First Listen: The UK Chooses “You’re Not Alone” for Sweden

The subtitle to the United Kingdom's Eurovision selection program was "It's Your Choice".  Did they make the right one with Joe & Jake's "You're Not Alone"?

One of the best things I thought the UK did in their Eurovision selection from past years was bringing it internally.  Year over year, the British people had proven that given the opportunity, they would select a truly terrible entry, then wonder why it did so poorly in the Eurovision finals.  True, the initial internal selections (which seemed to mostly be determined by asking “which aging pop star has an album about ready to come out with a 3 minute single?”) weren’t great, but I thought they were on the right track by going to the BBC’s “Introducing” program to find up-and-coming artists.  Still not much luck1, still more complaining.  When I heard they were going back to the “fine, you pick it” model, I was worried.  And that’s how we got this:

Here’s the scary thing: I think I actually don’t mind this choice.  All 6 of the shortlisted songs had their merits and could have easily represented a different side of the UK music scene to the contest, although it felt like this song and Bianca’s “Shine a Little Light”2 were the cream of the already pretty creamy crop.

I’m kind of surprised the UK gave the in-house panel for the show no vote in the final outcome.  I would have loved to see them adopt a Melodifestivalen-style model, where a 50/50 split between judge votes and televoting determined a superfinal to be voted on by televoting only.  That said, I’m not sure we would’ve seen a different outcome.  Of the two, Bianca’s song feels a little more Eurovision, but Joe & Jake’s song reminds me of entries like Denmark’s “New Tomorrow” from 2010, which ended up in 5th3.  The song’s instrumentation feels a bit Coldplay-ish, which I’d normally fling as an insult, but it reminds me of that band’s earlier work on A Rush of Blood to the Head, an album I keep going back to.  I liked the general staging of “You’re Not Alone”, too – there was a nice symmetry to the matching drum kits.  I’d want to see a slightly more glammed-up version of what Joe & Jake were performing in for Stockholm, but it fits the vibe of the song.  I want to say I’m optimistic for the UK’s chances this year – I’m not sure this is the song to win it for them, but hopefully it’ll at least keep them out of the bottom.

  1. although Electro Velvet’s blacklight performance of “Still in Love With You” got raves at my Eurovision party last year  
  2. which sounded like a Leona Lewis knockoff to me and turned out to be a Leona Lewis original  
  3. and which I still use as an alarm tone on my phone  

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