On Saturday, 14 UK-based performers did their best to capture the spirit of Eurovision with the charity event, the Isolation Song Contest. The event featured an entry from Eurovision champ Måns Zelmerlöw, who sang an ode to the UK’s mixed fortunes at Eurovision.
The charity contest was organised by the UK comedian Tom Taylor. Fourteen comedians, musicians and drag performers were each assigned a Eurovision country to represent. They had one week to write, record and shoot a video for their song — all within lockdown conditions. And now the fruits of their labour were revealed with the contest’s YouTube premiere.
As well as the competing artists, the event also featured appearances from other UK entertainers, including UK Eurovision commentators Graham Norton, Rylan Clark-Neal and Scott Mills and two-time UK Eurovision singer Cliff Richard and UK Eurovision icon Nicki French.
Isolation Song Contest 2020
Among the competing acts was the Swedish Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw. He now lives in the UK with his family and hosted the 2017 and 2018 editions of the UK national final — so it only made sense that he should represent the UK in the contest.
And aptly enough, his song “Swings and Roundabouts” looks at the UK’s mixed fortunes at Eurovision. As Benedict, Måns has his hair done in classic 90s boy band “curtains”, as styled by wife Ciara Zelmerlöw. It’s a family affair as he is joined in the video by Ciara’s young son Archie.
While romping with his Eurovision trophy in a forest, Måns sings: “We are heroes of our time / The UK is next in line / Cos Covid makes Europe forget / The B-word was ever said.”
He also makes reference to the BBC ditching the national final and going internal, singing, “They sacked Måns and You Decide / They banked on a deep-sea dive”.
But Måns is up against 13 other strong contenders. The line-up includes former UK Eurovision commentator Mel Giedroyc, who plays the glamorous Italian singer Melania who is deeply missing her cleaning lady.
The Northern Irish songwriter Neil Hannon — best known in Eurovision circles as the writer of the iconic Eurovision parody song “My Lovely Horse” — represented Spain as Eduardo Maldonado Castellano De La Cruz. He performed the funny but also heartfelt “Te Amo España”.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star (and Frock Destroyer) Divina de Campo represented Australia. She performed “Half a World Away” which turned from an emotional ballad into a fair dinkum celebration of everything Aussie. Divina implored, “You can grab onto my wombat / Won’t you climb aboard my ute/ I wanna be your sheila / You’re a bloody beaut”.
Some of the entries reminded us of actual Eurovision songs. The German song “Wo ist meine Frucht?” has the same line of German art-pop as Kaia Tamm’s Eesti Laul 2019 entry “Wo sind die Katzen?”. While the North Macedonian song “No Fun, No Sun, No Problem” was reminiscent of Rambo Amadeus’ 2012 song for Montenegro, “Euro Neuro”.
Isolation Song Contest – Competing Acts
- Sweden: Rob Deerköping (Rob Deering) – “Sweden Leads the World”
- San Marino: Tonno e Fagioli (Lucy Porter & Justin Edwards) – “Little Country, Big Beats”
- Iceland: Flö og Jðan (Flo & Joan) – “Rúsínan í pylsuendanum”
- Australia: DDC (Divina de Campo) – “Half a World Away”
- Belgium: Didier De Dos (Joe Stilgoe) – “Make Me Famous”
- Germany: Wir Sind DeutchBank (Pippa Evans & Yshani Perinpanayagam) – “Wo ist meine frucht?”
- United Kingdom: Benedict Bartholomew (Måns Zelmerlöw) – “Swings and Roundabouts”
- Romania: Timotay (Tim Vine) – “Room Mania”
- Norway: Glamrou the ViQueen (Glamrou) – “A Town Called Hell”
- Finland: Niko Helvetin Helm (Nick Helm) – “Finnish Me”
- Italy: Melania (Mel Giedroyc) – “Non vedo l’ora”
- North Macedonia: Eklipse (Josie Long & Jonny and the Baptists) – “No Fun, No Sun, No Problem”
- France: Jacques Soufflé (Kevin Eldon) – “Vive le cliché”
- Spain: Eduardo Maldonado Castellano De La Cruz (Neil Hannon) – “Te Amo España”
How to vote for your favourite
The contest is in support of three UK charities: The Trussell Trust (foodbank support), Crisis, (support for homeless people) and Refuge (campaigning against domestic violence). So in order to vote, you’ll need to make a donation, which can be as low as £2. So far, over £28,000 has been raised, well over the initial goal of £5000. Click here to make a donation and vote.
And while the inaugural contest looks to have been a huge success, all going well with the fight against Covid-19, we WON’T see any further editions. As contest organiser Tom Taylor says, “Believe me when I tell you, truthfully from the very bottom of my heart, I hope we never have to do it again.”
Voting closes on Friday 22 May, and the results show will be premiered on Saturday 23 May.
What do you think? Who is your favourite act in the Isolation Song Contest? Should it be an annual event? Tell us your thoughts below!