UK James Newman Eurovision 2021 First Rehearsal

The Big Five continue their first rehearsals at Eurovision 2021. Next up to the Rotterdam stage for his first run-through is United Kingdom’s James Newman with “Embers”. Has the UK upped its staging game? Let’s see…

United Kingdom’s James Newman “Embers” — Eurovision 2021 first rehearsal

Oliver: The bisexual red and blue lighting returns! The British star begins his performance of “Embers” stood on a circular platform in centre stage with two gigantic — and rather comical — white trumpets either side of him, shining red and blue lights from their bells. Very camp. Fortunately, that is offset by the stylish fashion choices — James is wearing a black coat and he’s joined by four dancers in white, wielding trumpets and trombones. The United Kingdom’s light show is also very dynamic with lots of colour shifts throughout. As the second verse builds, the stage is lit in warm shades of orange. Then during the bridge, James steps back onto the round platform surrounded by laser lights from above. And by the time the final chorus rolls around, there are bright and punchy flashes of red, blue and white. We’re yet to see a run with pyro, but some fuego would certainly make this run much more impactful. Right now, this fades into the background in a lineup of big pop bangers.

Padraig: The UK’s staging is certainly a departure from what we’re used to from them. James begins the performance standing on a black circular plinth, slap bang in the middle of two ginormous trumpets. They’re probably the biggest props on stage this year. Romania’s canons from 2017 don’t come close. James is dressed all in black, including a long leather trench coat with gold trimming. He’s joined by four backing dancers. They’re all in white and each of them has a regular-sized trumpet of their own. Two have white trumpets, the other two have white ones. James’ delivery is competent, but this lacks a spark compared to much of the other acts we’ve seen. It’s definitely a respectable effort from Britain, but it’s unlikely to trouble the higher end of the scoreboard.

Reaction to United Kingdom’s first rehearsal at Eurovision 2021

 

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What do you think? Did James Newman live up to your expectations? Let us know in the comments below. 

Read more United Kingdom Eurovision 2021 news here

Photo: EBU / THOMAS HANSES

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CyxCy
CyxCy
28 days ago

It’s not a bad idea, it’s a messy idea. Rather than cluttering themselves with huge sets (and which scare me, I always feel those trumpets are going to crash on stage) they had the ability to project it onto the digital screen, and make effects with it. The same with digital trumpets that seem to throw effects on James (stars, glitter, musical notes, whatever you want), it looked like “that’s cool”. There it’s right …. A lot of effort for little effect.

TJCat
TJCat
29 days ago

so many comments about the staging and dancing. how I long for the old days when yes we paid attention to the nice costumes but we judged on the song and the singer. I appreciate creative staging makes a song stand out and creates an exciting show to watch, but to moan that a pair of trumpets have nothing to do with the song seems just mean. I find them playful, light hearted and they do connect to the instrumentation we hear. Have we complained about Switzerland’s blocks, or Malta’s ballet bar? so many staging concepts of the past that… Read more »

WestMids
29 days ago
Reply to  TJCat

I long for the days when people were allowed to express an opinion without being rounded on and preached at. The staging is a key part of the overall presentation of the song. Just enjoy the diverse opinions and recognise people have different views.

WestMids
29 days ago

Please if James Newman or his stage management team are watching could they explain the concept of all the trumpets?

Charli Cheer Up
Charli Cheer Up
30 days ago

So Embers = Trumpets?? I dunno what story/symbolism James and the Uk stage directors are trying to tell. I’ll reserve my judgement for now till the 2nd rehearsals for Big 5 are finished.

Euroboitoy
Euroboitoy
30 days ago

No, the trumpets = the horn section within the song

Emma
Emma
30 days ago

This has the makings of a great performance and I’m really excited to see the full thing. Been a fan of this song from the start and am not disappointed in that first rehearsal. It really is there, they just need something to make it that little more eye-popping and energetic because that’s all that it’s lacking right now; some firework effects and pyro will definitely achieve that, especially when the chorus beat comes in. The trumpets work, they don’t look too gimmicky at all for me personally – the song contains trumpet sounds,there in the music video so I… Read more »

Last edited 30 days ago by Emma
WESTMIDS
WESTMIDS
30 days ago

I don’t understand the concept. Yes, I get there are trumpets in the song, but why make the staging all about that? Do the staging people think Europe and Australia are crazy about brass instruments? Or that the trumpets on the track are just not prominent enough? The UK entry is now more akin to a jokey novelty act than a serious contender. The staging has hints of Josh Dubrovnie and Electrovelvet.

Last edited 30 days ago by WESTMIDS
Trocatroc
Trocatroc
30 days ago

I really thought the staging would be probably themed around the song meaning…rising from the embers to light up the room….but no. It’s trumpets

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago

Stage designer: TRUMPETS!!! OMG TRUMPETS EVERYWHERE!! EFF YESS, IT WILL BE GREAT!!

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago

James – seems honest and kind, those qualities shine easily in his persona. In interviews, you can tell he’s not putting on a show because he is, as others have said, the friendly guy next door, which is to his credit. He’s a decent guy. But performers are required to ‘put on a show’, that’s part of performance, and that may be why he’s looking out of place right now on admittedly the biggest stage he’s ever been on. I hope he rises to it on the night. He’s written a good radio-friendly song, a bop to be easily enjoyed… Read more »

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Do you listen to the radio stations that would play it?

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Yes. BBC Radio 2. Could you answer my question now – about whether you listen to radio stations that would play it? Do you listen regularly, for example, to Radio 2? I’m sure you’re right though, that almost all commercial and non-BBC radio stations will not play Embers, which has something to do with how Eurovision is treated in the UK. It it common for radio stations in other European countries to feature Eurovision songs indiscriminately. It’s likely, for example, that German radio stations have played Embers more than BBC Radio 2. A good question to think about might be… Read more »

Last edited 30 days ago by Jimmy Smit
WESTMIDS
WESTMIDS
30 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Have googled it and it isn’t on the Radio 2 playlist. The only airplay in the UK listed for the last 30 days (10 plays) have been Anker Radio (Nuneaton), Erewash Sound (Community radio in South Derbyshire) and Solid Radio (Nottingham). I don’t live in the East Midlands so that is why I probably missed it.

StuG
30 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Embers has been on the Radio 2 A list and as someone who listens to Radio 2 regularly, I’ve heard it played lots of times.

WestMids
30 days ago
Reply to  StuG

It isn’t on any of the radio 2 playlist.

TJCat
TJCat
29 days ago
Reply to  StuG

I agree, I listen to radio 2 all day at work and at home at the weekends and its literally on every show, I’d say a minimum of 3-4 times a day. also we should note radio 2 is the most listened to radio station in the UK

Jofty
Jofty
29 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Scott Mills is playing 10 Years on BBC Radio 1

Una
Una
30 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Strange exchange. I am wondering what the dialogue was about.

Last edited 30 days ago by Una
Rike
Rike
30 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Good Morning James, thoroughly enjoyed your Post and agree with a lot of what you say. However, I also disagree with some aspects. I think a lot of people in the UK should really drop the narrative of we have to work so much harder to get points or the UK is just not liked. Know these arguments from Germany… It has far more to do with that BBC and NDR (the German broadcaster) don‘t really get how eurovision works. You need a good song and a good staging to make it memorable. A decent song you might like, but… Read more »

Maybush
Maybush
30 days ago

I think this will either open or close the final show depending on whether it is drawn in first or second half. If it closes it will get some votes. If it opens it won’t and will finish last.

Alex
Alex
30 days ago
Reply to  Maybush

I also think they will give it an early spot (open the show as well) if it is drawn in first half. It would be a nice opener but it’s bad news for UK team.

Alex
Alex
30 days ago

Will the wiwibloggs upload the press conference of James? You guys seem to be snubbing the UK entry almost every year because there is not much hype.

Rosy B
Rosy B
30 days ago

Another internal selection flop. Unfortunately, I do not think the UK have sent anything amazing. Writing hits for other artists gives no guarantees at all.

fan
fan
30 days ago

Uk has to work harder than any other country to get votes, this is not going to do it. He has also put on a huge amount of weight. which is unfortunate as he has had plenty of time to prepare for this. Last place is my prediction. France 1st place.

Last edited 30 days ago by fan
Thom
Thom
30 days ago
Reply to  fan

I’m sure ‘famously skinny’ Netta will agree with you.

Zero idea why this is supposedly relevant.

WestMids
30 days ago
Reply to  Thom

Netta had style and charisma. And a winning entry. None of those apply here if you are honest.

StuG
30 days ago
Reply to  fan

Seriously? What has his weight got to do with anything?!

fan
fan
30 days ago
Reply to  fan

I completely agree, the songs have been dire…but even without Brexit UK has always had to work harder. The BBC seems to relish in mediocrity, when it comes to the Eurovision, as if they are ashamed of a possible success.

Last edited 30 days ago by fan
WestMids
30 days ago
Reply to  fan

I don’t agree the UK has to work harder than any other country to secure any votes. After 1998 our entries have been almost unrelenting garbage – for example Electrovelvet, Josh Dubrovnie, James Fox, Javine, poor old Engelbert and that fat lad who waddled around wailing bigger, bigger into a hole on the floor for some reason. Europe doesn’t hate us, they have hated our entries. And given that virtually none have made the slightest dent on our chart, we hated them too.

Last edited 30 days ago by WestMids
fan
fan
29 days ago
Reply to  WestMids

Yes yes , I agree with everything you say, but I insist there is a lot of resentment towards the Uk..actually it is not the Uk as a whole it is England…particularly by Spain and France,..but the songs were dreadful, and the annoying thing is, I have heard so many good songs by artists, who tried to enter for the Uk, and were completely ignored. The problem within the BBC is there is so much political correctness swimming around, it is very hard to choose a suitable song on merit alone., as the BBC panders to whatever ‘ism’ is in… Read more »

Sot
Sot
30 days ago

James is too wholesome for ESC

Ted
Ted
30 days ago

This is one of them songs which I hated at first, grew to enjoy, loved it more with the live acoustic sessions then started to slip after seeing a live uptempo tv show. Mainly due to James’s lack of natural stage presence. Then here is the first rehearsal. I’m so confused. I need to see the tv edit before passing full judgement. If pushed, It reminds me of the oversized chairs from Denmark 2019. I wasn’t a fan of that song but I vividly remember the staging. It looks as though the trumpets will move up or down during the… Read more »

Last edited 30 days ago by Ted
Paul W
30 days ago

Hard to make a judgement from the Wiwibloggs live stream coverage. Suzanne spent the whole 3rd rehearsal talking to someone off camera and there was no description of what was taking place on stage.

voix
voix
30 days ago
Reply to  Paul W

usually she talks about her cyct, her love of cats and anything else apart from the reason why she is there

Jonas
Jonas
30 days ago

I like the big trumpets. They won’t be forgotten, helping the song to stick in the mind – already an improvement on usual UK stagings.

Darren
30 days ago

Ah now I wouldn’t call him boring

Paul
Paul
30 days ago
Reply to  Darren

Agreed – he seems like a great guy on Instagram! Really good fun

Darren
30 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Totally! He’s a down to earth, guy next door type.

Jofty
Jofty
29 days ago
Reply to  Darren

With loads of money

Una
Una
30 days ago

First of all I love the UK and James Newman the Great so my observations come from a very good place: The song is *very good*. James’ voice is just wonderful. The UK have changed their approach with some positive and noticeable aspects. Having watched the clip several times, my opinion of the staging: It reminds me of Romania 2017 (the huge props) and San Marino 2019 (the dancers in white plus some of the moves) and Romania 2011 (the trompets). Three of the most comedy-factor entries in the past ten years. The colour scheme is fab and based on… Read more »

Alex
Alex
30 days ago

I love James, he’s a great guy! Embers is catchy, a party song! Very good effort with staging but unfortunately i think this is not a song that will make people vote for the UK. I tihink people will say oh nice fun song but it won’t make them vote for it.

I really think BBC needs to bring a female singer singing a banger next year or a big ballad.

Boozyfloozy69
Boozyfloozy69
30 days ago
Reply to  Alex

We’ve had none stop ballads so no thanks.

ANDREW BROWN
ANDREW BROWN
30 days ago
Reply to  Boozyfloozy69

agree

Una
Una
30 days ago
Reply to  Alex

The UK is not Cyprus or Malta. We need to acknowledge all the great things they’ve done this year and hope for a good result. And this is not the time to talk about UK in Eurovision 2022.

Alex
Alex
30 days ago
Reply to  Una

Cyprus and Malta are two tiny islands, i am sure the UK can do even better,

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Alex

Cyprus and Malta were also both British colonies – so the British ego can certainly come down another few notches.

Jonas
Jonas
30 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Britain is also a tiny island. Malta is three tiny islands.

Jonas
Jonas
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Australia is a big island.

Jonas
Jonas
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

With one little island.

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Australia has lots of little islands. Tasmania is just the biggest one, albeit often the only one that’s visible on big atlas-type maps.

Last edited 30 days ago by Jimmy Smit
Una
Una
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Then the Swedish “ö” comes to mind. It means island, and it is a single tiny letter. It can even express surprise at this fun conversation. 🙂

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Is there a point to this geographical game of who has the biggest?

Jonas
Jonas
30 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Yes. Humour as an attempt to disprove Alex’s comment that being a tiny island is relevant.

Jonas
Jonas
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Goodnight.

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Ah, it was so dry and factually dubious that I missed it 😉

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

but in fairness to Alex, I think he was trying to say that Cyprus and Malta punch above their weight in their contribution to Eurovision, while the UK underperforms despite its world-famous music industry

Last edited 30 days ago by Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Australia is generally regarded as a continent.

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Britain is a cultural concept. Great Britain is the geograpgical island, which is one of many that make up the British Isles.

Great Britain is the 9th largest island in the world.

Last edited 30 days ago by Jimmy Smit
Una
Una
30 days ago
Reply to  Alex

I was refering to the “female singer with banger” formula. Being tiny should not mean “lack of creativity” or “not resourceful”.

Last edited 30 days ago by Una
Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Una

Una, please. The UK can do much much better.

Una
Una
30 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Jimmy 🙂 The UK is already doing much better. Nevermind the fact that they could reach top 5 if they wanted to. Maybe in 2022.

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Una

🙂

pooky1001
pooky1001
30 days ago

I really like this. I think its going to look good on tv and with a live crowd its going to give off a great party atmosphere. Add a bit of pyro and i think its a pretty good effort.

Boozyfloozy69
Boozyfloozy69
30 days ago

Well I actually love this! James is bring the party atmosphere and you can tell he’s a great time, with a couple of little tweaks here and there this has top 15 on lock! I’d love to see a left hand side finish but we all know that won’t happen. Also anyone else think this will end up opening the show if UK Draw first half?

Paul
Paul
30 days ago
Reply to  Boozyfloozy69

Just like Englebert!

Kieran Edmunds
Kieran Edmunds
30 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Umm ok, this is nothing like Englebert

Barcelonadicto
Barcelonadicto
30 days ago
Reply to  Kieran Edmunds

I guess it was about Engelbert opening the show as well …

Paul
Paul
30 days ago
Reply to  Barcelonadicto

Yeah it was!

Barcelonadicto
Barcelonadicto
30 days ago
Reply to  Barcelonadicto

Funny to see that you just try to explain something to avoid misunderstanding and get downvoted … some people really need to get a life haha 😉

pooky1001
pooky1001
30 days ago
Reply to  Barcelonadicto

Ha ha, yes i just noticed that, i was going to ask why you are getting down voted just for stating something that is true. People do love that down vote button.

Una
Una
30 days ago
Reply to  Boozyfloozy69

I think so, yes.

Jake
Jake
30 days ago

I hope it comes across better on camera than it does on stage. I don’t understand why the giant trumpet couldn’t just be on LED. But ok.

Liam Lindsay
Liam Lindsay
30 days ago

After watching the rehearsal clip a couple of times, I do think given the restrictions of the pandemic in place and it’s the first of the Big 5 + Host rehearsals, it has a good base, it just needs finessing. Ultimately it won’t finish bottom 5, anyone who thinks that this will finish bottom 5 deluding themselves and is just hating for the sake of hating.

Melania
Melania
30 days ago
Reply to  Liam Lindsay

tbf this year is crazy good, especially with staging

Whisker
Whisker
30 days ago

Gigantic trumpets. For one, the brass is prominent sonically, so those visuals in the background are way too much. Then the dancers have trumpets too. It’s a feel-good song, it doesn’t require a lot of staging.

Dolly
Dolly
30 days ago

Uk top 5 . Good job

Rottendam
Rottendam
30 days ago

I really like the staging! It’s bright and playful! Hopefully we’ll see some pyros in the 2nd rehearsal to add that bit more to it!

But overall, great job!

Liam Fallon
Liam Fallon
30 days ago

They travelled from the UK at 5am this morning so what youve seen is their performance 12 hours after travel

Tom
Tom
30 days ago

Well first from the bottom is still an achievement

Sonam
Sonam
30 days ago

Kirkorov did the staging for the UK and BBC for Moldova. No?

Leo
Leo
30 days ago

The staging looks like a circus

Paul
Paul
30 days ago
Reply to  Leo

Isn’t Eurovision just a massive circus??

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Like life, eh

Alex
Alex
30 days ago
Reply to  Leo

San Marino is circus.

Liam Lindsay
Liam Lindsay
30 days ago

I actually really like the staging, this does appeal more to jurors rather than the public, I didn’t think for a moment that the UK could get a massive televote score but, given some of the dregs this year (Portugal, Israel, Belgium, Croatia to name a few). I still expect a result of 12-15th but anything lower is a insult

Shane
Shane
30 days ago
Reply to  Liam Lindsay

Owww… Portugal I get, but the others are three of my top 5 🙁

Jonas
Jonas
30 days ago
Reply to  Liam Lindsay

No way is Belgium a dreg.

WhiteSox
WhiteSox
30 days ago

What is that??? lol

Trocatroc
Trocatroc
30 days ago

I just watched the clip and my first impression is (and I do hate to say this about my own country’s entry) that we sent quite a decent and modern pop song and paired it with joke entry staging. The staging seems to overshadow the respectability and modern vibe of the song. That’s only from seeing the short clip so maybe I’ll change my mind…

Sabrina
Sabrina
30 days ago

I’m not a fan of those props. I’m now wondering if the producers will pick it to open or end the show, since it has the obligatory utempo vibe for the duty and this would mean that the staff would have more time to push these huge trumpets to or from the stage.

Jonas
Jonas
30 days ago
Reply to  Sabrina

The usual number two doesn’t seem to have anything to push on to the stage, so that would help too.

Sabrina
Sabrina
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

If Albania qualifies and also gets 1st half, I can see Anxhela being sacrificed with the dreadful number two, since it’s a woman, singing a slower song and it’s just her on the stage. But hey, now I’m really jumping guns with my predictions. 😀

Last edited 30 days ago by Sabrina
Jonas
Jonas
30 days ago
Reply to  Sabrina

I can’t see them being too happy with that, since they were also number two in Tel Aviv. It’s been only two contests since it was Spain… but I can see it happening again.

Sabrina
Sabrina
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I didn’t remember Jonida was 2nd on the running order, in my memory it was Germany (which should be…). Yeah, 2 contests in a row sound too much. It could also be Romania, if Roxen improves enough to qualify but not enough to get a good result in the semi.

What would be complicated in this year’s running order is that there are a lot of contenders, so if we see 4 or 5 of them in the first half, somebody will be seriously unsatisfied.

Darren
30 days ago

The UK finally sends its best entry since Molly in 2014, and what do the BBC do? Mess up the damn staging just like they did with Molly in 2014!
Too messy, too much going on.
Simple pyro/laser probably just would of cut it I dunno.
Some delegations need to learn that sometimes too much is not good. UK/BBC is one of those delegations.

Una
Una
30 days ago
Reply to  Darren

I agree!! Too much is not too good. And why change an already good concept from the music video. Both Romania and the UK have done it. Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia to mention a few have kept it. And it works great. No change is good just for the sake of change. Change does not mean “better”.

Darren
30 days ago
Reply to  Una

Absolutely!
They should have just kept it like the music video. Would have been way better.

Jimmy Smit
30 days ago
Reply to  Darren

Yeah, I felt that. Bored or hungover. Much more energy and interest would be good.

Luke A
Luke A
30 days ago

I think it’s quite cool, top 15 for me better than some, it’s a party on stage, that’s what we need, but that could just be me been biased been from UK myself

Paul
Paul
30 days ago
Reply to  Luke A

I agree – it’s cool. It feels British as well. It might not be understood by other countries but I think the general British public will appreciate it and relate to it

gurki loko
gurki loko
30 days ago

Oh my Thor, they really put giant trumpets on stage and thought it will do.

Trocatroc
Trocatroc
30 days ago

Gosh the staging doesn’t sound great according to descriptions. Hope I’m wrong, still rooting for James on the night!

Clara
Clara
30 days ago

Lazy effort as usual from the BBC