Sequins on, continental dip selection at the ready. It’s (almost) that time again…
After Conchita Wurst’s storming victory for Austria last year, this year’s contest will be held in the home of waltzes, cream-filled shortcake and Midge Ure’s overcoat. It’s also the 60th anniversary of Eurovision, so we can expect a bit more pomp and ceremony rammed in between the hydraulic lifts and interpretive dance routines.
The UK isn’t going to win
We knew this before anything even got announced. We’ve known this for years. We knew this more or less as soon as Katrina (she of the Waves) had put the trophy down, left the stage and taken off her longline velvet blazer back in ’97.
We will never win because everybody hates us, because we always send an entry that’s completely out of step with the current musical mood, and also because Europeans buy our records and support our pop stars the rest of the ruddy year and would probably like one night all to themselves.
The UK isn’t going to even nearly win
Unless we get lucky and happen across the continent’s core of two-bit retro jazz enthusiasts – ones that have never heard Miles Davies or Benny Goodman, but liked Candyman by Christina Aguilera and own a pair of seamed tights – then our entry, Still in Love With You by duo Electro Velvet, is less likely to win over Europe than Nigel Farage.
Not heard it? Imagine Caro Emerald performed by a couple of enthusiastic sixth-formers trying to do something ‘a bit different’ at the end of term concert and you’re halfway there. It’s not terrible in the way that our Eurovision entries are usually terrible, but it is ‘vintage’ in the way Meghan Trainor and chintzy mugs from Cath Kidston are vintage – which is to say, not very vintage at all.
There are violins, a scat solo, a synthesizer, spoken interludes and a line that rhymes ‘sneezes’ and ‘nasty diseases’ in the first 30 seconds. It sounds very vaguely like Up All Night by Take That, a little bit like Jive Bunny and a lot like the theme tune from the BBC’s Just William circa 1994 and a BirdsEye potato waffles advert. And if that’s still not clear enough, just listen to it here.
They’re not cherished British musical legends
Although we can forgive that, because the cherished British musical legends haven’t any better for us recently than the unknown TV talent show offcuts. If Electro Velvet sounds like a name that’s been thought up very quickly or possibly even generated by a Buzzfeed quiz called ‘What’s your juxtaposed two-word band name?’, that’s because the duo have been together for less time than Buck’s Fizz kept their skirts on.
Alex Larke is a teacher and part-time Mick Jagger impersonator in a Rolling Stones tribute group, while bandmate Bianca Nicholas was last seen in the first round of The Voice UK. She’s also living with cystic fibrosis, and has spoken in the past about how the condition affects her breathing and lung function. The pair have described their track as a ‘Marmite’ song, claiming that dividing opinion is ‘better than everyone having apathy for it’. But then, they probably would say that.
The song was written by David Mindel, who also wrote the Jim’ll Fix It theme music
But, BUT – it’s only there to make a guest appearance in honour of the 60th anniversary, and won’t become a regular entrant. Which is a good thing, because we all know everyone loves Australia about as much as they hate the UK.
Duets are everywhere
We’re not the only country pinning our hopes on a twosome. In fact, duets are the new ‘huge novelty Eurovision supergroup’, with Estonia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Belarus, San Marino and the UK all entering them so far. Our sources tell us they’ve probably been inspired by last year’s trendy runners-up from the Netherlands, rather than our 2003 uber-flop Jemini. Probably.
Some of the other entries are GREAT
Latvia has come up with something that sounds entirely modern and also quite wonderfully 90s – kind of a low-budget Jessie Ware with a touch of Portishead. It’s sung by an elfin beauty in a long red dress, which is a back-to-Eurovision-basics move employed by France for more or less the whole of the noughties. When in doubt, stick her in a long red dress.
Estonia has turned out a song which, if you played it on Radio 2 and told me it was a duet Ed Sheeran and Demi Lovato had recorded on a hangover, I would fully believe. Meanwhile Lithuania has a song which, if you played it on Radio 2 and told me it was Lady Antebellum on a good day, I would fully believe. There’s a lot of Radio 2, is what I’m saying.
Denmark are going after the youth vote with cheery, McFly-alike boyband Anti Social Media. And by ‘youth’, I mean the under 30s – because that is one catchy track. Meanwhile the Netherlands are sending mid-90s pop star Trijntje Oosterhuis, to sing a song that couldn’t sound more like Torn by Natalie Imbruglia if it were performed cold and shamed, lying naked on the floor.
But the biggest buzz has been reserved for Finland’s entry PKN – a punk band whose members all have Down’s Syndrome or autism, and are hoping to raise awareness support for adults with mental disabilities through their music. They’re currently Paddy Power’s odds-on favourite to win.
Some of the other entries are VERY BAD
Greece’s is dreadful. It sounds like something on the soundtrack to a very bad Jason Statham film, sung by an X-Factor midweighter over the final slo-mo scene of a people running away from a burning helicopter.
France is sticking with the habit of a Eurovision lifetime by entering a dirgey ballad, in French. N’oubliez Pas (‘Never Forget’), sung by Lisa Angell, was written in commemoration of the First World War and pays tribute to the victims of conflict. It isn’t very good, but that probably won’t matter very much.
Ireland has shaken off all memory of its brief lapse in Jedward judgement and returned to its tradition of instantly forgettable Celtic balladeering, with a singer so young she was born two years AFTER the UK last won Eurovision. Which is depressing. Meanwhile, Italy has opera sung by some handsome Shoreditch baristas. It’s probably very good, or maybe terrible. It’s opera, who can tell?
We’re overrun with Warriors
Well, two anyway. Both Malta and Georgia are entering songs called Warrior, both sound almost identical and both are sung by women in their 20s with long dark hair. This could be incredibly confusing, but you’re probably not going to be voting for either of them.
Germany have had drama already
After winning the public vote to represent Germany last week, rock singer Andreas Kummert declined his place in the competition live on air. ‘I’m not really in the right condition to accept this,’ he told the show’s presenter Barbara Schoneberger, before giving his place to runner-up Ann Sophie. ‘I have great respect for Andreas and his decision,’ she told the press, unsurprisingly.
Kitty Brucknell had her dreams dashed again
Remember Kitty Brucknell? Yeah you do, her off the X-Factor in 2011. Following a self-released album (Glamour & Damage) last year and a stint in local panto (more glamour and more damage, we’d imagine), Kitty had another bite of the fame cherry by being shortlisted to compete in Eurovision 2015 with her song ‘Remix’ – for Moldova. Sadly Moldova wasn’t bowled ova, and Kitty failed to qualify for the final round of the country’s heats. You can go back to not remembering who she is again now.