In this new series, we are looking at all the countries currently competing in the Eurovision Song Contest and why we love them — for all the right (and sometimes wrong) reasons. Now it is the turn of the United Kingdom to feel the love, as we take a peek at their long-standing participation in the contest.
As a member of The Big Five, the UK doesn’t participate in semis, but on many an occasion, they haven’t rested on their laurels and have brought something amazing and unique. From air stewards to creating a galaxy of stars surrounding the entire arena, the UK have done some epic things with staging! Here’s ten reasons we love the UK!
1. They love bringing West End drama
Nothing brings pride to British fans quite like when there is a link to London’s West End musical scene. 2009’s “It’s My Time” had Andrew Lloyd Webber perform alongside Jade Ewen and the UK came fifth. More recently West End theatre starlet Lucie Jones made fans scream when her staging came to fruition. Perhaps this is the United Kingdom’s key to success?
2. They have a long and golden history
The UK are one of the most successful countries in the contest since it all began. They have been competing since 1957 and have chalked up five wins and 15 second-places.
3. UK commentary is pesky and we love it
The moment in 2014 when the hosting team paid a visit to Graham Norton’s commentary booth sums up everything about British commentary: it’s witty sarcastic and drop-dead funny. Over the years it’s been divisive but Graham’s one-liners at Eurovision are a huge part of British culture and a good reason why 8.1 million people watched in the UK this year at its peak.
4. They aren’t shy of sending a huge name
Olivia Newton-John, Cliff Richard, Bonnie Tyler, Engelbert Humperdinck — the UK has sent some of the biggest legends in music to the contest (in their prime or not). Engelbert was the oldest ever performer at a Eurovision final after his performance but was overtaken within an hour by one of the Buranovskiye Babushki.
5. When they do novelty, they don’t do it by halves
Only the UK would send Daz Sampson swiftly followed by Scooch. The weird themes in previous UK novelty acts have been some of the most iconic in modern Eurovision history, with some fans still dressing up in flight attendant gear for Eurovision parties around the continent over a decade later. We won’t even discuss that spoken innuendo in the song.
6. British fans dress for the occasion
Eurovision wouldn’t be Eurovision without the UK fans in the crowd wearing full Union Jack suits, bow ties, shoes, hair — everything!
7. They’re always there for the party
The UK have competed solidly since 1959 and have the longest streak of participation in the contest. Despite a lack of top-five results for quite some time now, they show up year after year with something different to the rest of the pack – be it in a good or bad way.
8. They brought back a national final
Eurovision: You Decide came to our screens in 2016 after strong demand from fans when electro-swing didn’t really please British fans in 2015, let alone those overseas. Its first edition was in a small venue in north London, but in 2017 and 2018 they’ve taken the show on the road to two of the UK’s most iconic venues and produced considerably higher quality shows year-on-year.
9. They’ve helped shape Eurovision as it is today
We talk a lot about Christer Bjorkman’s undeniable impact on modern Eurovision, but the work done by the UK in the 1998 edition of the Eurovision is still evident in today’s shows; such as televoting en masse and widespread use of backing tracks as opposed to an orchestra. Even the watermark of the performing country’s name in the bottom-left corner was conceived by former HoD Guy Freeman and his team in Birmingham.
10. The living legend that is SuRie
Without the UK in Eurovision, we wouldn’t have had SuRie’s social media to obsess over this Eurovision season. To make her even better, she performed the hell out of “Storm” after her stage invasion and didn’t even need to perform a second time to prove a point; an actual legend of British participation.
What do you think of our favourite things about the UK? Do you have a particular favourite song from the Brits? Let us know below in the comments!