Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Historical Support Strength
This is a refreshingly encouraging move from the BBC and I wholly endorse this new unsigned, underground approach to finding their artist. With some clichéd improvements, top-10 might turn into top-5.
The BBC have officially presented Molly Smitten-Downes as the UK’s representative in Copenhagen. The 26 year old Leicestershire girl will hope her song, Children of the Universe, will improve the UK’s run of poor results.
I like many other Eurovision fans was glued to the BBC red-button service last night. Trouble was I was simultaneously speaking to Tobbe Ek and Tobias Larsson in our Melodifestivalen podcast.
My first thought was how much Molly’s song reminded me of Hanna Sky’s Hope from the Finnish national selection, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu. Both songs preach positive slogans and feature prominent backing vocals. It’s that last element I’d like to approach first.
I’m sure people will agree that the sudden “oh-eh-eh” and “oh-oh-oh-ohhh’s” are rather distracting and disrupt the gradual build of the introduction. Molly does dive right in with the Power to the People exclamation, but for an introduction, I find it too overpowering and self-assured.
I’ve spent the morning considering what I’d replace the vocal stabs with and I have to admit defeat. Therefore, I decided to stick with the Power to the People hook, but seek to cool the ferocity with which the backing singers attack it, while trying to add an element of ethereal wave-like synths or strings to soften the blow. Then, I was suddenly reminded of Cinematic Orchestra’s All That You Give, which features distinctive harp flourishes during the introduction. If you listen, Children of the Universe opens with a small, very brief harp scale. In my opinion, the high, twinkly sound of a harp will ease the impact of Molly’s introduction. I would also add the harp during the verses and cool-down on the approach to the chorus.
I do not wish to sound negative about the UK’s song, but given the effort the BBC have put into this year’s entry, I find myself feeling more passionate about the UK’s chances. Anyway, I digress.
My next alteration would be to areas of the bridge and eventual transition to the climax.
When the drummer comes back in at 2:12, I would like him add more bass kicks on the approach to the climax.
Currently the climax starts as 2:30. I prefer to add another layer to the bridge to leave people yearning for the climax, so an extra moment of sizzle will hopefully give the viewers a much needed goose-bump moment. My proposal is: from 2:30 to 2:40 I would like a stripped back section where the refrain is repeated and accompanied by the drummer playing a simple 4×4 bass kick. The backing singers would do the clichéd clapping over their heads too. Then once the audience are well sizzled, there’s an orchestral boom, key change moment and the climax continues right through to the end of the song.
I hope you followed that!? They might need to rejig one of the verses to allow for a double-layered bridge, but in my opinion, this might be the difference between top-10 and top-5. It might be a corny approach, but the song’s message is rather stereotypical for Eurovision.
If you watch A Friend in London’s New Tomorrow, I think you’ll appreciate the anthemic effect I’m trying to create.
From a staging approach, I’m drawn to Coldplay’s brightly coloured graffiti motifs used for Mylo Xyloto, in particular the back of Chris Martin’s piano. I think it echoes the messages contained within the song.
With Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto as one example, the Indian festival of colour, Holi, is another influence I’d like to see added to the presentation. The BBC have a history of creating dowdy, uninteresting stage shows, but I believe that Children of the Universe presents the perfect opportunity to be bold.
This is a refreshingly encouraging move from the BBC and I wholly endorse this new unsigned, underground approach to finding their artist. Well done!
Are the UK heading for the left-hand-side of the scoreboard?
- Final Performance
- Studio Version
Highest score (since 2004): 173 (2009 – Jade Ewen – It’s My Time)
Lowest score (since 2004): 10 (2010 – Josh Dubovie – That Sounds Good To Me)
Average final position: 18th
Average final score: 42 points
Austria – 5.2
Ireland – 4.9
Italy – 4.7
Malta – 4.6
Portugal – 4.3
Israel – 4.1
Switzerland – 4.1