It’s been a trying few years for the UK at Eurovision. Since 2012, we’ve come 25th, 19th, 17th, 24th… and last year, 24th again. Out of 26. Ouch.
On Friday, former X Factor finalist Lucie Jones was chosen by the public to go to Kiev in May and fly the flag.
She’s already told BBC Breakfast that “the public are calling for changes [to the song] – that’s the great thing about social media… we’re looking into it”.
Eurovision fans on Twitter were split on the ballad, titled Never Give Up on You (interpret that as you wish).
Nicholas Gibb tweeted: “Lucie is actually giving me goosebumps.” Another fan said: “Have this on repeat, our best song in years, you’ll do us proud.”
But some weren’t so impressed, including @Gateauxchoc: “It’s bottom 3. She’s got chops, she needs a song.”
So what do the experts think of our chances?
Eurovision pundit Liam Jarnecki and “superfan” Ben Royston gave us their reaction to the song.
Liam Jarnecki, pundit
I definitely think we’ve got a chance of doing better than we usually do. I think it’s exactly the right sort of song. I’m pretty sure we’ll do better than we’ve done at any point since 2011.
Some people have contextualised it politically because its easy to conflate Eurovision with the EU, although they’re very different things. Some people think there’ll be some consequence, but I don’t think that’s what most people vote on.
It’s a music competition and I think Lucie is an excellent singer. She’ll be one of the best singers there. And the song is OK. That’s usually enough to do quite well.
I’m not saying she’s going to win but I think she’ll do well and we could get on to the legendary left-hand side of the scoreboard in the top 13! I think she’s our best bet for a long time, certainly since we put Lord Lloyd-Webber on stage in Moscow (in 2009 with Jade Ewen).
Lucie’s one of the people who is so talented. She stood out on the X Factor – she almost transcended it as a contestant and she had that classic British underdog thing where she was beaten by Jedward [in 2009]. So she’s already been pushed away by the cruelty of electoral dynamics once in her career!
Ben Royston, superfan
Personally, it wasn’t my choice but I can understand why it won. But it does need a lot of work if that’s going to stand out in a run of 26 songs in Kiev. That’s not to take anything away from the singer, she’s fantastic.
We’ve chosen our song early and I honestly think they want to put in the work and polish it up and have it Eurovision-ready. Of the six songs, that seemed to be the one that will be hardest to repackage.
She sings from start to finish, there’s no breaks in the vocal. It’s going to be very hard to rework that song but they need to do it – we’ll be lucky to finish outside the bottom three without some serious reworking.
I know it’s very early and we’ve only got six songs [from other countries] announced, but five of them are ballads.
As much as it’s a brave step and the quality is there, I think we did have a song [out of the shortlisted entries] that could have made the top five this year and I’m very surprised it didn’t win – Holly Brewer. I’ve not been able to get her song out of my head since last Monday when it was on the radio.
I was trying to remember Lucie’s song and I was struggling. I’m not saying it’s a bad song – it’s a nice song but for Eurovision I think we’re going to struggle. I hope I’m wrong.
Alasdair Rendall, president of the Eurovision fan club, OGAEUK
Lucie Jones is a proven quality singer and she delivered a stunning performance of her song.
“It’s a simple song, but sometimes simplicity is best for Eurovision, with a strong ballad such as this being able to cut through all the gimmickry and over-the-top performances that sometimes become a feature of Eurovision.
With the song being co-written by former Eurovision winner Emmelie de Forest, all the signs are there for a good result – 20 years on since our last victory and in the year that marks our 60th participation at the contest.
The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Kiev, Ukraine, on 13 May.
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