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Eurovision 2009: United Kingdom

May 9, 2009

READ REVIEWS: Semi-Final One | Semi-Final Two | Grand Final

SONG REVIEW | REHEARSAL NOTES | PERFORMANCE NOTES

PERFORMANCE NOTES

Jade Ewen hasn’t sung in a performance yet as the UK automatically qualifies for the final on account of the percentage of the tab we pick up. However, there have been sneaky videos of her in one of the dress rehearsals and being British and biassed as well as an overly emotional sort, I figured I’d drop in that video here for your viewing pleasure. It goes without saying that this does rather make me blub like a baby which is EXACTLY what we need. 

REHEARSAL NOTES

Personally speaking, this has been a much anticipated video on the Eurovision.TV You Tube channel, almost as nerve-wracking as waiting to see our act perform during the live event. What would she look like? Will she look a dogs dinner? Will we cringe on the big night? Will we hang our heads in shame? 

I don’t think so. At least I don’t think so at the moment. I’m pleased to say that I reckon our girl Jade is looking good on stage, with a simple staircase and a handful of violinists.

I am a bit taken aback about seeing the staircase, I have to confess.  I knew there was going to be a prop, but not what it was. Quite how the BBC team managed to smuggle that past the gates of Television Centre I don’t know. My webcam must have had a dodgy connection to the network that day. One or two of my informants will be taken to task first thing on Monday morning.

The smoke machine may be a bit of an issue especially if someone forgets to close the doors when Jade steps on to stage. However, if Chiara decides against the smoke during her act (assuming she gets to the final) then the UK could well be the only song with smoke. Maybe that could be our gimmick, if by the middle of next week we’re looking for an extra “push”.

Jade’s got her microphone technique sorted out although there’s a smidgen of shakiness on one low note and after the modulation (I can provide you with the bar numbers if it necessary). Some of us are quite picky, I know. I just figure it’s worth flagging up. 

That said, I’m feeling quite proud. I reckon we’ll do a good job. And most important – especially for my boss if he’s reading this – I will now be able to enjoy next week and thus concentrate more during the day knowing that all is well in the UK camp in Moscow. 

Nice work producers Tumbridge and Parsons. Nice work indeed. However, I urge against complacency. All sorts of nasty unexpected and unpleasant things could happen. No going out to bars please. No late night parties. And absolutely no fraternising.

[Read what BBC Producer Helen Tumbridge had to say about the same rehearsal]

SONG REVIEW

Writing this review after nearly all the other countries have rehearsed may not be necessarily fair, especially given that I’ve listened to it endlessly since it Jade Ewen’s performance was selected by the UK public at the BBC’s Your Country Needs You programme.Viewers selected the artist from a final line up of three (two twins,  musical theatre lad Mark from Wales who frankly would have been eaten alive in Moscow and East End girl Jade).

Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the syrupy musical theatre tune (thus actually making a creation of his through to the Eurovision in the way he didn’t in the late sixties – that failed Eurovision effort with Tim Rice song eventually got reworked and stuck into Jesus Christ Superstar as King Herod’s Song), Diane Warren wrote the lyrics and most of us clapped our hands together with glee. The slow ballad may well have cheesy, predictable lyrics but the melody builds and the modulation begs for wide angles of a vast arena to compliment it. 

Jade doesn’t necessarily demonstrate faultless singing in this live performance from back in February. Her microphone technique is a little on the breathy side and there are moments when her diaphragm support needs some attention – hence the ocassional wavering (aside from the deliberate use of vibrato). 

Maybe it’s a bit too-musical theatre for Eurovision and maybe in comparison to everyone else our Jade will be laughed at. Maybe Lloyd Webber has misjudged the audience demographic for Eurovision too turning in a song he knows plenty of middle-aged women would like but failing to grasp that the middle-aged and grannies aren’t watching Eurovision anymore. Who knows. Maybe it will prove a refreshing alternative to the bubblegum pop, club beats and downright weird. Just so long as our Jade delivers a convincing performance of what has been the best song we’ve sent in years, then one Eurovision far will be satisfied.

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  1. Eurovision 2009: Germany « Thoroughly Good Blog

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