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Eurovision 2010: Justin Lee Collins’ Eurovision bid

December 6, 2009

Is Justin Lee Collins promising a quality piece of Eurovision infotainment or just leaving it a bit late to throw himself into the Eurovision arena?

Stand-up comedian Justin Lee Collins has followed the Bucks Fizz path to European domination by starting off with an advert in the theatre and TV industry newspaper The Stage.

Well, actually no, that’s not strictly the case.

First off, it’s a news story on The Stage website. Secondly, it’s Tiger Aspect – the TV production company behind the info-docu-entertainment programme for Channel Five – who have issued a press release outlining their plans for a programme they’re working on.

Tiger Aspect are looking for interested parties who are willing or able to compose a song for Bristol-based Justin Lee Collins. In turn, he’ll choose the one he likes best and then take that to various European countries who may be interested or desperate for his contribution.

Matthew Hemley’s piece for the Stage references Estonia and Spain (along with Romania, Ireland and Latvia) as countries who might be a potential hit for Collins. The fact that Estonia’s deadline for potential entries is 7th January 2010 and that Spanish broadcaster TVE demands entrants must be resident in the country for at least 2 years must surely place a certain amount of pressure on Collins before he’s kicked off his attempt.

Assuming Collins has lived in Spain for 2 years already, sending out a call to action to composers a little more than a month before the deadline (at the time of writing Estonia’s deadline is 7th January 2010, Spain’s 12th January) seems like he or his production company Tiger Aspect are cutting a bit fine, doesn’t it?

Maybe not. If The Sun newspaper is to believed, Justin Lee Collins may already have found his songwriting in Ronan Keating.

This is a TV documentary after all. We don’t want to leave finding a composer to chance after all. It must surely be a good idea to have things lined up already just in case the contributions turn out to be a bit useless. And of course, if you get a story published on the internet then you can reference that in the documentary at the very least. That’s the way it works after all, doesn’t it?

Irish broadcaster RTE may be an interested party.

RTE may be keen to go for a budget option, but they’ll no doubt be wary of going with a potentially comedy option given their disappointing result with screaming puppet Dustin The Turkey in 2008. No matter how good Collins is at singing, he is still known primarily as a stand-up comedian after all. Is Collins’ established audience a marketing dream or a PR nightmare on the continent?

The bottom line is that Tiger Aspect is producing a television programme which will – presumably – coiincide with Eurovision in May 2010. It will be a piece of entertainment. If done well it will be a good thing for Eurovision fans in the UK, similarly good for Eurovision in the UK so long as the overriding aim of the piece isn’t pursuing the now tired path of post-modernist humour.

In case you’re looking for a backup justification, investigative journalism is an equally tired one. Former-Watchdog journalist Jonathan Maitland was the last example of that when he participated in the BBC’s 2002 Song for Europe as a member of his own wedding band Surf n Turf. He published his “How To Have a Number One Hit” – sadly, no longer available. If you’re going to do Eurovision do it because you really do want to do it. Please.

Having said all of that (and indulging my predictable Eurovision fantasies just for a moment), it might just be Justin Lee Collins offers the nearest thing to Eurovision glory for UK fans without the debilitating financial responsibilities associated with actually hosting the event.

Collins may not be lining himself up for UK representation, but by potentially aligning himself with other countries in Europe, UK Eurovision fans are offered the tantalising possibility of a vicarious win for their country.

Mind you, he’d have to find a country willing to take him on first and then convince the population of that country he was their safest bet as well. It’s going to take more than a plausible impersonation of Tom Jones on a live radio show to clinch that. At the very least he’ll almost certainly need to tart up his appearance first.

  1. Your first couple of paragraphs make it sound like the news story itself is the advert. It’s not — if you turn to page 3 of this week’s (December 3) issue os The Stage, you’ll see the advert in question, which is then referenced by the news story. Other than that (admittedly minor) point, I really enjoyed the rest of your post.

  2. More pedantry but Justin Lee Collins has recently lost a fair bit of weight (in reference to your final point).

  3. Hm, didn’t know that Eurovision can interest people in UK… Always thought that only East-European countries pay a lot of attention to the contest.

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  1. Eurovision 2010: Justin Lee Collins hopes to sing for Ireland « thoroughly good blog

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