United Kingdom: James Newman – Embers
Martin: An internal selection for my home country means I don’t get the opportunity to sigh loudly about another national final full of bland songs from the BBC, which is a shame. But! The re-selection of the charming James Newman does allow me to make a direct comparison between “Embers” and last year’s “My Last Breath”, which – of course – never got the opportunity to shine on the Rotterdam stage.
I was curious about the planned staging for the latter, which apparently involved water on a huge scale, but the song felt like something of a higher-quality take on the mid-tempo, MOR approach that ended poorly for Michael Rice in Tel Aviv. The same certainly can’t be said of “Embers”, which is unashamedly up-tempo and – god forbid – almost contemporary. Hurrah!
Is it good, though? Well, I enjoy listening to it, and it’s hugely refreshing to have a UK entry that doesn’t actively sound like an attempt to write “an ESC song”. On the flipside, I’m worried about the staging (and the prospect for dancing), and the studio production is weirdly cheap and empty in places. If it comes to life on stage, though, there’s some potential there.
Would 20th count as a decent result for the UK…?
Shi: The good news: I tapped my foot as soon as the song started, which I think was the point. The bad news: staging an uptempo song and sympathetic strong vocalist who is not one to break into a dance is tricky even for countries that usually stage their songs well.
Felix: I never listened to most 2020 entries, so I can’t compare the songs of those artists that were already selected last year. But now talking about “Embers”: So far, it leaves me rather cold. But even though I don’t like the sound of contemporary productions, it surely has some potential.
video and title image source: eurovision.tv