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

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

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Chris Paul

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.

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