Not long now! On Friday the BBC will stage Eurovision: You Decide — its 2019 selection for Eurovision. Six acts will compete in a series of song-offs, with each duel featuring two versions of the same song. Each act will be singing for survival…and we now know the executioners.
This year’s expert panel consists of three celebrities with varying degrees of experience singing. What they all share is an understanding of the spotlight and the strength and resilience it demands. They are: X Factor alum and TV personality Rylan Clark-Neal, ex-JLS star Marvin Humes and former Saturdays singer Mollie King.
This Friday it's time to choose the UK ?? @Eurovision act for 2019! And ready to join the #Eurovisionyoudecide panel are…
? https://t.co/gUPqRhspBd pic.twitter.com/ZcpFwaAZj0
— BBC Eurovision?? (@bbceurovision) February 4, 2019
Rylan is no stranger to You Decide or Eurovision. In 2018 he joined Scott Mills for the BBC’s semi-final coverage, and he also sat in the You Decide hot seat last year, offering the most insight and enthusiasm on the panel.
His origins may have been as a laughing stock on X Factor, but owing to his charisma and staying power he’s the one who is still laughing. He’s forged a sparkling career and is omnipresent on British television. But does he have the ears to pick a winner? He thinks so. As he wrote on Twitter last year: “Might not be the best singer but I KNOW a good [Eurovision] song preparing my best Louis Walsh sayings as we speak…”
The 33-year-old is perhaps best known as a former member of the boyband JLS — the runners-up to Alexandra Burke on the fifth series of X Factor UK. Their first two singles “Beat Again” and “Everybody in Love” both topped the UK Singles Chart. They’ve sold more than 10 million records worldwide.
The group called it quits in 2013, but Marvin has kept on slaying. He went on to host The Voice and has been a presenter on the Capital network ever since. He also started a new dance group called LuvBug (“Best is Yet to Come”).
This English rose is best known as a former member of the girl group The Saturdays, who boast 13 Top 10 UK singles. Outside of singing she made it to the semi-finals on Strictly Come Dancing and, since April 2018, has been a host on BBC Radio 1. She’s also a relief presenter on ITV’s This Morning.
Should a celebrity panel decide the song-offs?
A quick scan of social media suggests that fans are very much divided about giving the celebrity panel so much power. They effectively get to axe half of the competitors in the first round, leaving the public to choose from among the celebs’ favourites. Here’s one particularly direct tweet.
So these “experts” will be the only ones to pick the “best” versions of the 3 songs before the public have a chance to vote. What brainless bozo at the BBC came up with this awful idea? The BBC is useless and must hand over the reins for Eurovision to an alternative broadcaster
— John Duncombe (@JohnDuncombe4) February 4, 2019
What do you think about the celebrity panel deciding the song-offs? Do you think this system is more easily corruptible? Would you have preferred an international panel to vote on the song-offs? Let us know in the comments box down below!