Eurovision 2014: We might not want to win at Copenhagen but we might as well have a decent song

Article published on March 3, 2014
Article published on March 3, 2014

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Britain has not done so well in the Eurovision Song Contest, but could a new approach be what's needed?

With eco­nomic woes show­ing no signs of dis­ap­pear­ing, in re­cent years the pos­si­bil­ity of win­ning the Eu­ro­vi­sion song con­test has seemed like a poi­son chal­ice.  As much as win­ning and host­ing the an­nual song con­test is a fun oc­ca­sion and a chance for the host na­tion to drum up pub­lic­ity through clev­erly placed in­serts of beau­ti­ful land­scapes and happy peo­ple in the na­tional dress, the costs of host­ing such an event dur­ing times of aus­ter­ity might not leave every­one happy. Britain has fa­mously done not so well over re­cent years, with such en­trants as Scooch (who took kitsch to a new level) and Andy Abra­ham lan­guish­ing at the bot­tom of the re­sults table.

Then it seemed that Britain was tak­ing the com­pe­ti­tion se­ri­ously with An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s na­tional com­pe­ti­tion to find an entry in 2010. How­ever, after some good en­tries not quite reach­ing the top of the board, Britain de­cided to field some tried and tested artists in the form of En­gel­bert Humperdink and Bon­nie Tyler. Now tried and tested is good and Eu­ro­vi­sion loves kitsch, but while other coun­tries such as Ger­many and Den­mark were field­ing young and pas­sion­ate singers we were of­fer­ing noth­ing new, nei­ther in artist or con­tent. How­ever, now this looks set to change. The BBC has an­nounced 2014’s entry to Eu­ro­vi­sion, and it's new­comer Molly Smit­ten-Downes.

The 26 year old won best song at the Best of British Un­signed Music awards last year and en­tered the BBC’s por­tal for undis­cov­ered tal­ent, BBC In­tro­duc­ing, with her song Strange Alien. If she is the cho­sen entry, this rep­re­sents a good move for Britain and Eu­ro­vi­sion. While we are gloomily re­signed to the fact we might not win (often sighted by the po­lit­i­cal vot­ing that ex­ists in the com­pe­ti­tion, high­lighted by long term com­men­ta­tor Terry Wogan, but it could just be that other en­tries were bet­ter), we might as well field a de­cent song for the music sake. While some coun­tries go over­board on the cos­tumes and glit­ter, other coun­tries such as Ger­many have seen a good op­por­tu­nity to find young tal­ent and cre­ative song writ­ing. Eu­ro­vi­sion might not be a high brow forum for con­tem­po­rary music, but if we can con­tinue to in­tro­duce new can­di­dates then at least we can give them the pub­lic­ity they de­serve and keep Britain on the map of cre­ative song writ­ing. And after all that, we might, just pos­si­bly, even do quite well.