For the first time since 2010, we got to choose our Eurovision entry. Yes, us, the public, the same people who sent Scooch and Josh Dubovie! So was the right act chosen? Did the format of the show work? Do we actually stand a chance of a decent finish this year? Well, allow me to offer my humble opinion on these matters.

To answer the first question, let’s remind ourselves what we had to choose from. First, there was Dulcima. The song was pleasant enough, had a good melody to it and all that. Sadly, the female singer’s voice was, for me, to divisive. Not enough people across Europe would love it enough to back the song, so this was a non-starter. Ditto, song 2 from Matthew James, which had a great final third, but a dull first two. It also felt very 90’s. I know Eurovision can sometimes reward the dated, but there is a limit.

Darline, up next, looked real contenders. They were sweet and tuneful, but the song lacked a hook, which is what probably cost them in the end. Miracle, by Karl William Lund, had the catchy hook in spades and was delivered on a vocal level quite well. It had been on the receiving end of a lot of smack talk on the forums, whilst also being a fanboy favourite. As a result I went into with a negative frame of mind, and if others did the same, it is easy to see why it lost votes.

Bianca had been a crowd favourite on the night. She certainly had the panel’s backing. The chorus was strong, and vocally she seemed the most accomplished. The whole performance looked very polished, although the reggae-tinged verses threw me slightly. Still, it looked a safe bet.

Finally, came Jake and Joe. Again, the hook felt quite instant, and the song as a whole was quite catchy. The certainly had the most energy on stage and came the closest to what could be described as charisma. It was probably this that saw them top the vote. There are several elements that need work though. Firstly, the one without the guitar (Joe, I think) needs to work a little on the dancing, as it looked a little manic at times. The verses seemed to dip a little too much, particularly the second one that followed a rousing chorus. Having said that, there is a great energy to them and the song, and a decent stylist and artistic director away from having a cogent production.

My early feeling is that they will come roughly the same place as Molly two years ago, depending on draw and what the remaining countries bring to the table. I still think Bianca and Karl had better songs and voices though. It would be interesting to see a full breakdown of the vote to see if it was a close run thing or a landslide.

As for the show itself, well, a bit like the winning song, some bits worked better than others. It was good to have last year’s winner perform, if only as a nod to the fact that we’re not bitter about doing so badly over the last few years. Mel Gidroyc was a great choice of host, although having someone who is so comedy orientated could have sent out the wrong message if a novelty act had been on the shortlist. The tribute to Terry Wogan was a nice touch as well.

I wasn’t keen on the panel though. I would like to have heard more about they would actually develop the songs, rather than have some bland Simon Cowell-esque critique, with the accompanied pantomime booing from the audience. Katrina seemed to not be used to her best potential, often asked for her own memories rather than actually being asked to give a real view. Other than the bigging-up of Bianca, there didn’t seem any content to what was said at all.

I think, going forward, the BBC should really invest in the selection process. Even if they just had a couple of semi-finals and then a final, the public would get a better chance to judge which songs bear a repeat listen, and it also gives the acts the chance to try out different staging to see what works. Still, let’s get this year out of the way with first, eh?

 

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