This is not how you win, BBC

In the eyes of many Eurovision fans, the BBC hit an all-time low with Electro Velvet last May in Vienna. Now, in order to right that electro-swing wrong, Executive Producer Guy Freeman has reportedly decided to ressurrect a national selection for the United Kingdom. Yes, he’s taking Molly Smitten-Downes’ advice and giving power to the people!

As the Daily Express reports, up and coming acts will be able to submit original tracks to the Beeb until November. A closed-door selection panel will narrow the entries down before viewers are given the chance to vote on a winner.

And they’re bringing in the big guns. Hugh Goldmsith, a music executive behind Atomic Kitten, Billie Piper and Blue, will reportedly oversee the process.

“This year really will be the biggest song search for Eurovision the BBC has ever undertaken,” Freeman said in a statement.

“With input from key industry figures and fan associations, plus with the public having the final say we are looking forward to seeing a true People’s Eurovision entry representing the UK at next year’s competition in Sweden.”

BBC confirms details of 2016 national selection

Electro Velvet at Eurovision

The BBC internally selected Electro Velvet and their song “Still in Love with You”. The electro-swing number left us feeling ill from the beginning. As we wrote at the time of the announcement:

I’m taking back every mean thing I ever said about Engelbert Humperdinck and Bonnie Tyler. They may have been on the other side of their peak when competing at Eurovision, but at no point could you call them cruise ship material. Or a Mick Jagger cover act, which, you all know, is Alex’s speciality. There’s nothing wrong with that and I’m sure he does it well. But cover acts perform at weddings and dive bars, not the Eurovision Song Contest.

At the Eurovision’s Greatest Hits show a few months later we sensed a trainwreck looming. This continued in Vienna when, during the group’s first rehearsal, Bianca’s exposed LED battery pack smacked of a terror attack. Thankfully she covered it up with a faux fur stoll during the grand final. Ultimately they finished 24th, and our jurors’ premonitions seemed to come true.

Their vocals are fine, and their lack of on-stage chemistry can surely be fixed with some acting lessons. The song is the problem. It’s awful. The production is cheap, the lyrics are borderline misogynistic, and the melody is like something created by Don Draper. The UK seem to be stuck in some awful cycle, where everytime they take a step forward they take a huge leap back – Jessica Garlick to Jemini, Jade Ewen to Josh Dubovie, Blue to Englebert. Something’s gotta give.

What do you think of the news that the UK will reportedly have a public selection? Do you think it’ll result in another Josh Dubovie? Or do yout hink having Hugh Goldsmith attached will attract some big name songwriters — and some amazing songs? Let us know in the comments box below.

Follow all of our UK Eurovision news here

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Slightly Biased ESC Fan
Slightly Biased ESC Fan
6 years ago

Glad to see them take it seriously for once; now, they have little excuse to do poorly this time around. I mean the UK’s musical talent pool is SO stacked that even their D-listers who have had hits at some point in time are more known on a wider scale than some other countries’ A- or B-listers! Honestly..

James
James
6 years ago

@mawnck
LOL.
Their music lives up to their name lol.

mawnck
mawnck
6 years ago

“Acts like Little Boots and The Bravery won the Sound of, and both had one minor hit before completely going into obscurity and achieving virtually no success at all. ”

I am shocked … SHOCKED I tell you … that such a thing could ever happen to acts with names like “Little Boots” and “The Bravery”.

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
6 years ago

D’OH!! My bad. FIVE-time winners (U.K.).

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
6 years ago

@Azaad: Unfortunately, for many, top 20 is not good enough when it comes to the U.K., 4-time winners. At this point, I imagine they will accept nothing below the top 10.

Luke
Luke
6 years ago

Couldn’t the winner of the X factor be the UK Eurovision act ??

James
James
6 years ago

I like Years and Years but after a few songs they are starting to get a little boring. But again, they won the BBC sound of. They were releasing music prior to winning that and they were not charting at all, not even in the UK

James
James
6 years ago

@dutchie I totally agree, there are some amazing European acts out there, I always keep an eye on the ITunes charts around the world, and I listen to Dotan, Kensington from The Netherlands and many others from a variety of countries. There are so many good tracks across Europe that are ignored by British radio. The promotion and marketing tools are more effective in the UK. The BBC have a huge weight in this and far more than radio /TV stations across Europe or other parts of the world for sure. But yes there has to be a real talent… Read more »

dutchie
dutchie
6 years ago

@james Of course there’s talent involved, Sam Smith, Adele, Ed Sheeran are just very good and would have made it regardless of which country they came from. And the British do know how to write a good pop song, probably only rivaled by the Swedes (in Europe at least). But if you have a good song, and you’re a Brit, you can be sure it will be a hit across Europe. That’s mainly down to promotion. I mean, how on earth can Streets by Kensington not be a major international hit, and King by Years and Years can? Their singer… Read more »

James
James
6 years ago

@dutchie, Ah I totally agree with that, sorry I misread your comment meaning across different continents (i.e cracking US/Canada etc, which despite popular belief is still notoriously difficult for most British acts) Yes across Europe I agree, British acts , once they become hugely successful in the UK can more easily spread across Europe , then vice versa. For example, Anouk is still more or less unheard of in the UK despite being so successful in her home country, even though she sings in English a lot of the time, whereas Adele found it a lot easier to translate across… Read more »

dutchie
dutchie
6 years ago

@james
I could easily name 20 British artists who’ve made it across Europe, I’d struggle to do so for any other country. If you think it’s hard for them, imagine how artists from other countries feel 😉

I mean, it’s ridiculous that a great singer like Ilse DeLange needed Eurovision for some recognition across the border. She even cried on national tv after Eurovision because finally her German label had shown some interest, after years of not returning her calls. And the Germans are our direct neighbours!

Azaad
Azaad
6 years ago

Internal selections aren’t inherently bad (Conchita was one for example). But I feel like now the UK will crack top 20 this year, which for them is good.

Mario = Legend
Mario = Legend
6 years ago

They could decide the votes in the final from seperate juries (OGAE,Basca,Professional Panel) and the UK public, just to make sure we can’t send a joke act. Honestly, there shouldn’t be any dud acts at all if OGAE, along with Basca, are deciding the shortlist. They former knows what Eurovision needs, and Basca know how to write a decent song. “the biggest ever song search” it’s good to see the BBC is learning from it’s mistakes and is trying to improve rather than throwing the towel in (e.g. Sending Electro Velvet 2.0).

James
James
6 years ago

@dutchie.
I’m not sure i get your last comment about british stars already being stars across the continent. Most British acts struggle to.make it in places like North America and only the very top ones have broken through. There have been a few more recently but its generally considered notoriously difficult.

dutchie
dutchie
6 years ago

@eric
Sorry, but they were just really bad… I have a newfound appreciation for Caro Emerald, simply because Electro Velvet taught me that electro swing does take some skill to sing (and I really couldn’t stand Caro).

@james
British stars are usually already stars across the continent. There’s probably more undiscovered talent in most European countries than in Britain, for this reason. I don’t think the true international artists from Holland (Mr. Probz, Martin Garrix, Caro Emerald) are exactly lining up to participate either, but there’s relatively fewer of them.

Mario EuroFan
Mario EuroFan
6 years ago

Oh…There are so many comments on this wiwi article!
Such active articles we had only in the pre contest season before the EuroVision!

Eric
Eric
6 years ago

Leave Alex and Bianca alone. They gave it their all. BBC took a risk last year. It didn’t pay off. Other risks do pay off (bearded lady, interacting with a cartoon). You never know for sure if it will or won’t until it’s too late to do anything about it.

Nikos
Nikos
6 years ago

@CookyMontza – Very true. Let’s hope for the best!

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

I believe this is actually a step in the right direction. whether or not it will result in the UK finally climbing back up the Eurovision ladder is another thing. The last 2 selection shows we ever had ended with the selection of Jade Ewen, who had a beautiful ballad and competed in 2009, which in my opinion was a very strong year all around, bringing us hits such as Fairytale (Norway), Is It True? (Iceland) and Always (Azerbaijan) and still come 5th place was a massive achievement for us. Josh Dubovie, as mentioned by others, was the right choice… Read more »

fikri
fikri
6 years ago

hopefully foreigners are able to participate too. UK needs a little of swedish magical touch…

mawnck
mawnck
6 years ago

A couple of observations: (1) If the BBC seriously thought there was ANY chance of getting a top act to do it, they wouldn’t be fooling with a national selection program. Superstars with clout don’t compete with nobodies in national selections, they negotiate their terms with the broadcaster and then they go to Eurovision. Ask Anouk. Or Guy Sebastian. But perhaps they’ll get lucky and some famous egotistical twit will waltz in and try it anyway … That should be fun, especially when he/she loses to the British Elaiza. and (2) Here’s the “official” BBC statement: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/uk-esc-entry So they’ll have… Read more »

Denis
Denis
6 years ago

Good idea and could go well, but the phrases “up-and-coming” and “contemporary” combined with BBC makes me casually negative.
Their idea of contemporary isn’t exactly what the rest of Europe has in mind. And hiring someone who used to work with former stars such as Billie Piper isn’t a good way either. Isn’t that what got them in this mess to begin with?
Still, the only way is up. Carry on!

Bronson
Bronson
6 years ago

This could go either way. All the songs in the NS could be of a high quality and the UK could find themselves with a golden national selection, or the songs could all be crap. Knowing the UK, it’s going to be one or the other.

I hope for the UK’s sake, the songs that take part in the NS are of a high quality – events like these are catalysts for change which could mean a famous singer might represent the country in 5 years’ time.

Sokratis Lakrindis
Sokratis Lakrindis
6 years ago

Why does it have to be up and coming acts? If its something the UK needs, its a current, relevant talent to try. I love Bonnie Tyler, Blue, Javine, Jade Ewen, Humperdink, but none of these people were in their prime. Just getting a nobody at this point isnt going to work, unless you have a good as song as say “My Time” which they wont. Look at it this way- Rita Ora attempted to participate those years ago eagerly. Now, she’d scoff at an offer to participate. The point being, you need to convince the stars that its a… Read more »

Ash95
Ash95
6 years ago

People are saying about how the British public are terrible for choosing songs, but forget that those national selections from back then were full of ONLY terrible songs… I honestly think that the public chose the best of an absolutely atrocious bunch. The only exception being 2007, but that was still very close, and I fail to see Cyndi actually managing to do much better than Scooch. Then with 2009 and 2010 they chose the best singers for sure, just in 2010 they got given a terrible song.

Daniel
Daniel
6 years ago

I just found a news article here in the UK that says it is supposed to be an X-factor styled show. Plus it comes across that they really want to do well not just for this year but for a future record as well.

Daniel
Daniel
6 years ago

OMG! YESSSS!! FINALLY!!! IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S GONNA BE AH-MAY-ZING!!

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
6 years ago

@James, Cathal, Nikos: They don’t have a choice. Damned if they do and damned if they don’t; and right now, they realize they were closer to the end of that highway to hell as they continued the internal selections. That brings us back to the creator of this petition: https://www.change.org/p/bbc-guy-freeman-channel-4-create-a-uk-melodifestivalen-eurovision-national-selection-format Obviously, the petitioner knew that the Electro Velvet selection would be a disaster. Let us assume neither Guy Freeman nor the BBC has the patience to conduct a 6-week selection process like Sweden’s Melodifestivalen. If I were them, I’d select 24, break them up into groups of 8 and spread… Read more »

Mario EuroFan
Mario EuroFan
6 years ago

I really do not get WHY the english fans complain & think that Europe hates UK…Because tihis is NOT the case here…And its not like the Kingdom sends mainly bad not good songs.. Mostly they have sent really cool or GreAtY songs in our Vision.. Last year *Children Of The Universe* was amazing & my #1 most favorite song among the 37 of Copenhagen’s Vision <3 I loved *Believe In Me* by the legendary Bonnie Tyler in Malmo's Vision <3 *Love Will Set You Free* of 2012 was lovely <3 * I Can* of Blue in 2011 was fantastic <3… Read more »

Freyah
Freyah
6 years ago

I just pray they make it similar to like Dansk Melodi Grand Prix or something, and have actually good entries. If they wonder why half the public aren’t interested, it’s because we send crap on a regular basis.

Alex
Alex
6 years ago

I’m excited for this. Unfortunately Eurovision is a joke in the UK, and people might vote for the silliest song on purpose. The UK is the centre of the Music industry in Europe and produce world chart hits along with X factor and Britain’s Got Talent, they don’t really care much about Eurovision. Hopefully those Eurovision fans pick something good!

James
James
6 years ago

@dutchie I’m not sure if they still do, some people do, but it doesn’t feel as strong as before. Graham Norton is not as negative as Terry Wogan when he commentates and that has a huge influence on the public’s perception. He does help the situation e.g when Bosnia/Serbia exchanged votes once he noted it because they had a shared language rand the act was famous in that country as well – and when the UK gave its 12 to Jedward, he said that we do the same when we know the act well enough, in other words people vote… Read more »

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
6 years ago

this could potentially produce some decent results, I’m slightly optimistic

Nikos
Nikos
6 years ago

Although this is better for the UK, I worry about a repeat of Scooch… :/

DR
DR
6 years ago

It is great that the BBC has decided to do a national selection. However there are numerous caveats. One, the songs have to be of a really good quality. There is no point to having a national selection if the songs a rubbish. I don’t have hope is a producer of acts that were big ten years ago. Get a music producer that is big now. Two, the public are not prone to choosing good songs when they were given the chance, Daz Sampson, Scooch and Andy Abraham are classic examples. Three, The BBC is still using a passive way… Read more »

James
James
6 years ago

Exactly, and there are so many more timeless ones. Adele etc are the current ones but before she became successful there was Elton John , John Lennon, David Bowie etc etc.

Dar
Dar
6 years ago

well kate bush is classic timeless icon

James
James
6 years ago

@Dar I know what you mean in terms of the chart, the singles chart in particular isn’t a great measurement of the best music (as well as Cheryl Cole, UK #1s include the Crazy Frog song, Bob The Builder, Tellytubbies, Mr Blobby etc etc). The singles chart is more about mass marketing a particular trend. It does have some great #1s, but of course like any chart it has many stinkers. The album chart is a slightly better indicator (tho obviously not perfect and can also generate its share of atrocities). But British acts like Emeli Sande, Adele, Ellie Goulding,… Read more »

Dar
Dar
6 years ago

the reason the British think everyone hates them is because they are self obsessed.. only countries in Europe that might have a strong dislike for them is France and Ireland

Natasha
Natasha
6 years ago

I’m happy that the BBC have finally got some sense and realised that internal selection is not the right thing! Now we just have to hope that the UK public has more sense than we did 2010> so that we send a good act

ESCaddict
ESCaddict
6 years ago

I meant “do NOT capture the public vote”.

ESCaddict
ESCaddict
6 years ago

I just hope a boy band or a girl band do capture the public vote. Pretty young things can get votes even if their song is crap.

dutchie
dutchie
6 years ago

I never know why (some) Brits seem to think that the reason Britain has done so badly in Eurovision is because Europe hates Britain… when in fact British artists dominate the charts all over the continent. It’s just because their Eurovision entries suck.

That said, the results of a public vote can also be pretty frustrating, the local public’s darlings are rarely the ones that will do well on a European stage.

Dar
Dar
6 years ago

@Lucy Percy .. you point out that the UK produces more global #1 chart topping songs than any other country .. ok this may be true however a few things to point out … artists from english speaking countries eg australia,Ireland, usa, canada and UK are always more successful globally cause of language.. A lot of large global music labels are based in UK and USA and this leads to artists from these countries being more global .. finally the charts have never been a measure of what is quality music and no real compliment to an artists achivements ..… Read more »

Mario EuroFan
Mario EuroFan
6 years ago

That is really cool 4 UK to do…
I hope that it works 4 them & select a good song 4 Sweden’s Vision..
And its not like that they keep sending lame entries to our Vision..
These unfortunate exceptions were only this year,in 2010 & in 2008
All the other years they have sent really good or amazing songs..
In 2009 & in 2014 in Vision my #1 most favorite songs were from UK! <3

Brittany
Brittany
6 years ago

My prayers have been answered finally the bbc are listening to the public! I want the contest to be very competitive no friendly business. We should also host it in an arena wembley would do. I think the bbc should go all out with this one the we need to change the minds of the British people who think that Europe hates us yes it will be harder to have a landslide victory but the UK coulde actually do it. We need to get back up to being 2nd best at eurovision. I just hope Sweden don’t win again unless… Read more »

hurricane86
hurricane86
6 years ago

Fantastic news, the BBC clearly realise what they’ve been doing hasn’t been working and are ready to try something new. Can’t argue with that, bring it on. Let’s hope they use an innovative format with input from current and relevant music industry figures…

mawnck
mawnck
6 years ago

“Atomic Kitten, Billie Piper and Blue” I hate to point this out, but … WHO? It appears the BBC still has a terminal case of has-been-itis. I’ve seen this movie before, and it starred Pete Waterman and Josh Dubovie. This won’t change a thing, other than making all the UK fans even huffier when they come in 25th. There are SO many problems with the UK entries, and this will only fix one of them. UK still has no credible acts willing to participate. And a ludicrously jaded public who thinks there’s still such a thing as a “good song… Read more »

YoungsterJoey
YoungsterJoey
6 years ago

I don’t get why they don’t continue with their BBC Introducing platform… it’s like they start one thing but quickly throw it away.

Maybe there was low engagement rates with artists on BBC Introducing since the BBC has had atrocious turnaround with ESC results.

James
James
6 years ago

@Alex I hope so too but last year they supposedly recieved tons of amazing songs and still decided on the potato waffle song lol. I dont know what else they had but surely that cannot have been the best one. lol.