What if… the UK didn’t send a ‘has-been’?

Hi everyone and you’re very welcome back to the ‘What if…’ series! Today, leading on from our article about the possible artists we’d like to see for the UK, we’ll have a look at what could have happened if the UK, now reasonably notorious for sending ‘has-beens’, broke that track and sent an artist that was quite current. Would they have fared a little better than 19th place or would they have actually done worse?

Would the UK have done better if Bonnie didn't go to Malmö?
Would the UK have done better if Bonnie didn’t go to Malmö?

As I mentioned in the ‘Possible Artists’ article that’s mentioned above, the UK is one of the world’s biggest producers of pop music,  giving the world such talents as Jessie J, The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Adele. But when it comes to Eurovision, it seems the BBC has decided to send artists that are, shall we say, past their prime. For example, Blue were internally selected by the BBC in 2011 to represent the UK in Düsseldorf. Blue had previous hits some 6 years before Eurovision, that not only charted in Europe, but worldwide! So when they were selected for Eurovision, we were surprised to see them make a comeback, but in a good way! And Europe seemed to like it too, as they finished in a very respectable 11th place with 100 points, ten times the amount Josh Dubovie got the year before in Oslo. Even if Lee couldn’t properly reach that high note and the performance wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for, as least the UK finished on the left-hand-side of the scoreboard, and that deserves a round of applause, because the last person to that was Jade Ewen in Moscow, when she finished in 5th place!

However, the following year, the BBC, thinking ‘Oh, this comeback thing is actually really good for us!’, sent another artist that had their time in the spotlight; this time, in the shape of Engelbert Dincklehump Humperdinck. Engelbert was a major player in the early 70s and is said to got the sideburns in fashion before Elvis did (although this was and still has not been confirmed). From the moment he was picked to represent the UK in Azerjaban Aje Baku, he was one of the least favourites to win, or even do well! And that’s what kinda happened, with Engelbert coming in the penultimate position; a dismal placing for the UK. So this year, the UK had to kick it up a gear and pick someone who could bring them a brilliant placing. Bonnie Tyler is not the first person that comes to mind! The BBC has fallen into the ‘has-been rut’ and just cannot get out of it! Bonnie had the biggest hit in 1983 with ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, which is her most famous song. Like, ever! So, to make a comeback, what did she do? Good guess! She accumulated a huge fan gathering and they loved her! If only Europe felt the same way. She only finished in 19th place, though the staging of the song, like Engelbert’s was very basic.

Now, as much as people loved Bonnie, would the UK have done better if they sent someone more current; say, Jessie J? Most of the songs that were sent this year to Malmö were quite modern and ‘pop-ish’, with the occasional ballad thrown in (à la ‘Waterfall’, ‘Hold Me’, ‘An me thimase’ etc). So if the UK sent a pop artist like Jessie, the UK would have raised the stakes and would have been a proper competitor for the title. Jessie’s song, “Price Tag“, became a hit in many countries around the continent and it’s now one of her biggest hits. So was she to represent the UK at Eurovision; presumably, she would do well and maybe come in the bottom of the left-hand-side. If the UK sent another artist, Emili Sandé for example, she would stand out like a black sheep and would probably finish in the top 10; another possible top 10, missed out. Now that Eurovision 2014 is upon us, maybe the BBC will abandon the ‘has-been’ logic and select a current artist! But we’ll see once, or if, they confirm participation, which will be very likely.

Your views:

What do you think would have happened if the BBC didn’t send Bonnie Tyler and sent a more current artist?

Could the UK have fared better with a modern artist, in your opinion?
Could the UK have fared better with a modern artist, in your opinion?

Adrian Nalitch from Australia: They might have had someone sing in tune on the night. They might have had a decent song. They might have got more points. Or they could have sent a current artist with all the same problems and ended with another poor result.

Wim Vermeulen from the Netherlands: When I heard Bonnie sing her song in Germany, I already knew she would be on the right side of the scoreboard. I’m sure if a young fresh girl with a great voice sang that song, it would have reached the left side of the score board. The song and melody is great. 

Brandon McCann from Northern Ireland: I’d say there would of been a greater probability that UK would of done better in the ranking. The UK sent what is considered a “legend” and her image alone couldn’t stand for her vocal ability alongside a high quality song. I’d say even if the UK had sent an unknown yet talented singer (like Jade Ewan was) then UK would of had much more chance of success and I hope the UK wont repeat the same mistake that they’ve made sending Engelbert & unfortunately Bonnie as well.

Samantha Ross from the United States: Honestly, anything could have happened…current/young artists have flopped, just as veterans could potentially do well. It really depends just as much, if not more, on the song, performance, and presentation as the perceived “current-ness” of an artist.

It seems that fans have different opinions on what could have happened if Bonnie wasn’t at Eurovision. The point that Samantha made, for example, is very apt: the Babushki were of all ages and they finished in second place, so  age doesn’t hugely matter when it comes to Eurovision, but it would probably help to be young and modern. But what do you think? Should the BBC have picked a ‘modern’ artist, or wouldn’t it have made a difference if they did? Feel free to tell us what you think below!

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5 thoughts on “What if… the UK didn’t send a ‘has-been’?”

    1. Thanks a lot for your comment RL! 🙂

      Yes, the Babushki were quite fresh and they did something new, but their age could have affected the voters opinions of them. In recent times, very few acts that are quite old have made it onto the left-hand-side of the scoreboard. But like I said in the article, age doesn’t hugely matter in the competition, it’s the song that counts. But it would probably help if you were young.

  1. The thing is that i don’t think Jessie J will ever accept such invitation, because she’s already a very established singer Worldwide and goint to ESC will not make any sense to her, at least, not at the moment.

    1. Thanks for the comment João! 🙂

      Well that’s the thing with Eurovision in the UK. Like the Netherlands pre-Anouk, Eurovision now has a stigma attached to it and people think “oh it’s all political and even if we send someone big, we’ll still come last,” and I totally disagree with that. Eurovision is used as a platform to show your music to the entire world and I’m not sure why anyone would turn that down. Of course, I only used Jessie J as an example, but there are tons of other famous British artists that should go to Eurovision (more on that in our Possible Artists 2015 article for the UK)

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