After finishing in last place two years in a row at Eurovision and being served with null points last year. The United Kingdom’s yearly “why do they hate us,” chat kicked up right on time. You’d think a community of folks who have Eurovision victories in four different decades and 5 total wins would appreciate that glory. Lest we forget the numerous Eurovision participating countries that have NEVER won. Instead, the same UK community of folks that mocks the contest turns around and is baffled about their recent history at the contest. #FixItJesus
The United Kingdom At Eurovision Myths
- They hate us because our government supported the Iraq war. We are experiencing a “post-Iraq backlash” FACT: Jemini was off-key.
- Even if we sent a professional performer they’d still give us null points.[source] FACT: You sent older professional singers serving adult contemporary tracks. It could be argued that these performers were “past their prime” and the contest is favoring more current genres of music delivered by fresh talent.
- We spend so much money and get nothing in return. It’s a “waste of the license fee” [source] FACT: The viewership alone makes it worth it. When it comes to the actual entries, The UK is outspent by other countries.
- It’s Brexit’s fault… [source] FACT: The Eurovision Song Contest is more competitive than ever.
As a fan of both “My Last Breath” and “Embers” I knew the onstage delivery— vocally and stylistically— would make it or break it. Eurovision 2020 was canceled but the staging plans looked promising so I was hopeful for the United Kingdom’s 2021 Eurovision Song Contest efforts. Instead, I was served with shaky vocals, 2 trumpets, and uninspired camera angles suited for a power ballad. The effort, in the end, felt sloppy. Was it deserving of null points? No. Am I surprised at the result? Not really.
The truth of the matter is, for the most part, in recent history: The UK is serving basic. The UK is serving safe. The Eurovision Song Contest has evolved and elevated. Prior fame isn’t a requirement— quality and authenticity are.
Since 2000 the UK has had two top-ten finishes. Blue just missed out on the top ten in 2011 with a respectful 11th placing. But the contest has evolved even since 2011, it’s undeniable that Loreen’s win in 2012 marked a shift where the quality all-around upgraded, and countries collectively began investing more money. Countries across the board began thinking holistically about what they should bring to the Eurovision stage. The UK is one of the countries that hasn’t been able to RESET since that shift.
In 2017, Lucie Jones was able to serve a placement of 15th off the strength of a powerful vocal and impactful staging. Lucie’s placing was fair— it wasn’t a winning song. The musical theater elements of “Never Give Up,” were reminiscent of a Eurovision of yesteryear. It wasn’t coming to win, it was coming to do fine. In a weaker year, it was able to do just that. I am willing to give The United Kingdom one exception/pass (of the “modern ESC era”). In 2014, Molly Smitten-Downes delivered the triumphant “Children of the Universe”. The song felt modern, the vocal was fresh and the styling interesting. It should have finished higher, but it was not winning.
If you aren’t coming to win, you will likely finish out of the top 10. This is the new Eurovision Song Contest reality. The bar is raised and The UK can’t just want to do fine. They have to want to WIN.
As someone who would love a UK comeback, I will start praying now because what other than prayer can fix the mindset that Eurovision is “[the] silliest singing competition in the world“? That’s a mindset that does not deserve points.
There is a strong group of UK Eurovision fans across the world who want to see their country back in the top ten and maybe even winning. They know how competitive the Eurovision Song Contest is. They don’t feed into the above myths. They could help the delegation out.
…But some prayers wouldn’t hurt.