Despite the sheer talent in the United Kingdom, the nation has often struggled to get their feet off the ground at Eurovision. Even while showcasing up and coming talent, the issue has more to do with their song choice. Hoping to shake things up this year is James Newman with an upbeat number, Embers. Will this be the change we are hoping to see for the United Kingdom?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
I will admit, I haven’t listened to this song much in the lead up to the contest. My first impressions from when I first heard the song were that this was a nice upbeat number from the UK, but as you can guess by my disinterest in listening to it again, it didn’t really capture my attention. Listening to it again now, I still feel a lot of the same sentiments as before.
Embers is a funky pop number which features a strong brass section. I feel like brass instruments have this ability to make songs feel more dated, and I feel that way about Embers. There’s such a concerted effort to bring a modern entry to Eurovision, yet this feels like it could have fit into the contest line-up a decade ago. Despite that, the energy is positive in the song, and the choruses are quite catchy. This song would have excelled more with a larger live audience, as they could have really captured the party vibe.
James has performed the song live now, and it wasn’t a bad performance at all. It would be good to see some live backing vocals for this, perhaps with the recorded vocals as an additional support. I’ve also listened to the acoustic version, and I have to say, this is certainly my preferred version of the song. Nonetheless, we will see the brassier version at Eurovision!
Performance and Act
With a smaller and seated audience, it will have to be staged in a way that manages to capture the party vibe without looking awkward. The staging needs to be uplifting, just like the song itself. I wouldn’t say that James is the most natural performer, but he is a likeable performer. He has a positive energy that will light up the room. Pun obviously intended.
This isn’t my favourite song, nor close to it, but I can appreciate why it is liked by others. It’s a fun song for the UK, and should have a decent chance of getting out of the bottom 5 in the final. The staging and running order might affect its chances, but time will tell.
Song and Vocals
Embers is a feeling-good song from the United Kingdom. One of the better songs in recent years from the BBC, I must say. The trumpets give it a cheerful vibe and James Newman looks to be a joyful fella. I don’t know about his live capabilities, but in studio recordings he has shown to be able to produce some good notes.
Performance and Act
The UK song asks to be danced to, but I don’t know if Newman is the right man to do that without making the act very awkward. The United Kingdom sadly has a history with this, so I am not hopeful. I can see how they will make a gig out of the trumpet players, giving them an important part in the act for the United Kingdom this year, and that can be fun to look at.
The United Kingdom has a huge music industry but never comes up with their A-game at Eurovision. Such a wasted opportunity. They come closer this year with the name Newman, but it also gives me a vibe of how it went at the BBC offices… “Hey, do you know John Newman! We got his brother…” No, I am still waiting for a real big name to step up and lead the UK into a bright future at Eurovision. Which will happen one day, I still believe.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 5.6/10