This year, the BBC showed Europe that actually, they and the United Kingdom do take the Eurovision Song Contest seriously. They persuaded Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, possibly the biggest name in musical theatre, to write the song and head a talent search for the winner.
In turn, he enlisted the help of international award winning
songwriter, Diane Warren, to write the song. The result was the first
top 10 finish for the United Kingdom for eight years. In that time, it
had adopted a position at the bottom of the scoreboard, even scoring no
points (although there was more to it than the song and performance,
but that’s another debate) in 2003.
So where now? Will the BBC keep the same format with a different writer or will they try something new? We should find out soon. Until then, we are all free to speculate, predict and hope that our favourite writer or singer will take up the mantle.
First of all, I would like to work on the basis of a writer doing what the good Lord did this year. One possibility is Guy Chambers. He has written a number of hits, most famously for ex Take That member and clown, Robbie Williams, including Karaoke favourite, Angels.
For something a bit different, perhaps Noel Gallagher would like to do it. After all, he’s not doing much else these days since the apparently terminal fall out with brother Liam which spelt the end of Oasis.
Someone who knows how to write a memorable tune is David Arnold. These days, he is most famous for writing the score for James Bond films. This mostly consists of big melodies with grand arrangements, seemingly perfect for Eurovision success.
Returning to the Take That theme, the best choice (in my humble opinion) would be Gary Barlow. His songwriting skills made sure that Take That were head and shoulders above the competition in the 90’s, when boybands were more common than an Essex lass from a council estate. He is responsible for Take That’s mega successful resurgence, which includes the modern classic, Rule the World. There wouldn’t even be a need for a talent search; the boys themselves could sing the song in the contest. There are no guarantees to success at the contest, but this would be as near as you will get.
In the early 90’s, the BBC briefly tried contracting a singer to perform all the songs in the Song For Europe competition. This worked quite well, Michael Ball and Sonia were second and Francis Ruffelle would have finished higher than tenth if she hadn’t been made to wear that silly fake crown of thorns and the backing singers vocal arrangement had been less intrusive.
I’m no fan at all of letting failed reality show contestants anywhere near the UK selection contest. However, if the BBC did want to return to the one artist format, there is one man who would not let his country down, who would give a magnificent performance, and would probably be the most talented singer in Oslo. RHYDIAN! He should have won X-Factor in 2007, and was only prevented from doing so by the Scots doing what they always do, voting for the country instead of the performer.
Morrissey has previously expressed an interest, but, although he would generate much interest in his own country, he’s not suitable if we want to win the thing.
A little known singer/songwriter who has a bundle of talent is Lucie Silvas. Her two albums don’t have a bad song on them and she can definitely sing live. She has performed at many festivals and venues around the UK and Europe and has built up a solid fan base. If you want to see what I’m raving about, then look up What You’re Made Of on Youtube.
At the risk of being biased towards the Welsh, perhaps Duffy would be prepared to accept the challenge. She has proved she can sing pop and ballads. She has also proved she can sing live, a doubt that hangs over a lot of modern singers in these days of miming and the ability of a producer in a studio to hide a bad voice.
Whichever way the BBC goes, we can only hope that its judgment is as sound as the person who thought of asking Andrew Lloyd Webber. Otherwise, we could have another Scooch on our hands, and that wouldn’t be good for anybody.