Home / Song Reviews / Eurovision 2017 / United Kingdom: Lucie Jones – Never Give Up On You

United Kingdom: Lucie Jones – Never Give Up On You

The BBC's Eurovision: YouDecide! selection show has just yielded the fourth entry for Kiev. In what was a typically poorly produced show, Lucie Jones won the combined public and jury vote with the Emmelie de Forest penned, Never Give Up On You. On the night, Lucie was the only act able to sing live and command the stage, even though the presentation and sound mix was atrocious. The BBC styled the poor girl like she was in her mid-30s, wearing a dowdy, burgundy velvet dress with flat, frizzy hair. The camera framing was also off, with too much time dedicated to showing a…
Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Cohesiveness of Package

Better!

The UK has taken a decent step forward with this revamped version of Never Give Up On You.

User Rating: 2.82 ( 38 votes)

The BBC’s Eurovision: YouDecide! selection show has just yielded the fourth entry for Kiev.

In what was a typically poorly produced show, Lucie Jones won the combined public and jury vote with the Emmelie de Forest penned, Never Give Up On You.

On the night, Lucie was the only act able to sing live and command the stage, even though the presentation and sound mix was atrocious. The BBC styled the poor girl like she was in her mid-30s, wearing a dowdy, burgundy velvet dress with flat, frizzy hair. The camera framing was also off, with too much time dedicated to showing a pitch black audience. Luckily, Lucie won by virtue of the other acts being so poor.

Never Give Up on You should be easy to stage, but based on the You Decide! concept, I fear the BBC will once again miss an open goal. The view here is that Lucie needs to wear a light dress to emphasise the purity and lightness of the melody, while letting the LED backdrop and lighting narrate the subtle changes and progression in the song. On that point, the song does need reworking to be much gentler at the start, perhaps opening with a harp(?), then building with more orchestral layers as the song progresses. In current form, there’s not enough contrast between the verses and chorus. Likewise, Lucie needs to start soft and build without sounding too shrill at the end.

Back to the camerawork, Lucie needs to follow and interact with a steady cam while chucking in some Emmelie de Forest arm gestures, as she was way too static at the national final.

UPDATED VERSION REVIEW 

The UK has taken a decent step forward with this revamped version of Never Give Up On You. The trance-esque synths during the chorus are sublime and they give the song a contemporary twist. Then the Massive Attack beat that comes in after the first chorus adds pace and lift the original version seemed to lack.

Visually, the BBC are on to something here. I think filming Lucie in ultra close-up is the way to go, giving the staging a cinematic/music video quality. I would even recommend they try and recreate those plasma balls in Kyiv. Looking at Jon Henrik Fjällgren’s Melfest performance, there’s definitely a way to add the 3D effect into the live feed, which would really help the UK stand out.

A word of caution, don’t put Lucie in that frumpy white dress; go with the black dress and windswept hair.

Can the UK make the left-hand-side of the scoreboard in May?

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29 comments

  1. I don’t think it’s too bad, possibly some decent jury scores, for a decent televoting and (‘ok’) success:
    – The staging needs to lift the song (if not, probably bottom places)
    – Smashing the last notes
    – The rest of the field needs to be mainly uptempo

  2. Use the time between now and mid-March to sand off the edges and add some lush strings to make it less morose, then try to emulate some Pannecoucke style staging and we could do alright. If it’s too standard and comes after a big gun in the final running order then it’ll do a John Karayiannis.

  3. I’m probably at the optimistic end of predictions but depending on the staging and how many ballads are in the final I think we could be looking at 7-15th, which would be mainly down to the juries. As a composition I think it’s stronger than 2009, but a weaker hook and no ALW on piano for kudos.

  4. I’m with Hippo. I think it’ll do pretty well (for the UK). Very good vocal on the TV. The fact that it’s a bit downbeat isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    Depends on the other songs obviously but 7th to 15th seems about right to me.

  5. First off the best performance on the night won. Don’t think there can be much of an argument over that. But it’s one boring song to my ears .The only thing that it has going for it is it might get a decent jury vote. I can see it finishing bottom of the tele vote no matter what slot it gets in the running order. Bottom half finish again for the UK.
    On another note the whole program was a farce from start to finish and I thought RTE were bad here.

    • I thought she had the best vocals. But her delivery was cold and there was no movement or attitude. Best overall performance for me was Olivia. Still think that was the UK’s best bet and not finishing bottom 5.

  6. On the night ,obvious a very talented singer and deserved winner on her delivery.However as for the BBC……Terrible production.Camera work a disaster for everybody.Staging shocking.The three on the panel a complete joke.What is the point of a panel that doesnt say you were crap?.The old “what works at ESC” er did you miss Ukraine winning?.As usual making it all a big joke.They want to get rid of the sycophants and get some gamblers on the “panel” if they really want one.
    Lucie was very good and looks a genuine artist.In the wrong dress,with the wrong camera work,with the wrong lighting,with the wrong staging,with a ridiculous presentation,etc etc.
    Im also convinced some acts were there for “diversity” given the vocals were shocking and can no way of been chosen on talent.OGAE should be nowhere near our selection ever again.
    As for Lucie,intimate staging,walking with the camera and no silly gimmicks will get the best result.

  7. Well, that show really was a car crash from start to finish. Having a montage clip featuring Loreen, Dami, the Common Linnets and Mans as comparison and then LLPP made it even more tragic.
    The best song and performance won in my opinion and at least they have a capable singer for once. It might get some jury love, but I cannot see this escaping the televote bottom 5 no matter how they rework it or stage it, it’s just painfully dull essentially. Czech Republic from last year comes to mind

  8. Its actually a decent entry but it really lacks a hook and in a strong field that will be the detriment of the UK’s chances, if this become’s a ballad year I think this will struggle to get into the top 20 as it’s not the type of ballad that will stand out in a see of them. Early day’s but I would say the realistic target for the UK should be around 18th or so, maybe higher or even lower we just don’t know till we get a few more entries.

  9. I think the UK has something here…. At the moment it’s nothing much and I worry if Emmelie De Forest is too arrogant to admit the flaws in the song and enrich it with a strong drum backbeat or something. But this song does have a very high ceiling which i think everyone sees. Her dress tonight did not suit the song but with haunting staging and more professional camerawork this could produce a respectable result. Saying that it is the BBC and enjoy disappointing us at home

  10. Just like to thank Hippo for the advice. Laid off my stake on Holly yesterday, and was able to limit the damage of the Lucie win that I honestly didn’t expect to happen.

    There was a point Ben made after the Monday reveal, that Lucie would give the Beeb the opportunity to stage something a lot more understated and softer for Kyiv, and I agree. There isn’t really much wrong with this at all. It’s a standard ballad performed very well, with the visual presentation kept to a minimum. I’d also like to see the instrumental build ramped up. I don’t want to speculate on possible placings, but all I’d say is that off of what we saw tonight, the UK could have done a lot worse. The song is bare, like a blank canvas. Now they need to get the brushes out and start painting.

  11. I agree with most of the comments here. Lucie was the best performer on the night and in a field of similar quality songs the best live performance took it. However, the performance (which was good) didn’t quite elevate the song to a new level that would give genuine grounds for optimism for a good result in Kiev.

    As others have already said, the camera work was poor and Lucie was in the wrong dress. I would add that the heavy red lipstick made her mouth look funny (although as my wife would testify I am the last person to be giving anyone fashion advice!). I also thought her performance was more theatre than television orientated and the vocal came across a bit forced in a few instances. These are all points that can be improved upon between now and May.

    As Durham mentions, the performance needs more intimate camera work. I would also say it requires more stillness from Lucie to give her more strength and stage presence. And like almost everyone else, I’m still not convinced that Never Give Up On You wouldn’t benefit from a fuller production which builds as the song progresses.

  12. She said on BBC Breakfast this morning that they’re going to tweak the song, which I suppose is good news.

    • They should somehow add something to make it less forgettable than the way it is now, otherwise I wouldn’t know why anyone would pick up the phone for this particular ballad, whereas there might be 10 more similar songs to choose from.

  13. I just get the feeling this has been underestimated, especially in the likely jury appeal. The song actually has a lovely melody which hits first time and Lucie is a bloody good singer which is very important.
    Given that everything about the production and staging in the final was dire it still came across really well and deservedly won.
    There is so much that can be done to improve the basic package, that if ( a big if, given recent history) but ‘if’ the presentation, staging and camerawork are given the right treatment, and the song just tweaked a little to make the ending stand our more, well this could be a left side of the board song, or even a top 10 if everything, including the draw, goes in our favour.
    Initial comments over the net are pretty favourable and I think this could do OK. Cue BBC doing an Engelbert style disaster staging and it ends up bottom 5, but currently I see this as possible the best finish since Blue.

    • I agree the song has potential and could have jury appeal. The problem is the televote – like some other countries with no diaspora the UK is at a disadvantage here. And then this year there is the added unknown Brexit factor. Unless the BBC make the song so compelling that voters can’t ignore it (unlikely!), a scenario of finishing just outside the bottom 5 may be the best UK can do on the televote. Based on 2016 that would mean the UK getting around 20 televote points. To finish top 10 overall would require around 180 points. That would mean needing 160 jury points which (based on last year) would require the UK to come top 3 with the jury. Even an overall left hand side finish would require 130 jury points which would mean the UK placing about 6th with juries.

  14. Bearing in mind where we are with song choices the UK are looking better and better….. Top 10 becoming a distinct possibility.

    Blimey…. who’d have thought it?

  15. https://youtu.be/ac5xNUfzCY4
    Revamped UK entry. Definitely an improvement. It at least sounds like it belongs in this decade, and I think the Juries will like this.

  16. I’ve added a few thoughts on the UK. I think they’ve taken a good step forward here, both musically and visually.

    • Songfestivalwerk!

      I thought the base melody has always been nice. I think Lucie is a charming, emotional performer who vocally is Always spot-on. You could already say thatduring the British National Final. Before this revamp, I thought it had a fair chance of ending on the left hand side of the scoreboard. But now I think we should really consider this for TOP 7.

      It’s funny though. This year the better entries -again- seem to originate from the ‘classic Eurovision nations’ (Nordics, but now also Western Europe).

  17. Could it possible? The UK has a decent song?

    The “facts” to me seem:

    – She’s a great singer
    – They have a bit of clue how to stage this (based on the video)
    – The revamp is excellent…. not what most if any expected but all the better for that

    It terms of songs, for me, UK and Belgium best. However, still likely that Italy will win.

    UK= Top 5 Jury/ Top 15= Televote/ Top 8 overall

    Interesting times.

  18. I’m not on board with the UK revamp. Given how many ballads we’ve got now, what makes this stand out any more?

  19. Ben,

    It seems to me that they’re aren’t that many different types of song….

    She’s a great singer…. it sounds very different from most of the more old fashioned sounding ballads. I also think that because of the revamp (trance section/ drum beat) it can be staged brilliantly.

    I note of caution to myself as this stage… I always want the UK entry to be great so possibly I’m being biased! But this time….. I just don’t think I am!

    Have you seen Chris Bellis on Sofabet’s comments….. ?

  20. Very interesting comments on the revamp. The feedback on here and on Youtbube seems to be that the changes to the song have been positive.

    The direction in which Lucie’s team have gone, with an electronic arrangement, is probably the right one. I dreaded they were going to add lush strings and make it sound as old-fashioned as Malta.

    But maybe the execution was not as good as the intention. Having heard the revamped song half a dozen times now, for me personally it’s not totally working. The beefed up backing to the final chorus does work well, but elsewhere??? I don’t know if it sounds too much, or it’s trying too hard, or the new backing track doesn’t quite fit the song, or the fuller production is detracting from Lucie’s vocal (which is probably the best in the contest and the UK entry’s key selling point).

    Like wef I want the UK entry to do well, but if I’m honest with myself, I’m not sure the revamp is lifting it to levels that would give genuine grounds for optimism for, say a top 10 finish. Maybe the song itself just isn’t strong enough.

    The biggest hope is that when Lucie performs it live in Kiev she once again takes it to a higher level, like she did in the national final.

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