The Prodigals, Meatloaf in the We Will Rock You World Arena Tour, Victoria in American Psycho The Musical and Molly Jensen in Ghost, The Musical. She is currently starring as Maureen in the 20th anniversary UK tour of Rent and will reprise her role as Elle Woods in the upcoming UK and Ireland tour of Legally Blonde. She has also appeared on television in “Midsommer Murders”, “The Sarah Jane Adventures” and was a participant in S4C’s “cariad@iaith” (love4language), in which Welsh celebrities were challenged to learn Welsh in two months. Her entry for Kyiv “Never Give Up on You” was written and composed by Emmelie de Forest, Daniel Salcedo and Lawrie Martin. Emmelie de Forest won the Eurovision in 2013 for Denmark with “Only Teardrops”.

Song Review

When I first heard this in the national selection, I thought it was good, not great. Ballad 101. But with the revamp, my expectations grew immensely. The new version has an atmospheric quality and Lucie sings with such emotion and releases her full vocal power towards the end of the song. It’s nice to see the UK actually putting in an effort over the last few years (let’s pretend 2015 didn’t happen though) and sending an entry full of class. I remember watching Lucie on the X Factor years ago and was devastated when she was sent home in favour of Jedward. I’m glad to see that she is finally getting recognition and the UK can be very proud of her, regardless of the final result.

What Could Have Been

A lot of British Eurofans were initially unhappy with Lucie winning, saying that they preferred Olivia Garcia with “Freedom Hearts” instead. I can see why. Strong vocals, a modern power ballad and some oversized flags at the end, this was the most Eurovision-friendly of the entries in the selection. I’m still a bit confused as to what exactly a “Freedom Heart” is though.

                         Good luck United Kingdom!

Do you have faith in Lucie or have you given up on her? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!

(Sources: eurovision.tv, BBC, YouTube)