ESC 2017 Review: UK – Surprised and Not Giving Up

This is the highest the UK has been in my personal ranking in a very long time even though I kind of guiltily enjoy the presentation from 2015. How refreshing.

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: United Kingdom
Artist: Lucie Jones
Song Title: Never Give Up On You
My Ranking: 32nd (out of 43)
Semi Final: Auto qualified for the final as part of the Big 5
Final placement prediction: 20 of 26

The UK offically voting to Brexit is not going to win any political points in Eurovision. Those are points you need to win. While the UK’s losing streak isn’t 100% chalked up to their politics over the past years, there may have been a few extra hard losses because of that. The UK has failed to produce a winner since they changed the language rules allowing everyone to use the English language which was causing them and Ireland to really clean up votes. Since then they’ve dropped from middle of the pack to very consistently last place. Again, some of this is political but the other half is that they often don’t send talent. They internally selected for several years and when they do have public national finals they find the 5 or 6 greenest children who haven’t yet begun to develop their style or vocals and then them as a ritual sacrifice. It feels very clear that the UK has no desire to win Eurovision and they’ll do just about everything in their power to lose.

That being said, this years song is a pleasant surprise. Lucie Jones is 25, hails from Wales, and is a step up from most of the 17-19 year old bracket. Lucie has a fairly nice voice and the revamp that the UK has put out boosted the song from a much lower spot on my list. Lucie is a stage and TV actor and singer, she has a few singles under her belt. She competed on X-Factor where she lost after only a handful of weeks to none other than Ireland’s own Eurovision powerhouse, Jedward. Considering that Jedward are not the world’s best singers, you have to be a little worried that they defeated her.

They likely defeated her with pure stage presence. While in the video Lucie is the all-consuming focal point, at the national final she looked confused and disconnected from the song so that’ll be something she has to work on to get ready for the big show. The UK is auto-qualified in to the finals which is a boon for them because it’s unclear how this song would stand out against a sea of ballads and the hope is that a few of them get picked off during the semis to let “Never Give Up on You” shine.

The song itself is a very standard ballad with little instrumental to back up Lucie’s vocals. It reminds me very strong of “Undo” (Sweden 2014). As I mentioned in the national final she failed in really connect her emotions with the song and since there’s just so little there and it’s likely she will be the focal point of the stage it’s absolutely crucial for her to be feeling the song. I was surprised honestly to find that she had been in plays and on television when I looked her up because it felt like standing on the You Decide stage was her first time ever on television. I’m unsure if nerves ate her alive or what but Eurovision is going to be a different level of pressure and I hope she is ready for it.

Either way it’s a solid ballad with a nice message and if it’s sung as intensely and gently as in the music video she should be able to fight her way out of the dreaded last place and in to a respectable finish between 15 and 20.

Not giving up on you yet Lucie.

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