We have the fourth song of Eurovision 2017! Tonight, the British National Final – “Eurovision: You Decide” took place in the Hammersmith Apollo and Lucie Jones will represent the United Kingdom on May 13th with the song “Never Give Up on You”! Lucie beat off some stiff competition (no innuendo intended) from five other artists to win the ticket to Kyiv, but what do we make of the song?
Well, this is definitely a strong ballad to end all ballads! “Never Give Up On You” is a rea minimalist effort written by 2013 Eurovision winner Emmelie de Forest and it’s pretty clear that it has her stamp, as there’s a distinctive sound and style that screams “BAREFOOT SINGER!”. The song itself is pretty generic and a typical ‘Eurovision-by-numbers’ style, but delivered with a true sense of conviction and meaning by 25-year-old Jones. The studio version of this song doesn’t hold a candle to the emotion shown in the live version and I think it’ll be a very interesting song to look out for on the night in Ukraine in May. Staging for the song requires very little – in comparison to a song like Kerli in Eesti Laul; where Kerli requires a dance troupe and a really avant-garde persona, all Lucie needs is to stand on the stage and just sing, with a bit of emotional movement towards the big crescendo at the end. Good choice UK – you’ve redeemed a tiny bit of the fucked-upness you got yourself into back in June!
So what did we make of the final altogether? If you were on Twitter, we were doing our usual rolling commentary of the whole bumper-packed show. To spare you the trouble of searching for us again, here’s a summary of what went on in tonight’s show:
- The show was opened graciously by Mel Giedroyc who, in her trademark wit and general madness, was able to ease the audience into a fabulous performance from Alexander Rybak. I wonder if Rybak constantly brings those weird caber-throwing dancers with him, are they his entourage?
- Afterwards, we were introduced into the jury who would be guiding us through their own thought process after each song. Personally, the choice of the jury was abysmal; Bruno Tonioli is a dancer, not a singer and I think that his selection to take part was to show Europe that the BBC will support international people post-Brexit. Then, we had CeCe Sammy, who no one really knew, but we sure knew who she was by the end of the show. I think she was able to shout so loud that I could hear her from across the sea into Ireland. Like pleaaaase, no. Finally, there was Sophie Ellis-Bextor, who for all intents and purposes, served as head judge. She was the only one to take it seriously and to put up with people such as Bruno and CeCe; I take my hat off to thee, Miss Ellis-Bextor; you have more patience than I do.
- The performances soon started and first off the bat was Holly with “I Wish I Loved You More”. At this point, I should mention that my mother was watching the show with me and she started offering her opinions on each of the songs. We both agreed that Holly was a fantastic vocalist, but the structure of the song was rather off-putting – the strength of the chorus’ being brought down by the weakness of the verses. We just turned off towards the end of the track….yeah.
- Next up, we had Danyl Johnson, and I think it’s fair to say that we all were overjoyed to reminisce over the microphone fiasco that happened in Kyiv last time with Portugal’s act 2B. For some context, they practically attached the main vocalist’s microphone to a backing singer and vice versa; what ensued was a horribly good Portuguese entry to Eurovision live. The same thing happened in this situation, as a backing singer’s microphone was turned up, whereas Danyl’s was left down. Luckily the situation was resolved about 10 seconds later, but it was a cute thing to remember. As for the song itself…..it was alright, rather drab live in comparison to the studio…meh.
- After Danyl was the eventual winner of the show, Lucie. The performance was pretty minimal, which involves Jones herself stood in a velvet red dress singing her song and a result, her little heart out. It was getting rather dull up to a point, but then she let it out in the final chorus and delivered the song’s true message with clarity and conciseness – well done Lucie! Although her face was constantly like she was about to go to the toilet…or was that just me?
- Then we had the fan favourite “Freedom Hearts” by Olivia Garcia. Now, as a native English speaker, it really puzzled me as to what a ‘freedom heart’ was. (If you have any ideas what it may be, drop a comment below!) The performance was rather disconnecting, involving Garcia pretty much stomping her foot on the stage for three minutes with the addition of the Lidia Ganeva-esque flags in the second half of the song. Olivia delivered a strong vocal performance, but it really fell down as a result of staging. Sorry gurl, this proves that all components have to work!
- Next up we had Nate Simpson. I personally loved this song and the melody and least cheesy lyrics of the bunch. My mother, however, had other ideas and couldn’t help but switch off from the show at this point. Thus, I have no real notes for this. Sorry.
- Finally, we had Salena who really provided an upbeat end to the competing songs. We both agreed that this had the most potential as a Eurovision song, but my mother had a horrible point of contention with her – and I quote – “prostitute look”, to which I laughed and laughed. The song was fabulous and she was one of the best vocalists of the show, but perhaps it was the rather awkward choreography and the hooker look that let her down.
- With all the songs finished, voting was opened and it was lovely to see the BBC fill that time with a look back at some of the most impressive songs from Eurovision over the years to those of around 18-25 years. What really grated with me is that there were two major omissions from that VT: Molly Smitten-Downes and Jamala. With Molly, the BBC could have shown that the UK is capable of sending an artist that had a contemporary song with anthemic lyrics and a universal message, yet they probably left it out as a result of it’s sub-par placing. Jamala’s omission, on the other hand, left me speechless. This will probably contribute to the fact that Jamala’s victory will be lost to time in Western Europe – because the song was controversial and potentially political, they shouldn’t show the most recent winner. Bullshit . ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT. The fact that Jamala’s victory was not even mentioned proved to me that in the eyes of the BBC it was Australia who won in Stockholm, not Ukraine. Nice to see where your allegiances lay, BBC. Just saying….
- Once the lines had been closed, we were able to indulge in a glorious reprisal of ‘Love Love Peace Peace’, which will be forever enshrined in the fandom as the song that mocked the Contest but won universal support. Following that, we had a “presentation” as to why Australia is taking part in the Contest. If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know we covered this topic before, but the BBC decided it would be a good idea to get Danii Minogue on to talk about it…they never really answered the question, but meh – all in the name of entertainment, eh?
- Finally, before the results came out, Mel delivered what was possibly on of the best puns of all time involving a baby bird and Eurovision: You Decide. I couldn’t stop laughing once I heard it. In any event, the six acts were brought to the stage for the second year in a row, there was no transparency in the voting system; we were told Lucie was the winner and we had to accept it. Not calling you out BBC, but just saying – fans like it when they know how close it was between competing acts. But yes, Lucie shall now go on to represent the United Kingdom at the International Exhibition Centre in Kyiv on May 13th! Congratulations!
So will the song qualify? Well, as a member of the “Big 5”, the UK doesn’t need to qualify to the final so luckily Lucie has one less hurdle to jump to get that trophy in Kyiv. However, depending on the running order position this could go one of two ways – it could go fantastically and we could see the UK back in the Top 10 again; or it could go disastrously and we’ll be seeing Lucie plomped on 26th place once again. If all the components are focused on – staging, voice, choreography (if any), outfit – and if she goes on tour and promotes the song, we could see a high placing for the country! Let’s hope for the best anyway!
Anyway, that’s what we think – what do you think? Are you happy the UK will be represented by Lucie in Kyiv? Or do you wish someone else should have won? Be sure to let us know what you think by commenting below!