It’s been 20 years since Katrina sung into the hearts of Europe and reached the top spot for the U.K. That was our latest win and while we have sent some great entries since, the dross unfortunately outweighs any entries of value. This year the BBC have continued with the Eurovision: You Decide format and hope to achieve a better result than last year, when Joe and Jake failed to crack the top 20.
Tonight sees 6 artists take to the stage in a bid to win their ticket to Kyiv in May, for Eurovision 2017. All of the artists have a connection to X-Factor, having either auditioned for the talent show or reached the live finals. Many fans have discredited these performers for having been on talent shows and why can’t the U.K. send a bigger artist? I get irritated with this thinking, Sweden the third largest exporter of music in the world have won the contest twice in the last 5 years with artists that participated in these talent shows. Yes the songs being produced in Sweden are on a different level, but the artists from both countries should be shown some respect.
With all of this in mind, here are my reviews of this years hopefuls in Eurovision: You Decide.
Olivia Garcia- “Freedom Hearts”
A typical R’n’B ballad written in part by Polina Gagarina’s 2015 songwriter Gabriel Alares. We know Olivia can sing live, she made it to Judges House’s on the most recent series of the X-Factor. The song has a decent build, yet personally for me it does take a while to get going. The best aspect of this song is the production, it is fantastic, although superb production is not all, the lyrics are weak in points, including the title, this is a decent entry in its current form, but maybe just short of a winner.
My score: 7/10
Holly Brewer- “I Wish I Loved You More”
Another R’n’B ballad and not too dissimilar to that of Olivia’s. For me though this is a better representation of the genre (at least in this selection). What elevates this song above the other is that it is more instant in its approach to hook you into the song. Holly’s voice is fantastic in the studio version, the song offers the dynamism I look for in a ballad to make it more arresting. The bridge of the song and the last 30 minutes lends itself to a big arena setting and if she can pull it off on Friday I would be happy to see her win.
My score: 8/10
Lucie Jones- “Never Give Up On You”
Written by Emmilie De Forest, the 2013 Eurovision winner, this song above all others was the most anticipated entry of the year in the U.K. We knew a few weeks before the release of the final six entries that she was in the U.K. and that she had submitted a song into the National final, so we all put two and two together. I was equally excited to see what she would produce, and while I can’t be to disappointed in the entry as she isn’t a ‘one genre artist’, I was expecting something along the lines of “Only Teardrops” or “Never Alone”, what we received was a piano ballad. While it is a nice ballad, that is all it is. It offers no real lift or dynamism, that Holly’s song provides. Lucie is a great vocalist having went from the 2009 X factor live Finals to the West End stage. She deserves a stronger song.
My score: 5.5/10
Salena Mastroianni- “I Don’t Wanna Fight”
Selena offers us the most instant song, it has a great beat, very modern and her voice is great on the studio version. It has a tropical vibe and very danceable yet there is one major set back. The lyrics are not exactly complimentary to the track. A upbeat dance song juxtaposed with the refrain “we should put down our weapons” does not sit well with me. Now I must say, with this being an up-tempo song, in a sea of mid-tempo ballads it could do better than I believe it will, but it is still not my winner.
My score: 5.5/10
Nate Simpson- “What Are We Made Of”
This starts off very much, a song from a musical, then it quickly changes into a gentle, 90’s male ballad, not to different to that of last years “You Decide” finalist Matthew James, who sang “A Better Man”. It is a beautiful song and Nate has a great voice, this is just too dated to make any impact in the contest.
My score: 5/10
Danyl Johnson- “Light Up the World”
The only other mid/up-tempo song in the mix comes from 2009 X-Factor Semi-Finalist Danyl Johnson. Danyl is a great vocalist, as he demonstrated on the show, even if he did piss off the late great, Whitney Houston. He sings with every facet of his being and you know he will do it on this song too. It is an interesting take on gospel music, not as up-tempo as Lighthouse X from Eurovision 2016 (Denmark), yet just as cheesy. The bridge of the song is good and could get the crowd going, but I don’t know if it is strong enough to resonate with televoters who will only be listening to the song and can’t get the feel of the live performance in the theatre. Still this is a decent effort, and not out of the running.
My score: 6.5/10
- Holly Brewer- “I Wish I Loved You More”
- Olivia Garcia- “Freedom Hearts”
- Danyl Johnson- “Light Up the World”
Good Luck to all the participant in tonight’s show. Who do you want to win?