Tonight at 19:30 GMT on the BBC Red Button service, the Beeb will officially announce its Eurovision 2014 contestant. For months rumours have swirled about Geri Halliwell, Little Boots, and Rylan Clark, among others. The program will put all of that drama to bed—and hopefully unite fans behind a credible artist and song.
Guy Freeman, the executive producer in charge of the UK’s Eurovision selection this year, has already offered a bit of insight into the process. Writing on the BBC Eurovision blog last Friday, he discussed with a contrite honesty the waning fortunes of the United Kingdom in the contest, and his hopes of turning it around.
“Yes, in the grand scheme of things it might all seem rather trivial to some,” he wrote. “But when it comes to the night itself, we all want to be proud of our UK entry and then see the score displayed next to the Union Jack notch up a healthy total.”
For a couple of years now Britain has relied on big names, with perhaps less focus on the songs. With the recent failings of ageing stars such as Bonnie Tyler and Englebert Humperdinck, it was refreshing that Freeman acknowledged the song as the starting point for success. Winning numbers like Satellite, Euphoria and Only Teardrops were above all else catchy: “We discovered that simply by and large they’ve been very good songs that have deserved to win.”
Rather than calling on someone who reached the peak of their stardom in the 1980s, Freeman dug into BBC Introducing, a platform to discover fresh talent and original songs.
“This is the gateway for undiscovered and unsigned music makers to upload their best tracks and get them heard and featured by the BBC. Some of the artists who’ve received BBC Introducing support at the start of their careers include Florence and The Machine, Ed Sheeran, Rizzle Kicks and Jake Bugg.”
That’s not the end of the list. Two Door Cinema Club, The Ting Tings, MGMT, Wretch 32—each of them graced the roster at one point. So did several members of Britain’s hip-hop scene, most notably Tempa T and Chipmunk. Whilst hip-hop probably won’t be the choice of genre for the contest, the runaway successes of many of these artists proves that the resource is working.
And we’ve got our fingers crossed it’ll work again—and this time for the UK at Eurovision.
So far all signs point to yes. A few hundred people attended the recording of a video for the song on Sunday evening in London’s Mayfair. The reports have been positive, with people saying the song mixes the production elements of Margaret Berger (ESC 2013) with the vocals of Yohanna (ESC 2009) and, thankfully, the dress of neither. Unlike some of y’all on Twitter, we’ll withold the name of the artist and the title of the song. We have a feeling you’ll think it’s worth the wait…
Update: BBC News has all but confirmed that Molly Smitten-Downes will sing for Britain. Read all about the Twitter leak and how fans found out last night.
Chris Wood contributed this report from the UK. Follow him on Twitter at @crwexe. You can also keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.