As every year passes it seems the BBC is strengthening it’s National Final that little bit more. Yes, it’s true we’re a long way off Melodifestivalen in the United Kingdom but it does feel like we’re heading in the right direction. Today saw the reveal of the six artists and songs hoping to represent us in Lisbon this May. One of this group may even take the UK back to hallowed land of the left han…do you know what, I’m not even going to say it. Not yet. Here I’m going to offer my first impressions of our choices for this year’s ‘You Decide’
Firstly, we should start off with our battle of the boys. As with last year it seems the male soloists have been given the weaker of the options. Mid 2000s hunk Jeremy Edwards lookalike, Liam Tamne and the only name I recognised in the list, Jaz Ellington both seem unlikely to top the voting in Brighton in a fortnight’s time. To be fair to Jaz ‘You’ is a decent soulful song which he should perform well but it’s not the right choice to succeed at Eurovision. Liam’s ‘Astronaut’ is surely the weakest of the bunch. We never find out who finishes 2nd – 6th at You Decide but I’d be surprised if it did any better than 6th. Clunky lyrics and an unusual vocal style is not a combination that can succeed. Plus, if anyone ever says Eurovision and Astronaut to me now, I just think of this chap.
By the time we woke this morning fans had already discovered SuRie’s original ‘Storm’ on YouTube released before September 1st. Thankfully though to avoid any kind of drama (*cough* Belarus *cough*) it’s had a significant enough revamp to avoid too much scrutiny. A passable track that is a good three minute listen if not a tad forgettable, would feel at home as the backing track to a Thomas Cook advert.
Our only band in the selection, Goldstone, feels a little like their trying to replicate the success of Little Mix with ‘Feel The Love’. This is, of course, no bad thing. Eurovision in general should be replicating what’s currently in the chart if it wants to continue thriving. It’s a decent pop track, catchy enough to stand out in a line up of 6, but maybe not 26.
Now onto one of only two songs that I think can actually challenge for the ticket to Lisbon. ‘Crazy’ from Raya has enough of a hook in there to do well in a voting recap. It feels modern without feeling particularly fresh though. It’s co-written by everyone’s favourite injustice of 2016, Greta Salome to boot! If this qualified it may serve as some scant redemption for Stockholm. A very strong live performance paired with some decent visuals may see this come close to the top.
That’s brings me nicely onto the obvious winner, ‘Legends’ from Asanda. From the moment I first heard this I knew whatever came after would have to be pretty special to displace it at the top of my list. Nothing did. For me, Legends has hit written all over it and whilst obviously not deluded enough to think it could win it stands a good chance of building upon last year’s solid result. On a more cautionary note my favourite song from last year was also sung by a 16-year-old and that failed after a slightly flat live performance. To be fair we’ve had some of the youngest competitors nail it in recent years so that doesn’t have to be a factor. Shout out to Nadav & Ilinca! Don’t screw up the visuals, let the song shine through and we should do well come May. One. Drumkit. Maximum.
What has to commended when looking at these six choices is the variety of genre. Again, it’s hardly Depi Evratesil level of diversity but it’s certainly a step up from the past two years. Purely from a fan perspective it’s also much better to be hearing the songs a whole two weeks before we head to Brighton rather than just a few days before. When you also include the participation of modern Eurovision royalty Måns Zelmerlöw and Edward af Sillën it does feel like progress is being made. So (Insert UK city here) 2019 still feels like a distant dream but considering we had Electro Velvet only three years ago it does feel like we’ve already come a long way. A very long way.