I'm not a great lover of 'campery', but Eurovision is definitely an exception. Tonight we had the chance to choose which of the five UK contestants will represent us later in the year in Ukraine (last year's winner). I've already cast my telephone vote, but my views of the songs which I heard tonight are these (in the order in which they performed):
- Javine sang Touch My Fire. A lively song, with both hip-hop and Moroccan overtones, really quite good and might well appeal to a pan-European audience. Javine is a pretty (and sexy) young woman, too, and seems to have a good voice;
- Tricolore sang Brand New Day - a ballad sung by three men, all quite nice looking. An attractive song, but I'm not sure it is quite right for Eurovision;
- Gina G sang Flashback - although not a bad song, it was to my ears rather formulaic and 'boppy' in style and not really for today, more like five or ten years ago; she was our Eurovision contestant in 1996 when she achieved 7th place;
- Andy Scott-Lee sang Guardian Angel - a romantic ballad sung right into the microphone by a good-looking young man. He has a very good voice and if he is successful and performed as well on the night then it could be a winner - but I worry it might not appeal right across Europe;
- Katie Price sang Not Just Anybody - I thought it was quite a good song, let down by the (to my ears) slightly flat notes of the singer on several occasions. I thought at one point that I was mistaken because a few of the notes (which she achieved well) were vaguely Arabic/Moroccan in tone, but there were more flat-sounding notes later on. She could be OK on the night, but basically I think her voice is not strong enough, even if she is a beautiful (if slightly 'tarty') young woman.
For me the two front-runners were Javine (singing Touch My Fire) and Andy Scott-Lee (singing Guardian Angel). I had difficulty choosing between the two, but ended up voting for Guardian Angel, but I do wonder if Touch My Fire, which was a very good song (and well performed) might not have a wider appeal across Europe and amongst all age-groups and both genders. I'll be happy, though, if it is one of these two that goes forward as our entry. I'd also be reasonably happy if the winner is instead Tricolore (singing Brand New Day).
We'll know the result a little before 9pm this evening.
UPDATE: (Saturday 5MAR05 21.45 GMT) ... and the winner is Javine (singing Touch My Fire). A good result, specially as it was a surprisingly close call with, in my view (but not, it seems, in the opinion of nearly everyone else), Katie Price singing Not Just Anybody. If Katie Price had won I think it would have been very short-sighted - sure, she is 'gorgeous' (and that counts for a lot in Eurovision), but her voice is not of a high-enough calibre; the UK has made this mistake on a few occasions before, most notably two years ago when our entrant received, quite justifiably, NO VOTES AT ALL largely because the singing was off-key throughout. Javine does have a good voice, she looks good and the song is pretty good, too - she stands a reasonably good chance, in my view.