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United Kingdom: You Decide! Lineup Published

This year’s You Decide! national final lineup has just been revealed on Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 show. Last year we had a Leona Lewis penned cast off in the lineup, but this year we have a song from a Eurovision winner; none other than Emmelie de Forest.

This Friday’s winner will be decided by public vote and a special panel of experts(?) consisting of Bruno Tonioli, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and CeCe Sammy.

X-Factor judges’ house contestant, Olivia Garcia’s Freedom Hearts has a modern, pop production, but it lacks definition and balls. It’s a Melfest also-ran that just sneaks to andra chansen, however, it’s the best of the current sounding songs. Holly Brewer’s Wish I Loved You More, has more power and greater impact in the chorus and middle eight, but still only comes 17th in the grand final.

Raising the bar, the Emmelie de Forest song, Never Give Up On You, sounds the most compelling, but fails to build into something momentous. I’m told by a reliable source that Lucie Jones’ song has undergone a ‘make-under’ since the demo. I suggest giving it a makeover, adding cinematic orchestral layers as the song progresses.

Danyl and Salena are best left alone. Their songs would represent a poor choice for the UK.

Last up was Nate Simpson, our fifth X-Factor alumni with the soulful What Are We Made Of. It’s one that could shine on Friday, but at this point, I think we’ll be sending Lucy or Olivia to Kiev, so odds of 4.0 and 11.0 respectively is great value.

Who do you think will win on Friday?

Odds correct as of 12:20 23/01/2017

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  1. Lucie would be my choice. I’ve been wanting us to send a simple piano ballad, preferably with folk overtones just to see how the BBC might handle the staging for it, and because that kind of simplicity has been a relatively easy sell here over the last few years. (Read All About It etc.) I agree it could do with a few more layers though. Dunno if the BBC will allow anything to be done with the song if and when it’s picked, but there’s definitely time to do a sneaky revamp this year.

    Nate would be my second choice. I know it sounds suspiciously OGAE-picked but I like his voice, it’s not what I’d expect to hear on a slightly theatrical bit of schmaltz like that, and it’s got a bit of progression at least, unlike the dire ‘Miracle’ last year.

    Don’t really like Freedom Hearts much, but I can tell it’s “Bri’ish,” to quote Simon Cowell. It’s kind of sassy and distinct in that way and it grows on you after 2 or 3 listens, but we’ve only got one performance in May. The chorus is a bit awkward but it could sound better live if they do something with the vocal arrangement.

    I’ll pass on the others. Salena had promise but then delivered a shitty chorus.

  2. Any idea on the running order on Friday?

  3. Id send Sophie Ellis-Bextor and scrap all of these.Lets face it,they are all terrible.This proves the BBC really has given up on ESC.The biggest search ever?.Middle of the road rubbish with no reason to vote for any of them.
    Lets face it,Lucie is the only hope to salvage something.Its only 25% finished though.The piano intro should be taking the song into a powerful structure,or a haunting melody,but it goes nowhere.It needs a massive re-vamp.Lucie is a talented singer however and when left with 6 horrible songs id always choose the most talented artist and work on the song.Will the televoters think like that though?
    You really do have to ask yourself how the BBC can come up with such a selection.Where is the variety?.The BBC need to lose ESC,but they wont give it up because its so cheap for them.

    • To be fair, most successful Eurovision entries these days ARE middle of the road. They’ve clearly deliberately chosen songs that feel Eurovisiony. That might not necessarily be the right approach but there’s logic to it.

  4. BBC have provided a *slightly* better batch of songs than last year, a more contemporary bunch anyway, which is encouraging. There’s at least three reasonably good singers, and as for the songs, I think we’re looking at two, possibly three contenders for Friday, although none seem to have the firepower needed to finish top ten in Kyiv.

    My pick would be Holly. Was very impressed by this. Ken Bruce said that she had toured with Jess Glynne, and you can really hear her influence coming through with vocals and the arrangement. It’s got a good build, the choruses pack a punch and the crescendo is probably the strongest out of any song here. I think this has a lot of potential, the sort of song that Sweden could stage into the Top 5 at Eurovision, although I can’t trust the BBC to tap into it’s potential knowing how badly they’ve squandered opportunities to do well before.

    Olivia is another entrant that has something going for her. When I jotted down my notes on this, I thought it sounded decent enough, and better than the last two UK entries, but being song 1, I sort of dismissed it thinking the true contenders would be revealed later only for the last three to turn out to be duds. It’s a bit too stop-start, but the song works on some levels, and overall could be a solid choice for the ‘Bri’ish’ entry as Ben’s said.

    Lucy’s number is very underwhelming and it’ll be interesting to see how much Beeb push this with Emmelie on the writing credits. It’s just very plodding, and doesn’t quite have the emotional pull you’d expect from a ballad. Perhaps, the live performance will lift it more than others, and the jury may latch on to it by virtue of being stylistically standalone.

    Overall, the format seems to be going in the right direction. We can’t expect You Decide to give the UK a winner in it’s second year, but I’d expect whatever’s chosen to finish in the top 20.

    • There’s been a lot of complaining already about how crap the lineup is, and I’ll be first to admit that it’s nothing special either, but I see it as an improvement. If the the UK are to succeed consistently at ESC they’re not going to do it overnight by internally plucking whatever has-been or rank amateur decides to show up at the Beeb’s door in November. There has to be a long term strategy, not just for winning, but for changing the perception of the contest, just so that credible musicians can begin to see it as a viable option in the first place. I’m growing weary of seeing people bash the process. The BBC have added a jury, the songs may be generic, but they are more credible than last year’s, and they’ve put the show on in a bigger arena and on a bigger channel. Some fans and punters want a Melodifestivalen style show at the click of a button, but forget that it took eight years of consistently building up the quality of the show by Bjorkmann before it started to get Sweden decent results at the contest. Remember this is year 2 for the UK.

    • Iv backed Holly Black n Blue with Corals at 7s.After reading what you said about her i went over them again and agree i was too harsh discounting her and the song.I missed the good points on it that you highlight and 7s seems too high given others seem like works in progress.Always good to read others opinions on here and then question your own again.

  5. Oh it’s definitely between the two guys. Danyl’s song is a bit cheesy but I have a feeling it will come alive on stage because he is a great performer. I think people will remember him from TXF as well. It’d be foolish to rule him out. Also the gender mix goes in his favour.

    The safest choice would probably be Nate though. A classy ballad with simple staging probably is our best choice in the absence of a true contender.

    Overall quality is slightly better than last year.. baby steps.

    Lucie’s song is completely forgettable and I think Olivia’s lack of experience will count against her on the night.

    Holly’s got pipes and the song is a respectable enough Azerbaijan entry but it’s not the one. }

    Salena is actually my favourite of the girls but I fear she won’t be able to cut it live.

  6. I don’t think the line-up is as bad as a lot of people are suggesting. It’s dissapointing that there isn’t anything better but it’s not a disgraceful attempt considering the Uk’s recent history. The fact there are entries which could come last at Eurovision is poor and yes the Uk should be doing so much better and be able to recruit a higher standard than xfactor rejects but at least the bbc is (very slowly) going in the right direction.

    Live performance pending, Never give up on you should take the jury. The public vote is hard to second guess and realistically could go four ways. I’m struggling to see any consensus in people’s opinion on their favourites. Running order will be a good indicator and will either throw it wide open or make it pretty safe in my opinion. At this point I do expect Lucie to win and she is the only chance of a good result.

  7. Olivia has the best song, Holly probably the best vocals. If the televoters don’t troll, then it should be between those 2.

    Salena’s song should not have made it this far. Ear-shatteringly bad song, and it’s obvious she can’t sing.

  8. Olivia or Lucie for me. I could live with Holly if she can really belt out the big notes in the song.

    The other three are utter bobbins, and knowing what this country is like, we’ll end up sending one of those, yay… :/

  9. 17th wouldn’t be a bad result to be fair, building blocks.

  10. Before looking at any of the other comments my first impressions are (1) the standard is higher than last year (2) there’s not a weak song among them (3) sadly none of them stood out either – all hovering around the 3 out of 5 mark. It took 3 listens before any of them became remotely memorable.

    I would say all songs are in with a chance of being chosen on Friday depending on live vocal, artists’ stage presence and staging.

    If I had to choose, the best bets are (1) Lucie Jones – Never Give Up on You – she has a really nice voice but the production has the feel of a demo tape/acoustic version. To me it needs more instrumentation to take the song to a climax and (2) Salena Mastroianni – I Don’t Wanna Fight. Probably has the best hook and is the most stageable – for example they could do something fun with jousts of different weapons on a bright LED screen (knowing the BBC they’ll go for a comedy drummer -make that two comedy drummers -mounted on plinths)

    However, based on what UK jurors and televoters tend to go for, I suspect it will be between Salena and Danyl Johnson’s Light Up The World. I feel the latter will be a mistake as (another commentator puts it) it harks back to UK 1990s glories and Katrina and the Waves, while Eurovision has long since moved on.

    • Salena has the only song I would consider complete trash. She clearly can’t sing, the song is insanely basic, with garbage lyrics that seem to constantly repeat like a DJ is scratching like mad. I think it’ll be a car crash live.

  11. I think it’ll be either Holly Brewer or Nate Simpson. The first one is the stuff that modern British pop music should sound like. In a way it reminds me a bit of UK 2011, but the melody is much better.

    Then there’s Nate. In the tradition of Imaani, John Legend and Seal. But also try to listen to recent albums from Taio Cruz, Tinchy Stryder, Estelle and Leona Lewis.

    Although I think Holly Brewer has the best produced song, has this Swedish vibe, and feels utterly contemporary, I think Nate Simpson’s entry is the most pure and sincere effort. It’s emotional, touches some of today’s geopolitical shit we’re living in (opening with “We build these walls, we watch them fall”).

    On top of that Nate is vocally top-notch. He has this big vocal reach, in the lower and higher parts. And, most importantly, he has got charisma.

    Nate Silver with “What Are We Made Of” could outperform Jade Ewen’s 5th place from 2009. It’s what I see as a damn good British entry, and not as some Swedish copy-paste stuff.

    Lucie Jones is highly overrated. Her name recognition would slightly work in Scandinavia. But let’s not forget the British ignorance towards Eurovision. Both televoters and juries will see this as a rather lacklustre, boring and uninspired attempt of a ‘very unknown’ Emmelie DeForest.

  12. for me lucie and olivia are in the running to win. one a over Broadway kind of song which i think simple staging can appeal to the jury the other is very’ children of the universe’ feel that my resonate with the public with the ‘times’ we are in.

    TBH, non of them are wrong choices. most of the songs can work and most of them are competant singers. staging and voice quality is paramount. the stage last year was too small of give any of the act a better staging. a bigger stage can help.

    p.s. i lied nate song is a wrong choice. remember san marino last year before the disco.

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