The Verse’s Tom Evans tells us what he thought of Eurovision: You Decide at the Brighton Dome on the 7th February 2018.
I was very fortunate to be invited along to attend Eurovision: You Decide. There were 6 hopeful acts compete for the chance to represent the UK in the 63rd Eurovision finals in Lisbon on May 12th. Having been a massive fan for 20 years, I was very excited!
Hosted in Brighton Dome, the venue was perfect as it is steeped in Eurovision history, with a little-known act called ABBA winning Eurovision here in 1974 with Waterloo. It was perhaps fitting that presenting alongside Mel Giedroyc was Måns Zelmerlöw who won Eurovision in 2015 for Sweden. They made for an excellent presenting duo with enough gags throughout, alongside the instructions on how to vote on the night. They were joined by Tom Fletcher (McFly), Rochelle Humes (The Saturdays) and Rylan Clark-Neal (Eurovision super fan) who were on hand to give their opinions and thoughts on the performances.
Having decided not to listen to any of the songs beforehand, I was going into them all fresh on the night!
Raya kicked off the completion with Crazy, which was an up-tempo performance which was a great way to open things up. It’s a song you could definitely imagine on the radio, and the audience seemed to lap it up. Next up was Liam Tamne singing Astronaut. Unfortunately, this didn’t quite work for me. Though the meaning behind the song was emotional, as it was about him supporting his husband, there just wasn’t enough energy to it. We then had another dance number – Legends performed by Asanda who, amazingly, was only 16. It was a great pop song and had a current feel to it, reminiscent of Rihanna.
We then moved onto Jazz Ellington singing You. Personally, how this made it through to the final 6 songs was confusing. He easily had the best voice on the night, but it seemed out of place. Jazz had previously been on The Voice, and personally, his track just sounded like an audition for that rather than Eurovision.
The penultimate act was SuRie singing Storm. The live audience had clearly heard this one before, the reaction was instant! Hands were clapping even before the first chorus kicked in and a large number of the crowd were singing along. Clapping and cheering continued throughout – it was easy to tell who was the favourite of the live audience on the night!
Unfortunately, in the impossible spot of following on from SuRie, was Goldstone with I Feel The Love. It was a great pop song, clearly influenced by Girls Aloud. The three girls looked and sounded at home on stage, which was very impressive as they had not been together that long.
SuRie was the best song on the night for me personally, and before the competition started I had thought, ‘I bet my favourite song doesn’t get chosen’ so I was ready to grumble if she wasn’t picked!
Whilst the voting lines were when the recaps were shown SuRie got the loudest cheers from the crowd each time. We were also treated to a video of Måns on a day trip round Brighton looking for a particular landmark. Which was very funny considering his great comic timing! We toured the Pier, The Royal Pavilion and finished on the nudist beach. However, the clip ended before he stripped off – cue a mass of boos from the live audience.
But, earlier doubts aside, I needn’t have worried. SuRie was rightfully crowned the winner on the night. I’m sure the venue would have rioted had this not been the case! Of course, she returned to the stage to perform Storm again. Why was it the best song on the night? It was almost a perfect Eurovision formula. Featuring a great singer, a story element, strong emotional elements, a great beat and most importantly a chorus you can sing along with that also gets stuck in your head. Not forgetting she had a cape attached to her dress!
In the press conference, SuRie came across really well. She clearly gets Eurovision, as she was a backing singer for Belgium’s entry in 2015. She said Eurovision was “the best show” and has wanted to be involved for a while. On tonight’s show she “felt slightly guilty about winning” as she had got close to all the other performers. Saying “the crowd was insane,” SuRie thought “the love in the room was amazing”, as she could hear the crowd singing along to her song.
Bring on the main event in Lisbon on May 12th live on BBC1!