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United Kingdom: Meet The You Decide Hopefuls

Nearly 24-hours since the BBC dropped their Måns Zelmerlöw tweet, the artists and songs have been published in full.

Asanda – Legends

Written by Christopher Wortley, Laurell Barker & Roel Rats

Asanda first appeared on the 2013 series of Britain’s Got Talent aged just 11. However, more recently, Asanda starred as Tallulah in the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith production of Bugsy Malone, as well as taking part in the German talent show, SuperKids.

Asanda describes Legends: “It is a unique song with a very energetic rhythm and has a tribal feel to it. I think the melody and the lyrics come together to form a very beautiful and inspirational message that is relatable to everyone.”

ESCtips Verdict: I was lucky enough to hear a demo of this song, which has sort of tainted my view of the new version. The original was far more aggressive with much more contrast between vocal the trombone riffs during the latter part of Legends.  The middle-eight and closing vocal has become too soulful. Even so, this is a cracking song and wouldn’t sound out of place at Melodifestivalen. In fact, my first comment to the demo was that: “in the hands of Ace Wilder, Legends would win Melfest”. This is exactly the sort of music the BBC should be sending to Eurovision.

Goldstone – I Feel The Love

Written by Eric Lumiere, Joakim Buddee, Laura White & Roel Rats

Goldstone are a contemporary girl group comprising of Aimie, Helen and Rhiannon who are all singers and actresses with stage and TV experience.

I Feel The Love in their words: “We adore our song! It’s just so hopeful! And with everything that is happening in the world right now it really hits home.”

ESCtips Verdict: Hints of Girls Aloud and Jessie J here. It’s the sort of song people wanted O’G3NE to perform in Kyiv! Nevertheless, the good elements are let down by the plastic-y feel and clumsy middle-eight. *clap your hands* Shoot me now! If Goldstone can nail this live, I wouldn’t totally rule them out of contention.

Jaz Ellington – You

Written by Ashley Hicklin, Herman Gardarfve & Laura White

Jaz is an old-school soul singer and as a seasoned vocal arranger has been involved with music for most of his life. The public will remember Jaz from the first series of The Voice UK.

Jaz says about his song: “The song is a story of two people in a relationship. The person telling the story compares everything his partner does, to the one he truly loves. It’s beautiful and yet sad at the same time, I just love it. #audiblegold.”

ESCtips Verdict: I think Jaz wins the battle of the boys. You feels authentic and paired with Jaz’s crisp vocals, it could be in the mix for victory if the upbeat songs lose their clarity during the live show. Hozier and Sam Smith influences here, but as a contest song, it really should have gone full gospel to create a mesmerising finish.

Liam Tamne – Astronaut

Written by Ashley Hicklin, Jacob Pedersen, Jeanette Bonde & Rune Braager

Singer and actor Liam has appeared in world-famous musicals such as Wicked, Hairspray, Les Misérables, The Phantom Of The Opera and The Rocky Horror Show to name a few. He’s also another alumnus of The Voice UK and will be one Mans was filmed remarking “that’s quite high.”

Liam says about his song: “It’s a great song and I believe many people can relate to it. The message will resonate with a lot of people, as we all need that someone at some point in our lives to pick us up and whisk us away.”

ESCtips Verdict: Liam will struggle in this lineup. The tropical elements have burnished what is a rather insipid song.

RAYA – Crazy

Written by Emil Rosendal Lei, Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir & Samir Salah Elshafie

RAYA is a multi-talented star, having performed all over the world in some of the biggest venues, she also has experience acting on the stage and on TV, as well as being a trained dancer, vocal coach and DJ.

RAYA says about her song: “It’s extremely catchy and upbeat with a really fresh and commercial feel. It’s all about that new guy or girl who you can’t get out of your head no matter how hard you try.”

ESCtips Verdict: Song two at Melodifestivalen performed by Adrijana or something along those lines. It’s a perfectly good album track, that like some of the You Decide entries, would make the Radio 1 playlist and do quite well on the charts if performed by a mainstream artist. It’s current, but it’s not a competition song.

SuRie – Storm

Written by Nicole Blair, Gil Lewis & Sean Hargreaves

SuRie is an actress and singer having starred as Fontaine in the 20th Anniversary of Les Misérables. She is also no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest, appearing as a backing singer for Loïc Nottet in 2015 and Blanche at Eurovision 2017.

SuRie says about her song: “Storm is a smash! It’s a dynamic combination of a more intimate, piano lead, singer-songwriter style start, building into this anthemic, soulful pop party!”

ESCtips Verdict: There are big Scandie influences in Storm. It starts off sounding like a Mariette song, but then the chorus kicks in and it suddenly channels vintage Timotej. Not that there’s anything wrong with Timotej – they knew their audience. The soulful middle-eight and close are the best bit. It’s just a shame they were so lazy with the chorus.

Conclusion:

Legends is the best song in the selection, but it could easily be the worst live performance of the six. Jaz could mop up most of the authentic and best live performance votes, so this selection is far from being a done deal. I wouldn’t totally rule out Goldstone either, given I Feel The Love’s modern and uplifting sound. Again, the trio’s ability to deliver a live performance will be key. They sound fine in this showreel.

As we witnessed last year, an apparent favourite can fall well short of expectations when their styling, staging and suitability to the song is wrong.

About Gavster

Owner & Chief Editor   I’m a qualified designer and the official geek in the crew, dedicating most of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

14 comments

  1. So listened to them. Jaz has potential to reach the top 10, won’t be anything like him at ESC and will stand out mile with that. a second half draw and good performance and the UK can feel cautiously optimistic of a good result this year. the rest are mediocre and won’t escape the bottom 5.

  2. An improvement on the last two years in terms of the depth of quality, but there’s nothing here that can do anything particularly special in Portugal. I think Godstone have less that can go wrong for them on the night so for now I fancy them to win.

  3. Another poor selection from the BBC.Zero risk taking and generic.
    Iv had a wager so far on SuRie.I think she is probably the most talented of the bunch and likely to deliver live.The others should beat her if their live is strong,but there are question marks.Il likely look to the others in running.
    Ladbrokes priced up,but were sending me to traders and then offering a tenner instead.I remember when they used to be a bookie.Why price?

  4. Yeah a slight improvement, but still nothing that really inspires. I get the whole kind of ‘baby steps’ approach the BBC are taking to rebuilding the contest’s profile from absolute thin air but this really feels more like year by year they’re putting one toe in front of the other than a foot.

    I’m sure all of these songs will be revamped to some extent after selection because none of them sound finished to me. In short, I’d go with Goldstone, Jaz or SuRie in that order.

    Asanda isn’t doing it for me at all. It’s a Touch My Fire for 2018 trends. There wasn’t really much wrong with Javine’s final performance back in the day, especially when you compare the performance to Helena Paparizou’s visually, or even Kalomira a few years later. We really were putting our own twist on what was doing well in the contest at the time. It’s easy to cry ‘racist’ but I just don’t think this kind of non-melodic R&B catches on in the continent like it does in the UK and America. I think we’d be falling into a trap to send her.

    Then again, nor am I really a fan of Scandie-pandering with SuRie, which is why I was against Karl William Lund going for us in 2016, but I have to concede that it’s an acceptable option with the arrangement given a kick up the arse.

    Goldstone sound the most ready to go to me, and it sounds refreshingly normal for a potential ESC entry considering the UK has sent a schziophrenic streak of entries, zipping around like the awkward nobody at the party, overhauling their whole identity year after year until they fit in. Whereas you look at a country like Denmark and we sort of always know what to expect from them. They’re no OG3NE and ‘I Feel the Love’ still needs a post-NF revamp but it’s a good base to build on.

    Jaz’s song is alright, but a bit all over the place. I couldn’t quite distinguish verse from chorus on first listen, and the lyrics are kind of confusing. It’s a nod to Salvador but in a bluesy British soul way, but if chosen, they need to tidy it up and give it more of a natural flow and yes – probably throw a bit more gospel in there. Nothing too over the top X Factory cliché, just something to give it a gentle lift, like Emeli Sande’s Breathing Underwater.

  5. Catriona colville

    Gavin, I feel you are being extremely generous with your words. I think this year’s selection is much worse than last year. I’m not sure any of these songs are anything other than bottom 5 fodder. “Storm” is somewhat competent, but the rest are mostly bland, generic tuneless trash with lyrics that would embarrass someone who had English as their 4th language.

    The only reason I think “Legends” will win is that seems to be the overwhelming fan favourite, but I don’t see the appeal, and think it would annihilated (especially by the juries) in the contest proper.

    Goldstone have the worst song by far. Dated as hell and I worry about their live performance.

    I’m getting more desperate for good songs from countries this year. France, Armenia and Estonia are the only ones I have hope with, and only if they select well.

  6. My simple view on how the UK will do is simple compare Lucy’s jury score to last year. right now bar potentially one song the rest are destined for a bottom 6-7 finish in the televote so the simple question is can any of these song’s crack the top 10 in the jury? For me the only package that has potential to do any of this (subject to a live performance) is Jaz and that is he completely outperform’s the song and gets a favourable draw. I think bar him the UK are doomed again, non imo have the potential to be drastically improved with staging unlike the previous two. Jaz I just feel has something about him.

    • Yeah but you gotta remember the winner will likely get a revamp to the song, so it’s a bit early to say for sure the televoters won’t like any of them.

      • Very true, but listening to them while I can see the televote improve it’s only going to improve marginally imo like from 24-22 to like 18-17 imo plus I can’t see many of any matching Lucy’s jury score.

  7. There is one of those songs that is just miles better than any of the others, and its not the favourite!

  8. It’s worrying that after three plus listens none of these songs stand out particularly. In the current political climate unless the UK sent Adele or Ed Sheeran, I can’t imagine anything escaping bottom 6 or 7 in the televote.

    In some ways Legends would be the most adventurous entry – but I share the reservations about the singer, the appeal of the genre of music, the lack of melody, and hints of a dated 2000s ESC sound.

    Storm had the most memorable chorus and has the feel of a ‘competition song’. However, I agree with Ben about the production. It has a bit of a 1990s feel about it which isn’t good.

  9. Interesting as ever to read other people’s comments. To me it seems like a straight shoot out between Raya and Asanda.

    I’m always over positive on the UKs chances. As such over the last few years I’ve read comments from certain contributors who seem pretty much on the money. For this reason Gavin’s thoughts are particularly interesting.

    I think Asanda will win the selection but if she sings poorly on the night and Raya does a good job then I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Crazy selected.

    Not sure if this is right but surely they match the song to the singer? If this is true and Legends is the favoured song (which I think it is) then they must be confident in Asanda because they could very easily switched the singers over for Legends and Crazy.

    Interested to know others thoughts on the point above.

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