It’s Official: Bonnie Tyler for the United Kingdom

Well, after months of waiting and watching the rumors fly, with seemingly every living name on the British music scene suggested as an option, the BBC has finally come out and given the fans what they’ve wanted: a name.  And what a name it is!  Following veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck in 2012, the BBC has again reached into the vault for a classic name and given us Bonnie Tyler

The now-61 year old Wales native, whose biggest hits include evergreens “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart“, hasn’t had a major smash hit since the mid-1980s, but she has been consistently recording and touring.  Her latest album, “Rocks and Honey”, will be made available just in time for Eurovision.

Bonnie’s entry, “Believe in Me“, was written by prolific songwriter Desmond Child, who also helped write smashes like Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, Aerosmith’s “Crazy”, and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” (which, as a native of New Jersey, makes my little “child-of-the-’80s” heart go all a-flutter).

I am personally of two minds when it comes to this choice.  There was more than a bit of a kerfuffle last year when Engelbert took the stage (and an eventual second-to-last place).  Rather than embracing the United Kingdom’s vast pool of up-and-coming talent or current stars, another pick from chart history seemed a bit odd.  However, Bonnie’s rusted razor of a voice lends itself well to this almost Country-style song, and she has already proven that she can sing it live.

After so many years of Sir Terry Wogan scoffing at Eurovision, saying that “it’s all political” and that the United Kingdom has no chance of victory, I worry that some current artists have taken that mantra as fact.  For example:

PalomaTweet

Source: Twitter

And…

Even legendary Black Sabbath guitarist (and Birmingham native) Tony Iommi, who composed this year’s Armenian entry, has seemingly low expectations:

Despite these negative sentiments, and the certainty (in the UK, at least) that a Eurovision performance would somehow damage a career, artists like Loreen, Lena, and Alexander Rybak have enjoyed sustained careers in their homelands and beyond.  “Euphoria” even made it to the Top 3 on the British pop charts without actually being added to BBC Radio 1 playlist!  How can a shift in mindset occur among younger artists, and would fresher blood lead to better scores?  Which brings up the question: what is the BBC’s objective?  A win?  A good song?  Strong ratings? A night of entertainment?  An evening of national pride?

These are questions that could inspire another entire article (or, at the very least, maybe a few comments on this post?)…but, long story short, Bonnie Tyler is singing for the UK with a strong song that suits her.  Who knows how the scoreboard will turn out for her, or how her voice will sound on the night?  In this spread-out Eurovision field with no definite runaway favorite, anything can happen.

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Posted on March 9, '13, in 2013, United Kingdom and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. There are so many things too think about with this. First, Bonnie will deliver a great vocal. That we can be assured of. Also, the song, in a year with a lot of uptempo numbers, will stand out, which is what plagued Englebert last year in ballad-y Baku. In the end, I think she’ll probably end up in the teens. She won’t crack the top 10, but she won’t pull a Josh Dubovie either.

    As for my personal feelings about the UK and Eurovision, it’s what makes me afraid of expanding ESC into the United States. I’m petrified that if it gets popular here, then people will develop the attitude of the largest English-speaking country who participates and treat it as a joke. Hell, it’s even happening now! Whenever there’s a hint of coverage in the media, it’s always talked about as a “parade of kitsch” and “gay song Olympics” and that, with a few exceptions, is never the case! It’s just frustrating. 😦

    Right, that was really off topic. I gave the entry a 7/12. It’s nice and actually somewhat memorable, but it’s nothing special. I wish that the UK would take the German approach and hold an “Unser Star für…” like show.

    At the end of the day, I want Bonnie to do well because she has a nice song and an excellent performance. However, I also want her to not do well so that the BBC gets the message that modern music sells and that Eurovision might, here’s a novel concept, be a good thing. Ugh…

    P.S. Sorry this is so long. I tend to ramble concerning Eurovision in the UK and US. 🙂

  2. Nul points. And I protest the unavailability of negative numbers to vote for.

    I’m somewhere between resigned and livid about this choice. Closer to livid, actually. I am of the opinion (and nice to see it echoed in some of the UK press for a change) that the ESC has somehow morphed into a genuine, legitimate *contemporary* song contest, and until the UK starts sending plausible *current* hit songs, they will continue to get seriously skunked.

    This is not a plausible *current* hit song. In any country. I do not see any conceivable pathway to the left-hand side of the scoreboard (or the upper right quadrant for that matter), even if Bonnie blows the roof off with her fabulous performance (which, I am predicting, she won’t, sorry to be such a pessimist).

    I also think the current artists are absolutely right. There is no upside for any performer (with decent career prospects) to enter for the UK. Best case: You win, and everyone says “well of course you did, you’re famous”. Worst case, you don’t win, and you’re a laughing stock. If I were a UK act’s manager and they wanted to appear at Eurovision, I’d lock that act in a padded room and hide the key until they came to their senses.

    Look how much ongoing slagging Engelbert is getting in the wake of this announcement. Look how well it’s going for Tony Iommi just because he provided some guitar riffs to a mediocre act. Even Jade Ewen is “that Sugababe from Eurovision”, tainted by the association, and nobody but the Euronuts seem to recall that she came in 5th.

    UK Eurovision participation is the gift that keeps on taking. The ONLY people who should even consider it are those with nothing to lose. Those with careers that haven’t started, have ended, or (as with Engelbert and Bonnie T) have undergone petrification and thus are bulletproof.

    In short, the only path forward for the UK at this point – if they have any interest whatsoever in fielding a competitive act, which I no longer think they do – is a big fat expensive public talent competition of unknowns. UK Melody Festival. And truth be told, I doubt that would even work, because even that would have trouble attracting plausible participants.

    In America, if you’re humor-impaired but want to look cool in the eyes of your beer-swilling buddies, you make fun of the food at Taco Bell. In the UK, apparently you make fun of Eurovision instead. And the BBC encourages it. Heck, Norton’ll read your stupid jävla tweet right there on the dang broadcast!

    It’s a massive clusterboink for the UK, and I don’t see the BBC having any inclination or motivation to change the status quo. To them the ESC is an inexpensive, highly-rated comedy show, and they’ll just send whoever shows up wanting to do it. Especially if it’s somebody whose 45s the BBC managers bought while in high school, because of course BBC management types are the typical Eurovision televoter. This will only change when (1) the ratings tank, or (2) Adele wrestles the keys to the padded room away from her manager and is able to sign the BBC contract before the tranquilizer darts take effect.

    And my comment is now longer than your article. Don’t talk to me about rambling. Or ranting, as the case may be.

    • Samantha Ross

      Eric, you know that rambling and ranting is always welcome here (just as long as nothing’s personally offensive, which you’re totally in the clear). 😉

      Honestly, as much as it pains me to say, you’re right on the money.

  3. I’m glad I’m in the clear. I was afraid the tranquilizer dart thing was pushing it. 🙂

    All that, BTW, is why, when the ESC finally does come to American television in that great big beautiful tomorrow, PLEASE GOD I hope it isn’t the BBC coverage!

  4. Yet another first from the rear null pointer entry from the BBC. Well done, chaps! 😀

  5. Honestly, if the BBC is unable to field a competitive act from the UK, why not “import” one from Australia?
    And I don’t mean that Donovan character or Kylie, for that matter.

    • It’ll never work 😉

      • Samantha Ross

        Interestingly, the last ESC song to really make any impact on the charts in the US was a classic by this Aussie… http://youtu.be/h3nROFIF5ek

      • Didn’t realize Gina G was Australian as well!

        On a related note, a few weeks ago Billboard started counting YouTube views when compiling the Hot 100 chart – resulting, unfortunately, in “Harlem Shake” suddenly materializing out of nowhere at #1, where it has been ever since.

        Could this finally be the path to getting some Eurovision songs on the chart? You might well arsk.

        Of course, somebody will have to submit a song that Americans would find worth watching first. Loreen! Where did you go?

      • Samantha Ross

        If only they had done that three years ago…

        Coming in at #1…”Run Away” By Sunstroke Project! 😉

  6. Eric, Olivia is British, not Australian 😀 and it will work,if the right artist is chosen.

    Here are three live vocal samples from one of the artists I had in mind:



  7. A tag on one of the esc forums caught my eye and I just had to share: “holding out for a zero”. LOL!

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