UK placings have not lived up to the British broadcaster’s expectations in recent years. However, a newspaper article published earlier today raised Eurovision fans’ hopes for next year reporting that the BBC plans to go X-Factor for their Stockholm 2016 entry.
According to Britain’s Express newspaper, the BBC is planning to ditch selecting its Eurovision entry internally due to their recent poor results. It seems that the British broadcaster will be going back to using a national final instead; what is more, BBC bosses are said to be considering an X-Factor style selection format: ‘This year really will be the biggest song search for Eurovision the BBC has ever undertaken. With input from key industry figures and fan associations, plus with the public having the final say we are looking forward to seeing a true People’s Eurovision entry representing the UK at next year’s competition in Sweden’, said BBC executive producer Guy Freeman.
The project will be headed by music industry guru Hugh Goldsmith, the record label executive behind successful British acts such as Blue (UK 2011, 11th place), Atomic Kitten and Billie Piper. It is expected that, between now and November, acts will be invited to submit songs for the consideration of a ‘specially chosen panel’ – Mr. Freeman’s statement could be taken to mean that fans associations might have an input from this early stage. A shortlist decided upon by this panel will be then presented to the Great British TV viewers and it will be the public who will eventually decide the UK’s entry for Eurovision 2016.
The news is likely to be met with enthusiasm from British fans. Leading BBC presenter Graham Norton, who is expected to return as the broadcaster’s Eurovision commentator in Stockholm, appeared enthusiastic indeed when he commented on the news: ‘Eurovision is one of the highlights of my year and I love the fact that the BBC is launching its biggest song search ever (…) I think it really shows that they take the competition seriously and the fact that the public will get the final say on who is sent to represent the UK in Stockholm next year is the icing on the cake!’.
The United Kingdom finished 24th out of the 27 entries competing in Eurovision 2015 in Vienna. You can watch last year’s British entry Electro Velvet and their Swing influenced dance number Still In Love With You in the following video (taken from the UK’s rehearsals for the grand final).
In my view
Internal selection has not borne fruit for the BBC lately. After a promising first result with Blue and their 11th place in 2011, the year the BBC went back to fully selecting their Eurovision entry internally, the UK has failed to avoid finishing in the bottom part of the leader board. The country’s most recent entries that managed a top five placing, Jessica Garlick’s Come Back (joint 3rd place in 2002) and Jade Ewen’s It’s My Time (5th place in 2009) – the UK’s last Eurovision winner with Katrina and The Waves and 1997’s Love Shine A Light for that matter – had indeed been selected through a national final format. However, the last time the country finished bottom was back in 2010 with Josh Dubovie singing That Sounds Good To Me, when, even though the song had been selected internally, Josh himself had been chosen by the British TV viewers through a national final style process. It therefore could be said that a national final cannot guarantee per se a better result and that a lot depends on the actual format followed as well as the selection’s pool of talent. Nevertheless, the BBC’s decision seems to be in the right direction.The opinion expressed in "In my view" are those of the author and are not necessarily the one of EuroVisionary.com.