Saturday, 29 May 2010

TV Review: UK entry for Eurovision 2010 didn't sound good to me, unfortunately...

The 55th Eurovision Song Contest. Aired 29th May 2010, BBC One, 8pm.

Despite all the fanfare, the promotion, and not least the songwriting credentials of two-thirds of the legendary Stock, Aitken & Waterman, the United Kingdom's entry for the fifty-fifth Eurovision Song Contest, "That Sounds Good to Me," scored disastrously in the competition's results, receiving only 10 points. This pales in comparison to the winners, Germany, who ran away with this year's victory with 246 points.

Pete Waterman, a former judge on the UK's "Pop Idol," was responsible for such hits during the 1980s as Kylie Minogue's "I Should Be So Lucky" and Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up." And therein lies part of the problem. The singer, Josh Dubovie, clearly has masses of vocal potential and his enthusiasm for the stage is evident, but the song itself seems rather dated next to the sophistication of Ireland's ballad or the sheer brilliance of Turkey's very contemporary contribution, which even won over the author of this blog, despite not having any pretensions himself to enjoying hardcore rock music on a regular basis.

Which brings me to where, I think, the other part of the blame can be apportioned. Those behind the British production brought little creativity to their segment of the proceedings. Maybe this was due to a lack of funding: surely Arlene Phillips, were she on the creative team, could have treated us to a more energetic choreographic display? Or more simply, this points to a dearth of imagination among British production talent nowadays. Either way, the consequences were dire for our musical reputation.

Fundamentally, all of those involved (except Mr. Dubovie, who made the best of a bad deal) seemed to underestimate the standard of this year's competition, to our detriment. Admittedly, this year's winning performance was mediocre, and only a slight improvement on the ear-splitting singing (read shouting) of Alexander Rybak. But there were plenty of memorable, creative masterstrokes too: duelling Plexiglas pianoes; dancing motorcylists; flashy violinists - among others. And that is where the UK failed. It failed, simply, to put on a good show.

Even if the tabloids do end up slating Mr. Dubovie tomorrow for the outcome at Oslo, at least he can rest assured that he did the best he could, and the experience will stand him in good stead for the many performances he is likely to have throughout what I am sure will be his lengthy stage career. Plus, of all people, he managed to land the highly-respected Mr. Waterman as his Eurovision colleague. But sadly, this is probably little consolation for Britain ending up in last place in the Eurovision leaderboard for the third time in seven years.

Many commiserations to Mr. Dubovie from the author. And there is always next year: it can only be upwards from here on!

1 comment:

  1. I largely agree with you, actually - I think you've got it absolutely right with your analysis of why Josh failed. That said, I don't quite think that you're correct about why the other songs succeeded.

    I was personally very impressed with the winning entry. Even if it sounded a bit like Lily Allen-lite, it hit the nail on the head with what Eurovision was all about. But "duelling Plexiglass pianos" didn't guarantee success, as we saw!

    The real success story, for me, was Belgium: almost uniquely amongst all the songs, it sounded like someone had really sat down and worked out the way that their song was going to work. That was in contrast to maNga from Turkey, which seemed a little by-the-numbers for my liking.

    Still, there's always next year...

    (Edward Mills)