Pop act Blue have defended their decision to represent the UK in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, claiming “we don’t see this as career suicide”.
The band were named as the surprise choice to fly the flag for the UK at the end of January, prompting many to ask what a multi-million-album-selling band with three UK number ones to their name could possibly gain from such an endeavour?
Indeed, Blue’s founder and former manager Daniel Glatman even described the project as “reckless insanity”, adding, “They will have to win. Anything less and their reputation would be in tatters.”
Speaking to RadioTimes.com at a press preview of their self-penned Eurovision song I Can, the group admitted they respected their former manager’s opinion, but disagreed with his conclusions.
Simon Webbe explained: “At the end of the day for us, we don’t see this as career suicide. A lot of people here in the UK will see it that way because that’s what’s happened over the years.”
“But that’s what’s made it appealing for us as well,” he added. “Not that we want to prove anyone wrong, but it’s just a great way to show that we are a live group, and that we’re back after ten years.”
Blue also admitted that the recent changes in voting, which incorporate a jury as well as a televote in an attempt to reduce political bias in the competition, also contributed to their decision to take part.
However, despite the band’s enthusiasm, and an anthemnic “Bluero-pop” song (that’s Blue meets Europop) in the shape of I Can (catch the first performance on Graham Norton this Friday night), a quick leaf through the record books illustrates just how difficult it will be for Blue to triumph in Dusseldorf, not least enhance their career prospects.
Only two British acts have achieved a top five finish since 1998, and in that same period, UK entrants have finished bottom of the Euro-pile on no less than three occasions.
But Blue have a pop pedigree, I hear you shout, they’ve got a better chance than the likes of Jemini and Andy Abraham.
You’d think so, wouldn’t you?
But a charting past isn’t a guarantee of Eurovision success.
In fact, the last act to already have a UK number one representing Britain was Gina G in 1996. Despite “Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit” being at the pinnacle of the British charts when she took to the stage in Oslo, Gina finished eighth in Eurovision…oh, and where is she now?
Looking even further back, in 1975, The Shadows were the last band with multiple number ones under their belts (like Blue) to take on the might of Eurovision…they finished in second place, behind a Dutch band called Teach-In with a song named Ding-a-dong.
OK, The Shadows survived to make another instrumental record for your dad to buy, but surely they were the exception rather than the rule.
In its 55-year history, the UK Eurovision story usually has a fairly bleak ending, even if you win.
Of the winners, there’s Bucks Fizz and Brotherhood of Man, who still eke out a living (often without original line-ups) in seaside towns they forgot to close down and on the nostalgia circuits.
Sandy Shaw and Lulu are “national treasures”, but their Eurovision successes are long forgotten, and frankly Katrina and the Waves were much better known before they won the contest in 1997 – you don’t hear as much about them any more, do you?
As for those who failed to lift the coveted crown, the less said the better…well, with the notable exception of Cliff Richard, who has entered and lost in the contest twice (1968 and ’73) and seems like he’s never, ever going to hang up his vocal chords.
Perhaps it’s a good omen therefore that Cliff is among the stars who have been advising Blue on their Eurovision expedition as part of a BBC documentary to be screened next month.
Who knows, if Cliff is as good at advice as he is at longevity, perhaps Blue – win or lose – will be with us for many decades to come…
A sobering thought…
The Eurovision Song Contest is on Saturday 14 May at 8pm on BBC1