Eurovision 2015: UK’s electro gamble!

Electro Velvet will fly the flag for the UK in May.

Electro Velvet will fly the flag for the UK in May.

Every year expectation builds in certain circles – what will it be? Which well known name might possibly have a gap in their schedule that might enable them to make *that* journey – and every year people are disappointed. The United Kingdom and the Eurovision Song Contest – the relationship people love to hate. We select a well known act and because they are a face from yesteryear people react with disdain – could we not have got someone more recent? We select a song that’s a ballad and people react with similar feelings – shouldn’t we send something more upbeat and modern? We select an unknown artist and criticism is still found.

The UK has had up to a point a distinguished record in Eurovision. 5 wins and 15 second places, though admittedly the last one of those was in 1998. Our efforts in Eurovision have been over recent years what one might describe as patchy. Of course, the UK public haven’t been trusted to select an entry since 2008 but given this is the same public that selected Jemini over Emily Reed (2003), Scooch over Cyndi (2007) can you blame the BBC for an internal selection – when it comes to Eurovision we always select the entries we think Eurovision should like, except our view is at least thirty years out of date.
So since 2009, in BBC we trust. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s reputation got us to 5th in 2009, Blue reached 11th in 2011. Last year saw high hopes with Molly’s ‘Children of the Universe’ but it only came 17th – though notably that was higher than platings received in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Now we come to this year’s entry ‘Still in Love With You’ by Electro Velvet… And it’s a controversial one.
Let’s set the record straight here – something like Uptown Funk was never going to fall into the BBC’s laps. Anthemic is out and quite frankly this year’s contest is full of enough ballads as it is. Given the negative reaction from the press and public you would think our entry was the end of British music. It’s not. The UK has struggled to have an entry that stands out for years – if we have ethnobeat were accused of copying, if we use someone famous we can only get those trading on past successes – no one massively famous in the worldwide business that is UK Music wants to trade their reputation on it. So we have Electro-Velvet’s electro-swing offering and I like it.
This is an entry that stands out. This is an entry that is catchy and also quite frankly this is an entry that gets talked about as it has proved quite successfully since it was launched Saturday evening (7th March). It is in my mind, to all extents and purposes, a stroke of genius. People that haven’t heard it will want to hear it because everyone is talking about it so it should generate exposure. The tune is upbeat and could quite easily have a good dance that goes along with it – another hook.
Now people will start saying what about the fact you’re only allowed six people on the stage at one time? You can’t do a dance with just them! The response here is obvious. Eurovision has backgrounds these days – has it occurred that like Conchita’s rising Phoenix last year that our background this year is going to be a dance that Europe can jive to? Eurovision is not just about a song anymore. With apologies to Latvia, but their victory 13 years ago was more to do with their dance routine than the song – and as for Russia in 2008 well they had to get a champion ice skater on board to secure themselves victory.
The long and short of this is that our Eurovision entry is more than just a song. We’ve got a cracking memorable, original track this year that I think could do well purely because this year we’ve decided to stand out and be counted not blend into the background. Show some pride and support Electro-Velvet in May and I think the result, whilst not being top of the board, might surprise some of the haters and doubters into an embarrassing silence come June.
And if you haven’t heard it yet….