So the big UK Eurovision reveal was last night and my thoughts on this year’s entry are, well, erm, I dunno. The reveal of Electro Velvet left me a little nonplussed. Twitter was naturally furious, but that’s pretty much the default response whatever we send. I’ve got plenty of good reasons to flit between love and hate, so taking inspiration from an old episode of Friends, I’m going to have to write a list of pros and cons. I just hope that Alex and Bianca don’t see it just as we’re about to get back together.
Pro – BBC have stepped out of their comfort zone
It’s such an unexpected approach for the BBC. I was all geared up to either hate the UK act for being a contrived ballad about world peace or love its contemporary pop sound, then they go and give us a genre act. There aren’t many of those currently on the plane to Vienna and I had been hoping someone would have picked something out of the generic pop mould. I wasn’t expecting us to be that country.
It also avoids the Eurovision cliche where a song is either about making the world a better place (Molly) or about winning Eurovision (Jade, Blue, Bonnie). It’s not called Shine either.
Con – It won’t be a hit
The flip side of it not being the credible pop song I was hoping for in my best case scenario is that I can’t see this getting big radio airplay or selling downloads by the electronic bucketload. That’s a shame, as it’s something the contest needs in the UK.
Pro – If someone else sent it, everyone would support it
Remember Muzzart? The electro swing act everyone loved in Belarus this year? Or !DelaDap the electro swing group everyone briefly went crazy over in the Austrian selection in 2012? My fear is that I’ve got BBC-goggles that cloud my judgement on this song.
Con – No one actually did send those songs
Pro – It’s identifiably British
I guess it’s more American than anything else, but if any European country were to send this sort of music, it ought to be us. This is the sort of era that Downton is currently set in and there’s probably a fair few people who think our upper classes still enjoy this sort of thing.
Con – Fat ankles
Pro – It should be easy to stage well
They’ll need a bunch of Charleston dancers, some of whom can double as backing singers. I’m hoping Alex and Bianca can Charleston too and there’s loads of instrumental parts to show it off. Throw in a bit where Alex dashes to the big mic to do his scat. It needs to be a bit crazy. The music video is a little on the tame and controlled side. If the singers aren’t a little out of breath at the end of their performance in the final, they’ve done it wrong.
Con – It’s quite cheesy
The music video doesn’t exhibit the cool aloofness that one might associate with this genre. !Deladap certainly had that. I don’t believe that Electro Velvet are part of any hip retro counterculture. This is more a Strictly Come Dancing interpretation of the Charleston than anything else. It doesn’t feel particularly authentic.
Pro – It has a very strong USP
It’s “the 1920s Charleston one”. It seems very unlikely that anyone else will send anything like it this year and it will be nigh on impossible to forget come the end of the night. Unlike some of our entries, this isn’t trying to please everyone. It will have it’s own target market and there will be some people who love it. Hopefully.
Con – It won’t win
This has absolutely no chance of bringing Eurovision back to Blighty. With a good staging, good camera angles, good vocals and a lucky draw, it might squeeze into the top half of the leaderboard. It certainly won’t give us any release from the normal post-show gripes about Europe hating us, everyone voting for each other and how it’s all political. In a few years time, a comedian called Russell will be inducting it into a Eurovision Hall of Shame and ask what on Earth we were thinking.
Pro – It’s a lot of fun
You can dance to it, you can tap your feet, you can smile. Isn’t that what Eurovision is all about? I can imagine my friends sitting around the tv at our Eurovision party enjoying it a lot; in the same way they loved Iceland last year and Greece the year before.
I’ve watched it a few times again this morning. I’ve decided I like it now. It’s not going to cure all of the UK’s Eurovision ills, but it’s unfair of me to expect it to. If I was the sort of person that made a regularly updated list of my favourite entries, Electro Velvet would probably make the top ten. I can’t complain about that.