Eurovision 2014: Should the UK be Smitten with ‘Children of the Universe’?

On Monday the UK revealed the end product of a radical new strategy for Eurovision. Following three years of disappointment with formerly-famous acts in the shape of Bonnie Tyler, Engelbert Humperdinck and Blue, this year the Beeb have gone for fresh, credible, unknown talent: Molly Smitten-Downes, with a song she had specially written for the contest, ‘Children of the Universe’. The live version can be viewed here, and the studio track can be found here.

As ever, the insightful community of Sofabet commenters got straight on the case to analyse the UK’s chances. The general consensus, represented by Panos, Annie and Curtis, was COTU is a respectable effort that will be rewarded by a respectable placing, with juries in particular likely to approve.

The two outliers are eurovicious, who thinks a win is possible, and AlexanderS, who is more dismissive. Interestingly, both these views were informed by a general sense that this is an effort that, almost rather cynically, ticks a lot of Eurovision boxes.

What do I think?

I’m broadly in agreement with that consensus view. “Solid jury fodder,” was my three-word text to friends after first listening. There were some ups and downs in that live performance. It didn’t start promisingly, as I struggled to get the hang of Molly’s diction, but as the strings came in, it built very promisingly towards the chorus.

The chorus itself didn’t quite have the oomph I was hoping for, and a strong middle eight only reiterated that. But after the opening, Molly delivered a confident live performance, and the overall impression was of a radio-friendly, middle-of-the-road package that juries have tended to favour of late. One only has to think of the love they gave to Denmark, Sweden and Austria last year.

I can see where eurovicious and AlexanderS were coming from in terms of finding COTU very Eurovision-y. There is of course its title and “Power to the People!” refrain. Were Molly not merely six at the time, I would suspect her of looking to our 1994 effort, ‘We Will Be Free‘, sung by Frances Ruffelle, for inspiration. It remains my favourite ever UK Eurovision entry, but it was 20 years ago.

Still, it’s been a case of the 90’s coming back in Eurovision terms over the last few years, with tousled-haired bohemian young women getting all cosmic on us, reflecting more general trends in the charts (funnily enough, one of the names mentioned in this regard by eurovicious, Eliza Doolittle, is Ruffelle’s daughter).

Talking of eurovicious, I can’t hope to match his description of the general type – with 2010 winner Lena as “the benchmark for privileged, entitled, oh-so-quirky manic pixie dream girls in Eurovision who think they’re the shit”. Molly does have, in particular, a touch of last year’s winner Emmelie de Forest about her.

What’s to stop COTU following in the footsteps of Emmelie’s winning entry last year, ‘Only Teardrops’? My initial hunch is that whilst the chorus of COTU is as insistent as that of last year’s Danish number, it isn’t as strong, and COTU isn’t as coherent a song as a whole.

With hindsight, the way ‘Only Teardrops’ was staged was also incredibly effective. Most obviously, it had the winner’s golden effects of ticker-tape cannons and curtains of fire. But it also involved plenty of movement, with pixie dream girl manically looking at tin-whistle boy, who ended up helping out drummer guy in their Les Miserables get-up, as if the teardrops were being spilled on the barricades.

Whilst Molly came across an enganging performer, the staging for COTU looks likely to lack that kind of drama and be far more static around her. It’s hard to know how to create a greater sense of interaction between the disparate elements on stage, but it would help considerably.

Some inspiration in this regard and a good draw could help COTU rise stealthily up the left-hand side of the scoreboard, which is where I imagine it will end up. I don’t feel confident about being more specific until the rest of the entries are known and rehearsals put everything in greater context.

How do you count yourself in relation to ‘Children of the Universe’? Let us know your thoughts below.

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34 comments to Eurovision 2014: Should the UK be Smitten with ‘Children of the Universe’?

  • Hey Daniel, thank you for the article. I am glad we have a similiar opinion, but most of all that we have the same all time favorite UK entry!! What happened in 1994?? After all these years I still cannot swallow that 10th place!! Only consolation was Poland’s 2nd place. Anyway, I hope the BBC reads your article to get the hint re staging, it would be a shame to fall at the last hurdle in a year where so much genuine, in-the-right-direction effort has been placed.

    • Daniel

      Hi Panos, I remember being considerably annoyed in 1994, though back then, I didn’t watch Eurovision in the analytical way I do now. Still, looking back on the songs it was beaten by, I still can’t explain it!

    • eurovicious

      1994 is infamous for being almost entirely ballads, so the UK entry, like most, didn’t stand out enough. One of the few upbeat songs (Germany’s Mekado) managed to come 3rd despite being shite. Best from 1994 IMO is Hungary which came a deserved 4th. The Russian entry is a classic too.

  • tpfkar

    Hi. I’m unlikely to have much time to follow Eurovision this year as I’ve a tough re-election fight on my hands in May but I thought I’d drop by.

    This feels to me the best UK entry since Blue. Competent, box-ticking, good big idea, jury friendly indeed. But it’s a bit pedestrian, the chorus isn’t as strong as it could be, and it doesn’t build to a big finish. Will this get Europe reaching for the phones en masse? Get the staging right we’ll be looking at top half, otherwise something like 15th or so?

    The Polish entry is the only one so far I wanted to hear a second time straight away, although Hungary’s is powerful.

  • If nobody minds, I’ll cut and paste my analysis here from another site. Big read incoming…
    ———
    Okay, now that the dust has settled a little bit, I will try my best to articulate my thoughts, but please do take them with a pinch of salt because (naturally) I find it difficult to be completely objective with this one, but rest assured I am trying my best anyway.

    I have seen people, not just punters either, talking about the structure of this song. Particularly the transition from verse to chorus. The thoughts that I have noted down were made after the very first listen on BBC’s live broadcast, because I really value that immediate judgement as it’s going to get me closer to the audience perception in May rather than basing all my theories solely on months of listening and analysing. I’m not going to take too much issue with the structure of this song, because although there is a chance of a few tweaks here and there, I expect the song to stay largely the same come May. The BBC usually do not unveil a demo to the public – only in 2009 and 2010 have they done so, and this was inevitable due to the selection format. I feel like I should be taking the song at face value rather than talk about all the little adjustments I’d like to make.

    I will concede that during the first verse, I did find it a little bit hard to grasp exactly where the song was going, but I now believe its fluctuation between the dramatic verses, the orchestral bridge and the electro-pop (with a hint of drum n bass) chorus works to the song’s advantage. As Shell said, some people may find it jarring on close, attentive listen, and that’s up to them. The way I see it, it’s like that old line “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” If a TV commercial gets on your nerves to the point where you talk about it to others, it has done its job. Not because it’s annoyed you, but because it’s got into your head. I believe that sort of holds true here too. The song is memorable, for better or worse, and something like transition from verse to chorus is relatively trivial. If it simply did not work as a piece of music, I have faith that Molly and her professional Swedish producer would have known and done something about it, so I think it’s a matter of taste.

    Let’s also keep in mind that Molly is new to Eurovision. She hasn’t really engaged with the contest in recent years, hasn’t got much previous awareness of it, so she doesn’t really have a clear idea in her mind of the sort of Eurovision songs that we as punters and as fans are used to. Pretty much anything by Thomas G:Son, most stereotypically. Gav’s suggestion of making a few cliché adjustments to the song justifies this in my mind. You can be wise enough to acknowledge that the proposals are cliché, but nevertheless, I believe that implementing such changes to “bring it in line” with Eurovision more, would ruin Molly’s entirely fresh approach to writing specifically for the contest. Her first attempt, as a complete outsider, but still as a professional and capable singer-songwriter, I really think she’s done a great job. She’s written a song that would stand up all on its own, and like Poland’s “Slavic Girls”, or indeed Margaret Berger’s “I Feed You My Love” – “Children of the Universe” is one of those songs that is going to push the boundaries of what is expected and/or can be tolerated in the Eurovision Song Contest. So, to try and measure this song up against songs as structurally trite as Russia’s “What If” or indeed Denmark’s “New Tomorrow” is kind of pointless, isn’t it?

    Anyway, let’s not forget that a jarring, messy structure with clumsy staging didn’t stop Zlata Ognevich last year. Ultimately, it will come down to the first impression, and I think that’s going to be one of an uplifting, anthemic song with contrasting dramatic interludes. One thing that’s even more of a sign that Molly has done a good job is the comparison between the live performance on Monday and the studio version. It’s actually better live!

    As I said, objectivity is not easy for me on this one, because it’s my country, it’s potentially revolutionary, of course I’m excited about it, but I don’t want to be blindly defensive of the song in a patriotic attempt to throw you all off the scent. I am being as honest as I can about what I think of the song. Having read the general consensus amongst other knowledgeable people though, I am going to keep my expectations erring on the side of caution. I think the UK’s placing depends on similar factors to Ireland’s Kasey Smith. Namely, Molly needs a bit of coaching with her stage presence and especially playing to the cameras. She appeared quite disconnected on Monday. She could also do with a little work on her diction, especially in the verses where it is difficult even for native English speakers to understand her. It’s a bit Diana Vickers. Other visual aspects such as lighting, stage backdrop (if any) and perhaps crucially – running order, will play a big part.

    Ultimately, I think we have here a song which, for better or worse, grabs your attention right at the beginning, even if some people don’t like the chanting. If Molly can engage the audience in the first verse with some good close up shots as she interacts and emotes the lyrics right down the camera, rather than appearing vulnerable with both hands wrapped over the top of the mic stand to the point where we can barely see her mouth, this takes us through to a quieter bridge which brings things down at a good point before the verse comes off too esoteric, or worse – boring, and then builds anticipation for an uplifting, anthemic and catchy chorus which bursts into life and introduced a hook that one can easily hum after one hearing. This is all there is to the song. This structure just loops, and I think it flows rather nicely as a quality piece of songwriting. After all, what is a song that just sounds the same for 3 minutes and can’t find any other way to make itself interesting than a key change? Isn’t that part of the reason many people don’t regard Eurovision highly?

    I’m a little more optimistic about Molly’s potential than to say between 5th and 10th place. I believe it’s a very cautious and realistic prediction, but this is not a year for the history books so far. So… it does depend on what the rest of the countries pick, and whether there’s a sense that Carl Espen’s Silent Storm can beat Molly? I’m particularly interested in the Dutch entry as I think that’s going to be potentially Molly’s biggest competition in terms of quality songwriting and assured performance.

    If the other half of this year’s competition don’t come up with something that creates a consensus on this site and over at places like Sofabet of being worthy of the glass microphone trophy, then we may have a serious contender here, even if by default, as was seemingly the case with Emmelie de Forest.

    I’ve always been going on the theory that the songs closest to what would be radio-friendly, chart-worthy songs in Europe do the best. This is why I was firmly on Team Cascada last year, because the song was in another league in terms of production quality and commercial relevance, and I believed the juries would support it because of the reliable vocal. What I’ve learned from Cascada’s failure is that generic dance tracks don’t work, and the winner won’t be just any old stuff that works in the charts, it has to have a certain pedigree of quality, a level of personality and identity. Anyway, I digress. I stand by this radio-friendly, chart worthy theory, and I have to offer this insight to you all…

    Eurovision is a competition known for a certain type of music in the casual viewing public – but even they aren’t always aware how many of the songs have a Swede on the writing team, let alone how many songs –just one man– has in a grand final each year. With all the songwriting talent in the world, why is it always the same names and song structures that keep coming up? Because its a tried and tested formula?

    Some of these songs connect with the wider public, like Euphoria, In A Moment Like This and Popular, while plenty of others flop. If you would humour me for a second and imagine “the Eurovision bubble” and all the people, both fans and songwriters, inside of it, then a lot of songs that have finished in the top 5 at ESC in recent years could be seen as successful attempts by those inside the bubble to come up with a song that actually could stand up outside the contest. A meeting between the tastes of the superfans and the wider public, if you will. I believe Emmelie de Forest is one such case, if we’re talking only about winners.

    But what happens when the fan bubble, so to speak, is not even part of the equation? What happens when singers and songwriters approach the contest from the outside, with a background of writing for the wider public, or for the sake of their own artistry, instead of being accustomed to the tastes of the bubble and writing specifically with Eurovision (and nothing else) in mind… and, crucially, do a good job of it? What happens then?

    This happens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOWh9FM7H6s

    So, my question to you all is… Molly is a complete outsider who has written a song for the sake of her own artistry (she has made that clear in interviews) but at the same time, is approaching Eurovision. She has no idea who Thomas G:Son is, or what schlager is. This is what she’s come up with.

    Which country’s song is going to connect with the wider public more than hers? A question to be answered when we have 37 of them.

    • eurovicious

      Yes, please do cut-and-paste this Ben, it’s absolutely outstanding – exhaustively comprehensive and superbly written, and I I literally agree with everything.

    • AlexanderS

      Ben Gray: “But what happens when the fan bubble, so to speak, is not even part of the equation? What happens when singers and songwriters approach the contest from the outside, with a background of writing for the wider public, or for the sake of their own artistry, instead of being accustomed to the tastes of the bubble and writing specifically with Eurovision (and nothing else) in mind… and, crucially, do a good job of it? What happens then?”

      Slovakia 2012 happens, Ben. Or Czech Republic 2009. We definitely shouldn’t mislead ourselves into thinking that successful (in their field and region) artists from outside the “bubble” will score well inside the bubble too. Sadly Eurovision is still much more closed and formulatic than many fans would want to believe. It’s definitely improving recently, but still not quite there.

  • eurovicious

    Wow, you namedropped me 4 times. Gonna go and have a massive wank now.

    Back. I think the perspective I’m coming from with regard to my belief that it’ll win (and, dear readers, you should know if you don’t already that I’m anything but patriotic towards the UK and normally don’t pay their entries much interest) is to do with the difference between the type of music played on Radio 1/Capital etc in the UK and the type played on Western pop stations in continental Europe. In short, things are a lot more middle of the road out here. Half the stuff played on Radio 1 is too edgy and half the stuff played on Capital too dancy or urban for continental “hot rotation” stations like SWR3, Germany’s most-listened-to radio station. Germans love James Blunt and Coldplay and are baffled if they learn that in the UK a lot of people see them as uncool and have done for a decade – here, they’re the peak of sincerity, coolness and credibility. Robbie Williams was huge in the UK a decade ago, but he stayed a lot bigger a lot longer out here, we’ve almost adopted him. Robbie’s de facto successor Olly Murs? In the UK, he’s big – in Europe, he’s HUGE. And while Mel C’s solo career fizzled in the UK after her Northern Star phase, in Germany and continental Europe (because the German music market affects neighbouring ones) she went from strength to strength and was having massive singles and regular TV appearances as late as 2004-5. Seal was also much bigger out here and some of his best known singles, massive sellers in central Europe, were never even released in the UK. Adele and Duffy are/were huge out here but never Paloma Faith (too weird). In other words, there’s a very specific type of “safe”, accessible yet credible British pop that blossoms on the continent due to its low entry barrier – non-threatening with simple, emotive themes, simple English, friendly yet interesting singers (who seem like real people not products), not too fast or slow, not too dancy or rocky or aggressive, just “nice”. Meanwhile, anything from the dancier, camper or grittier end of UK music simply isn’t present or known here – no Girls Aloud, no Arctic Monkeys, no Dizzie Rascal, just the easily digestible middle-of-the-road fare, pleasant music to feel slightly sad to in a very middle-class way. That’s the difference between what “British pop” means in continental Europe vs. its broader, naturally much more diverse meaning in the UK.

    The staging is important and it probably does need to have some sort of shit going on – apart from Satellite, all recent winners have – so that’s still missing at the moment. One missing area actually is an emotional narrative – in Fairytale this was provided by the dancers and backing singers, in Euphoria by the dancing (from alone in a storm to uniting with a kindred spirit, thereby finding liberation), in Only Teardrops by the interaction with the dudes and the pyro blowout, and in Running Scared similarly by the choreo/interaction and spark curtain. COTU in its present form doesn’t have a visual story like this. Unlike the past 5 winners, it also doesn’t reassuringly reaffirm a heteronormative narrative in any way, in fact the whole ljubav field is missing. Rybak sang about ljubav and specifically about “a girl” (“look, young female voters, I have floppy hair and I like girls!”), Lena sang about ljubav and her knickers (“look, middle-aged ephebophile dads, I’m totally cool with you fantasising over me – imagine me in my new underwear, they blue!”), Emmelie sang about ljubav and flirted with romanticised military types, Ell/Nikki sang about ljubav and unconvincingly flirted with each other (she being a married mother of two and he being the campest Caucasian since this guy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaydarbek_Gaydarbekov)… only Euphoria didn’t have an explicit love theme, although the lyrics can certainly be interpreted as being about the joy of finding love and leaving behind isolation, an interpretation strongly suggested by the choreo of her flailing around in a hurricane for two-and-a-half minutes before being rescued by a big bloke. Can the manic pixie dream girl exist without a guy, either implicit in the lyrics or present on stage? The only part of COTU that touches on love is the middle-eight (“We shine like diamonds with love in our hearts / We say it’s the end, but I have a feeling it might just be the start”) and the pre-chorus (“Standing beside you, I have the feeling that I’ll never walk alone”), so this is when they need to wheel out the Theoretical Heterosexual Love Interest on stage if they wanna tap into this. We’ve had tin whistles, drums and dancers, I suggest a dapper young fellow playing the spoons.

  • Justin

    I was struggling with this one but I think Daniel has summed up what I was trying to think pretty well.

    To me the song seems to build remarkably promisingly the high point being when Mollie sings with the harp and then strings. It goes downhill from there with the chorus and the overpowering rather aggressive backing singers hijacking the whole thing – suddenly the family-friendly Emelie de Forest style is replaced by something much tougher edging more in the direction rock chick.

    My other concern is that after listening to the song a couple of times I still couldn’t hum or sing it to myself. I’m not sure the hook is strong enough to make it memorable…. It’s just a bit too confusing and messy (or ‘complex’) for the one-off listener.

    So basically I’m agreeing with the majority here – should do far better with juries than televoters. I also agree that if the staging were radically altered so that it’s used to narrate the story and involve some movement etc. it would give the whole thing a televote, and probably jury, boost.

    Still, it’s good to be judging a uk entry in terms of serious top 10 contender for a change.

  • AlexanderS

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, Daniel, I’m not dismissing the UK entry. I find it quite nice, and as it stands right now, definitely a Top 5 place. But I strongly believe that a victory would mean overrating it, just like Dina Garipova or Zlata Ognevich winning would have been a tad too much. I simply can’t help thinking that if “Children of the Universe” had been the final result of a long-running Nordic selection, the omnipotent fan community would have been rather disappointed, probably to the point of not paying too much attention to the song until May. We have different expectations and criteria for different countries, but admittedly so do the juries and many televoters.
    After all, what seems to be decisive in the end is the “general consensus” (a scary phrase used several times on this page), and this is the key to answering Ben Grey’s question (“who can beat it?”) from the other thread – the paratext is just as important as the text.

    • eurovicious

      Au contraire, I think if it had come out of MGP, DMGP or MF – those oh-so-western selections that so rarely crown songs with any kind of quirks as the winner – it’d be an even bigger fan-fap than it already is.

      It’s not comparable with Russia or Ukraine last year either, it’s far more contemporary and relevant and has a lot more chops, not to mention a more dynamic, ready-made-pop-star singer.

      I’d avoid fan consensus because fans are completely unrepresentative of voters and juries. Think outside the box. Fan consensus last year, literally across the board, was that Romania was terrible and definitely wouldn’t qualify – if I recall, it was bottom or near-bottom of the press centre vote for SF2 and bottom of my country’s OGAE vote for the contest. It won the semi televote and has more hits than any other ESC 2013 on Youtube. Meanwhile San Marino was incredibly overvalued in the market because for whatever reason (I still don’t completely fathom this), the gayz decided that now Monetta had been given a passable song, she was no longer a beyond-cringeworthy novelty act but their new underdog champion and personal cult celebrity.

      One of Daniel’s main betting strategies for ESC is to lay the fanwank, and I take the counterpoint approach to this – my biggest betting tip would have to be “find the anti-fanwank” and back it (at least to qualify), whether it be Albania in 2012 or Romania and Lithuania in 2013. Part of it’s to do with differences in expectations – the fan community today seems to expect/look for credibility in entries, hence the dislike and outright revulsion to (among others) Cezar, Pirates Of The Sea, We Are The Winners, Weil der Mensch zählt and Moldova’s Run Away (all of which I loved to bits) and the disproportionate love for songs like Is It True? (beige to the power of beige – Martin Jarvis in song form) and I Feed You My Ljubav. They long for Eurovision (and by extension, themselves) to be taken seriously – along the lines of “Look at this really credible song, it’s exactly like one you could hear on the radio – you’d never know it was from Eurovision!” (Consider the validation fans felt when Loreen charted in the UK.) Whereas regular folks approach Eurovision looking for the exact opposite – the wacky entertaining stuff that they wouldn’t normally encounter anywhere else or hear on the radio, the eccentric stuff that’s Eurovision’s USP, what makes it different to any other music show and the reason we have Eurovision parties. (This same longing for ESC to be credible is also why some of the fanboys have taken against Conchita.)

      • AlexanderS

        I don’t agree with many points presented here, but especially with the last one. Though it’s partially true that some Eurovision viewers still can’t get rid of the wacky eccentric stereotypes for the contest, they are 1) not a voting majority anymore; and 2) they’ve always come from Western, not Eastern countries. In many Eastern countries the population has no idea whatsoever that Eurovision is considered a gay thing.
        Anyway, if your theory was entirely correct, we would have gotten Lithuania as a winner in 2010 instead of Lena. I believe the key is hidden elsewhere. The folks with the wacky perception are now a minority among the voters. The majority consists of fans and especially teens. And those teens, being actually quite young people, have no knowledge about Guildo Horn or even Verka Serduchka, let alone appreciation for them. With them (and with EBU’s efforts, because they wanted to bring the kids in most of all) the contest is bound to become a bit more serious and true to actual music. In fact, the main audience we should take into consideration when judging the chances of the entries is (besides fans, of course) the teen audience. It’s absolutely not a coincidence that Rybak, Lena and Saade won the televoting. For good or bad Eurovision is now a young people’s thing.

  • Chris Bellis

    I’ve listened to this one over and over and I don’t see it. I’m just wondering where it will come in the actual competition. Not in the first five, for sure. Now I’m looking for value bets to take that into account. Personally I don’t rate it at all. Zero originality, but no hook either. Plus a dreary tick box lyric. The “children on the edge of time” theme has me nearly wanting to vomit. (I know this is Eurovision so that is not necessarily a bad thing.) I hate it.

    • eurovicious

      The chorus and “power to the people” are both hooks. I’ve only listened to the song twice – during the live reveal, then once again later that evening – and I’m not going to listen to it again, but 3 days later I can still remember both of those hooks exactly. “Children On The Edge Of Time” is a series 4 episode of Blake’s 7.

  • Ben Cook

    I think Daniel, Ben Gray and eurovicious have pretty much said it all here.

    Apart from the slight clunkiness of the verses, it’s a very well-structured song, which makes full use of the three minutes. For me, the excellent middle-eight is the real money moment.

    I saw someone say “mid-tempo = mid-table”, which I found baffling, since last year’s top 3 were all mid-tempo, and this song sounds like exactly the sort of thing that does well at Eurovision in the 2010s.

    It *could* win, but like Daniel says, it’s going to come down to the staging. She and the backing singers have the vocals nailed. They now need to work on camerawork, her movement, facial expressions etc and just get everything perfect visually. She’s already said in a Radio 2 interview that they’re limited with what they can do because they can only have six people on stage and the song needs several backing singers.

    Ultimately if it doesn’t look as impressive as Denmark’s 2013 entry it probably won’t go all the way, but I think we ought to be fairly confident of a top 10 finish this year. Yet however well we do the public will probably still moan about it being political!

  • Daniel

    Well, disagreements over the UK entry have at least kick- started the Top 10 market on Betfair. Back at 2.0 or lay at 2.3, some are clearly getting involved.

    • chewy wesker

      my opinion of Molly is a “posh middle class M&S loving just off the apprentice, that knows she’s the shit” type girl. So she’s up my street. However I feel that I don’t warm to her, even with her above average attempt at this UK entry. A win for the UK is out of the question and I think I’d have to be on the lay side of that topten bet Daniel.
      I’m very impressed with Israel and “same heart” believe they can QF this year, and Azerbaijan “hometown glory” is just staged to perfection. Looking forward to review of it and what commentators think.

      • eurovicious

        Dilara did indeed do a very good job of Hometown Glory in Boyuk Sehne but the new song she performed in the final (“Impossible”) isn’t her entry. I supported Hana Hasanova, who came 2nd, as usual (it’s her 4th time in their NF, and Dilara’s 3rd) but Dilara was the right choice, Hana is fab but slightly less reliable and more prone to nerves and control issues whereas Dilara is totally reliable and solid, vocals and performance always on point.

        I wasn’t aware people until 55 shopped at M&S…

        • chewy wesker

          M&S food hall…….. mind you her sweater and Leggins are on offer two for one.. in H&M along with Beckhams boxers;-)

          • eurovicious

            Yes, I can quite picture her self-checkouting a Wensleydale and carrot chutney sandwich and a vanilla bean and maple syrup smoothie…

          • She has said in one interview that she was working in Topshop 2 weeks ago and now she’s doing all this, so don’t pretend like she’s a modern day darling of Downton Abbey or whatever. Besides, nothing wrong with a having expensive taste. I admit to it myself!

  • george

    is this years eurovision before or after the european elections, any one know?

  • george

    googling is quicker but takes more mental effort.

    anyway.. euro elections are may 22nd

    any chance The bbc which is rabidly pro europe puts a big effort into molly to try and generate good will to europe among gbp and dampen ukip vote.

    any chance word goes out to juries to be nice to uk for same reason.

    i’m imagining Merkel as Blofeld in underground lair inside volcano and Farage as Bond.

    • eurovicious

      If the BBC’s so rapidly pro-Europe, why does it constantly invite Nigel Farage to appear on so many different TV and radio shows when his party has not a single Commons MP, only 1% local council representation and around one-eighth of UK MEPs? Why does it make and broadcast shows that demonise eastern European immigrants and scaremonger, like the one on BBC1 before Christmas with Matt Allwright? Farage and his underlings (the thuggy scouse one and the woman one) are on Question Time more often than I hoover.

      The idea the BBC would try to win Eurovision to generate goodwill towards Europe in advance of the European elections (which no-one votes in anyway) is so ridiculous I almost needn’t bother giving it the credence of a reaction, but trust me, the BBC is a huge organisation, and the head of delegation for Eurovision (who took the helm this year – a different guy did 2012-2013, and before that another different guy did 2008-2011) has set out the reasons for the new approach very clearly in his blog post. It’s similar in intention to Germany’s reboot in 2010. I have in the past met several people on the BBC production team behind UK entries and they’re the standard bunch of light entertainment types who, when they’re not doing Eurovision, spend the rest of the year working on things like the National Lottery gameshow and Strictly. They’re not intellectual heavyweights.

      In any case, British europhobia is built on a reactionary sense of superiority to continental Europe which an ESC victory would merely reaffirm, so wouldn’t result in any meaningful pro-European feeling.

      Your imagining of Merkel “inside [a] volcano” is oddly apt given that’s pretty much what British carpet-bombing turned Berlin into – and over 50 other major German cities – around 70 years ago. Good day.

      • george

        i’m not interested in debating politics here ev, no need for a hissy fit.

        i am interested in whether there could be a political angle to eurovision scoring – maybe your right and the idea is dumb?

        also don’t assume that because I make a joke about an undeniable physical resemblance between merkel and blofeld i don’t think the targeting of german civilians by the british and american war machine wasn’t deeply wrong. but why stop there what about the 3+ million asians killed by the americans during vietnam or the millions of africans killed in proxy wars between usa and usssr.

        doesn’t make merkel a good guy or farage a bad guy.

        if spitting image were around today merkel as blofeld and farage as bond would be good comedy and both would be ridiculous.

  • Rather than copy and paste I’d like to invite you to read my analysis at my blog: http://djjamesmartin.wordpress.com

  • Henry VIII

    COTU has got to be the best UK chance of a good score in years. Better than the oldies and Blue imo. It’s good for the markets if it does well, and hopefully will provide useful feedback to the BBC.

    I hate the dated and corny lyrics btw but with all the nonsense being spouted about Ukraine atm they’ll probably go down well with the viewers.

    (Ukraine politically, not their ESC entry).

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