19 Comments

Post Mortem: United Kingdom


post mortemPost Mortem – In our next look at the countries that did not make it through to the grand final this year, Eurovision Times contributor Jane looks at the fortunes of the United Kingdom‘s Joe and Jake singing ‘You’re not alone’ with music & lyrics by Matt Schwartz, Justin J Benson, S. Kanes.
Following five years of internal selection, in 2016 the BBC returned to a National Final format with ‘Eurovision: You Decide’, and Joe and Jake were selected by public vote to represent the UK with their catchy lightweight pop song ‘You’re not alone’. Could they improve on Electro Velvet’s 24th place with 5 points in 2015?

The short answer is ‘no, they could not’.  Joe and Jake scored what seemed to UK viewers an impressive 62 points, the most for a UK act since Blue in 2011, but it still only bought them 24th out of 26.

Jury

  • In summary, the majority verdict from the juries was indifference – ‘You’re Not Alone’ was not good enough to score big points, and not bad enough to go to the bottom of the table.
  • Joe and Jake earned 54 points, and were ranked 17th on the jury vote.
  • 10 juries – 25% – gave points.
  • Special shout outs go to Malta for placing the UK 1st, and San Marino placing the UK 3rd.
  • In Albania, Russia and Malta, all 5 jurors placed the UK in the points zone.
  • 3 juries placed the UK in their bottom 3: The Netherlands, Croatia and Belarus.
  • This leaves 28 juries out of 41 – around two thirds – who reacted more or less indifferently to the UK entry.

Televote

  • Joe and Jake failed to connect with the audience and were ranked 25th by the public, with 8 points.
  • The 3 countries which gave the UK televote points were Australia, Malta and Ireland.
  • 11 countries – over 25% – ranked the UK bottom 3 in the televote.
  • Croatia and Belarus jury and televote placed the UK in the bottom 3.

 final result 2016 bottom

Before the Final

Joe and Jake met on The Voice in 2015, became friends, and after they left the reality show decided to enter Eurovision.

On February 26th 2016 they were selected by public vote from a shortlist of six performers and songs, in the first UK National Final since 2010.  Fans had high hopes for the selection process, but the quality of songs in the NF was not good, and none of them stood out as a potential Eurovision winner.  The show went out to an audience of 678,900; the BBC have not released voting figures.

Joe and Jake spent the months between selection and the final earning a reputation as lovely lads determined to work hard and enjoy their time in the limelight.

During rehearsals it was apparent that the BBC had not changed the staging in any major respect since the NF: the presence of two drum sets on stage still seems pointless and bizarre to me.  Their vocal performance was inconsistent, and the upbeat song seemed dull compared with other pop offerings such as Lithuania.

The Final

During the final Nathan Sykes (UK Junior Eurovision 2004) tweeted that ‘You’re not alone’ had been offered to boyband The Wanted but not used.

nathan sykes tweet

The Wanted haven’t recorded since 2013, and have been on hiatus since 2014, so one wonders how old ‘You’re not alone’ is?

As the results came in jury first, tweeters seemed impressed by the points scored. The 12 points from Malta was the UK’s first since 2011, and tweeters went into meltdown.  Simply appearing on the left hand side of the board for a few minutes was seen as a major success.

The mood changed when the low televote appeared, and there were a lot of tweets along the ‘Europe hates Britain’ lines, with jokes about Brexit.

A handful of tweeters commented that it was a low vote for a low key song and performance.

After the Result

Joe and Jake showed some true Brit plucky loser spirit when they tweeted:

joe and jake tweet

Unlike last year when Electro Velvet returned a poor result, there has been less online activity from fans this year calling for changes in the selection process. It now seems to be accepted by fans that, without a fundamental shift in attitude, established acts and songwriters at the top of their game will not be coming forward to represent the UK in Eurovision, and that shift will not happen with the BBC in charge.

Here’s my favourite tweet from the night:

joe jake ant dec tweet

19 comments on “Post Mortem: United Kingdom

  1. As long as BBC continues to present ESC as the epitome of decadent music tastes of europeans, first with Terry Wogan now with Graham Norton, nothing will change.
    Pop music is one of Britain’s biggest industries and a highly succesfully one. ESC can’t give any kind of added value for it. That makes things even trickier.
    It’s good to also notice, that even in Sweden MF doesn’t attract their A-list pop song writers and producers. They are working succesfully with world’s biggest stars in US and UK. In ESC final Sweden flexed it muscles. JT’s current smash hit is made in Stockholm with Max Martin, who is arguably the most succesful pop producer and song writer of all time. The collaboration was their first one since *NSync’s heyday. Well worth waiting for!

  2. I don’t think it has anything to do with how old the song is. A song can be brought up to date or given a new lease of life no matter how old. (Disturbed – Sound of Silence for example). I certainly don’t think it was that dated or even that bad a song compared to some of the others in this years contest. I feel for the two lads. They did reasonably well with the juries but the public just didn’t connect which is a pity especially when the likes of Poland and Malta, which in my eyes were no more up to date or better performed, did so much better. I don’t think Joe and Jake did anything wrong per se (maybe their inexperience was highlighted but they came across as thoroughly enjoying their performance and they didn’t sound bad at all either). I felt this might have helped them but alas it just wasn’t to be. I do feel that the UK could have been more innovative with the staging rather than plain flashing lights. A wasted opportunity. I hope the UK (like Ireland) seriously looks at how it is going to move forward and try a system that they can stick with and develop instead of this chopping and changing year in year out.

  3. I agree with Hulluna’s analysis.

    It was an average song chosen from an almost universally average NF selection (Bianca’s Shine A Little Light was the only one that stood out for me).

    The boys were more likeable than Electro Velvet and were quite endearing and clearly enthusiastic and hard-working, but none of this was enough to compensate for what was no more than a Coldplay b-side. They sang well and performed with gusto, but the staging was half-hearted and the presence of two drummers was a weak gimmick for a song that did not feature drums in any remarkable way.

    As nice as it was to see the UK on the left side of the scoreboard for a few minutes, the song did not deserve much better than it achieved.

    I agree with Martin about Malta and Poland. Malta sounded very 90s to me with its ‘funky drummer’ loop, like a sped up Unfinished Sympathy. Poland sounded and looked like it had been teleported out of the late 80s courtesy of Glen Medeiros. Not bad songs as such, but certainly dated.

    (By the way, apologies for my extended silence – I’ve been away for a few weeks, including a short trip to *ahem* Stockholm…)

  4. The UK public cannot be trusted to send a decent entry, and yes, the national final songs were all fairly average. Sending big names is not necessarily the way to go (De Forest was a complete unknown), and it doesn’t matter about the songwriters either. Being from the UK, I’m baffled as to how the BBC can’t find a decent potential winner. We should be taking it seriously, because almost every other country does, and it’s the biggest musical event in the world. Why would the UK want to be a laughing stock? The problem with most in the UK is that Eurovision is seen as ultra-political and ‘we’ll never win’, hence most people not caring how well we do, watching the contest only for a laugh.

    • Agreed that the UK public cannot be trusted – Andy Abraham, Daz Sampson, Josh Dubovie etc – but then neither can the BBC / Guy Freeman alone – Engelbert, Bonnie & Electro Velvet, for example. Engelbert and Bonnie support your point about sending big names – both had weak songs.

      Perhaps it’s a catch-22. The contest has a jokey reputation in the UK, which discourages our biggest talents from being associated with it, but perhaps it would be taken more seriously if one of our big talents had the guts to go for it.

      • If a big name entered, all British newspapers would show a stronger interest, yes.

        • Songwriters too, not just singers. Perhaps more should have been made of Leona Lewis’s involvement in writing Shine A Little Light, or did they think that would unfairly bias the process? Perhaps they should have persuaded Leona to sing it too!

  5. The U.K./B.B.C. finished where I thought it would , in the bottom 5. I did not like the song and being lovely lads just isn’t enough but at least the two of them got a week or so holiday in Stockholm. Not much serious action in the U.K. charts or on T.V.
    Out of the 6 songs in the U.K. N/F this was the weakest and I was amazed and angry it won and the look on the faces of some of the fans in the audience at the U.K. final was disbelief it won. You could tell from the polite reaction of the so called expert panel members that they thought the U.K. public had made a mistake. The Leona Lewis co-written song should have won and I believe would have given the U.K. a top 10 place, around 7th/8th.

  6. They were the epitome of nice, but that is not enough.

  7. The song wasn’t without qualities, but it was a bit anonymous too. It didn’t really reach out.

  8. There wasn’t anything to dislike about the UK entry this year but alas, there wasn’t anything that would make people vote for it either. As Shevek has said: the boys were nice, and let me add that the song was pleasant. Unfortunately, pleasant is the kiss of death in ESC, and thus the song was forgotten by most people a couple of minutes after J & J had left the stage. I predicted a bottom 3 placing from the very beginning because the final ranking in ESC is not about quality but about appeal. You get quality and instant songs in the top 10, then the terrible or joky ones (and bland stuff representing countries with significant automatic points from friends) mid-table … and finally the forgettable ones from countries without automatic support at the bottom of the table.

  9. I said it would finish bottom 3 and it did.

    If it wasn’t even good enough for The Wanted a few years ago, it certainly was in no way good enough for Eurovision.

  10. The reason it failed is that it’s an uninteresting song.It was the only entry and performance i never watched in full.They’re anonymous and below average performers.”Shine a little light” was much better and would have avoided the much dreaded bottom-5 finnish.I don’t know what they were thinking when they picked Joe and Jake.

  11. Well I’ll say it: I liked it on the night. The lads felt fresh, simple, straight forward and most of all decent. They actually felt likable, which is a first in Uk entries since 2008 imo. I know plenty of the people doing esc since then from the Uk were genuinely likable, but they didnt come across as such on the night since Andy I reckon, and even the 2009 great result was overshadowed by the pompous ALW on stage. So I liked it ok. The song was dated but it was very well pointed out above that Malta or Poland were too, and they did fine with juries and televote respectively. And this one felt LESS dated and MORE vintage than these two. And the guys, who were insanely weak on a few occasions before the contest, rose to the occasion. It would be around my 17th on the night, like juries, and I fear the awful draw killed them with televote, plus the rare “vintage” votes went to other entries instead. I dont feel sad for it, I didnt care for it before the contest and expected it to be bottom 3 with Germany and Czech Republic (and battling it with Spain), so that was the LEAST surprising bit of the night really.

    • “They actually felt likable, which is a first in Uk entries since 2008 imo”

      Andy Abraham coming last was a big letdown form me personally.

      • Totally agreed, especially since I hated Poland and Germany more. But also Spain which deserved to be last (luckily, Ireland, Czech Rep, Estonia or Andorra were already kicked out in the semis).

        • The more silly sides of me means that I cannot hate Spain (*blush*), but Germany, Ireland, CZ and Estonia were indeed awful. As for the Polish song, I just find it boring.

  12. The orchestration was quite good imo so I enjoyed it a bit because of that alone, but the rest was pretty weak, so overall definitely not good enough. Expected result.

  13. Not THAT bad, but in a competitive contest this was a well deserved bottom 3…

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