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Meet the UK's Eurovision 2021 act James Newman who will sing Embers

After the 2020 contest was cancelled, James Newman is back to represent the UK in the 2021 singing contest.

James Newman (Victor Frankowski)
Published: Saturday, 22nd May 2021 at 7:00 pm

The moment we've all been waiting for - The Eurovision 2021 final - is finally here!


After the 2020 show was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus, we'll finally get to see the Eurovision 2021 line-up in action when they take to the stage on Saturday, 22nd May. And we can't wait!

The Eurovision 2021 semi-finals got off to a cracking start, with 20 countries securing a place in the grand final and joining this year's hosts, The Netherlands, and The Big Five, including the UK's James Neman.

Newman was chosen to represent the country last year with his song My Last Breath, but the show was cancelled due to the pandemic.

He returns to the show this year with his track Embers, which is "a joyous concoction of explosive dance beats, blended with its gospel-inspired vocals, melodic piano lines and horn sections".

According to his vocal coach, who viewers heard from during the interval of the show's second semi-final, James is "ready " to take to the stage, and his performance will include some special effects, including giant trumpets - interesting!

Having written for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Newman knows his way around a track. But will he be able to get us to the finish line? The UK last won Eurovision in 1997, but our Eurovision odds are slightly better this year, so who knows!

Here’s all that you need to know about James Newman.

Read more:

Who is representing the UK at Eurovision 2021?

james newman eurovision

Name: James Newman

Age: 35

Instagram: @jamesnewman

Twitter: @JamesNewmanUk

Not to be confused with his brother, singer John Newman, James Newman is a performer and songwriter who’s worked with the likes of Olly Murs, Ed Sheeran, Louis Tomlinson, Kesha and – most importantly – Backstreet Boys.

And like his brother, James has worked with drum and bass group Rudimental, even winning a Brit Award for British Single of the Year for Waiting All Night (with Rudimental and Ella Eyre) in 2014.

James Newman has also co-written hits including Lay It All on Me (by Rudimental, featuring Ed Sheeran), Love Me Like You (Little Mix), All I Am by (Jess Glynne).

Interestingly, Eurovision 2021 isn’t his first experience of the competition: he wrote single Dying to Try, which – being the hardcore Eurovision fan you are – you’ll recognise as the track that represented Ireland in 2017 (performed by X Factor’s Brendan Murray).

However, Newman will be hoping for a better finish at the 2021 contest: Dying to Try failed to qualify for the final.

While primarily a songwriter, Newman can also be heard on several tracks, including Matoma’s Lights Go Down and Don Diablo’s Head’s Up.

Why does the UK's Eurovision 2021 entry go straight through to the final?

The UK is part of the Big Five, who automatically go straight through to the final.

Formerly known as the Big Four, before Italy rejoined the competition in 2011, The Big Five is made up of countries who make the biggest financial contributions to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). It includes the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain and France.

As well as The Big Five, The Netherlands - who are the host country - also go straight through to the final after their entry Duncan Laurence won the show in 2019.

What is the UK's Eurovision 2021 song called?

James Newman will perform Embers, which is "a joyous concoction of explosive dance beats, blended with its gospel-inspired vocals, melodic piano lines and horn sections".

The track was recorded last year, and written by and produced by Danny Shah and Connor Blake, as well as Tom Hollings and Samuel Brennan (who has worked with the likes of Melanie C, Zak Abel, 220 Kid).

The music video was directed by Charlie Lightening (Oasis, Pink, Robbie Williams) and was shot at RAF Greenham Common in Newbury.

It captures every inch of the song’s euphoria and provides the perfect backdrop for a song that is set to capture the nation.

You can listen to it below:

Where did the UK come in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest?

The United Kingdom participated in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest after the BBC organised the national final Eurovision: You Decide 2019 in order to select the British entry for the contest which was held in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Michael Rice was selected and performed Bigger Than Us – a song which was later used as the theme song for the Pride of Britain Awards 2019.

As a member of the "Big 5", the United Kingdom automatically qualified to compete in the final of the contest. However, they came in 26th place (last) with just 11 points from 41 international juries and the public. Overall, not a great year.

Duncan Laurence won the show for The Netherlands with his song "Arcade", which he received a whopping a 492 points for.

When is Eurovision 2021?

The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final will take place on Saturday 22nd May 2021 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

BBC One will be broadcasting live coverage of the event, while Graham Norton commentates.

Ken Bruce will be providing commentary on BBC Radio 2.

The Eurovision semi-finals will be held on Tuesday 18th and Thursday 20th May, and will be broadcast on BBC Four.

Why was Eurovision 2020 cancelled?

The Eurovision Song Contest grand final was set to take place at the Ahoy Rotterdam Arena on Saturday 16th May, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Instead, the Shine a Light show aired on the same day on BBC One. Eurovision Come Together also aired on Saturday 16th May at 6.25pm with classic Eurovision acts performing.

You can buy the DVD and watch Eurovision 2018 here and Eurovision 2019 here.


The Eurovision Song contest 2021 will air on the BBC this May. Check out the full list of Eurovision winners and how many times the UK has won Eurovision here. If you're looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide.


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