Eurovision and the Welsh affair
On 27th January 2017, the United Kingdom held its second national final "Eurovision: You decide" where six acts competed for the honour of representing the UK at Eurovision in Ukraine. On that night, a combination of televotes combined with jury vote meant that Lucie Jones won the ticket to Kyiv with the song, "Never Give up on You" written by Denmark’s very own winner Emmelie de Forest. Born in Cardiff in 1991, Lucie Jones is one of many Eurovision artists that has come from Wales. Although a little too early to tell how she will fair at the competition, here at Eurovoxx we will look at how fellow Welsh artists have performed, and see if there have been more successes than failures at the competition.
Joe and Jake (United Kingdom 2016) Scored 62 Points: Position 24
We don't have to go far back in Eurovision history to see that in the previous year, the British public decided this duo would represent the U.K in Stockholm. Joe the youngest of the two was born and resides in Ruthin Wales. Unfortunately, not a runaway success for the UK, they came 24th out of 26 nations in the final. The jury votes were relatively kind to Joe and Jake receiving 54 points (position 17) including 'douze point' from Malta. However, they only scored 8 with the televotes (position 25). Their single reached number 81 in the UK singles chart, and since Eurovision they have sang at various events.
Bonnie Tyler (United Kingdom 2013) Scored 23 Points: Position 19
Again, we go back to Sweden to find the United Kingdom’s next welsh entry at Eurovision. This time it came in the form of 80's queen Bonnie Tyler, born in Neath, South Wales. Internally selected by the BBC she was confirmed on 17th January 2013 with the song, "Believe in Me". The corporation were keen to show they were not ageist again this year. Very popular among her fans, and those abroad who remembered her hits 'Total Eclipse of the heart", "Holding out for a hero", and "It's a Heartache". The song was chosen because the BBC wanted fans to believe, and presumably vote for her, something that never happened. Considering she couldn't sing and the backing singers carried the song through, she didn't come last. She released an album called 'Rocks and Honey' the same year which sold reasonably well in several European countries. " Believe in me" charted at number 93 in the UK singles chart.
Jon Lillygreen and the Islanders (Cyprus 2010) Scored 16 Points: Position 23
Although the band was from Cyprus, Jon Lillygreen was Welsh. Born in Newport he along with the band Islanders took to Oslo to represent Cyprus in 2010, with the song, "Life Looks better in Spring". Not a runaway success, the song was received well, and just qualified in semi-final 2. In the final, although expected to perform better they could only manage 16 points. Since Eurovision he has sung at numerous local venues in South Wales, but not released any more music.
James Fox (United Kingdom 2004) Scored 29 Points: Position 19
After Jemini in 2003 scored the UK's first and only ever 'nil point', the BBC changed their national final from the subdued Sunday Song for Europe, to a prime-time Saturday slot 'Making Your Mind Up'. James won the national final convincingly, and went to Istanbul to make amends for the previous year’s results. The song was called "Hold on to our Love", an up-tempo ballad, that did reasonably well. It did not come last but considering the events of the previous years, it did not embarrass the UK, scoring 29 more points than Jemini. From Cardiff, he has released several albums since, and wrote and recorded the Cardiff FA cup final song "Bluebirds flying High". The song did peak at number 13 in the UK singles charts.
Jessica Garlick (United Kingdom 2002) Scored 111 Points: Position 3
Jessica Garlick although born in Derbyshire, spent all her life in Wales. Prior to Eurovision she was among the top ten on the ITV show 'Pop Idol', she won the Song for Europe in 2002 with the song "Come Back". Singing from position two which no country has ever won from, no-one expected great things. On the night however, her gentle anthemic ballad proved very popular with televoters who voted for her in large numbers. She even scored 12 points from the Austrian Jury. This was the best result the UK had since 1998. Again, just like James Fox her song charted at number 13 in the singles charts, and since she has made a few TV appearances.
Emma (United Kingdom 1990) Scored 87 Points: Position 6
The United Kingdom must go back twelve years to find its next Welsh performer at Eurovision. Emma from my hometown of Bridgend was the youngest ever UK entrant at age 15 years old. She won the national final ‘A Song for Europe” with nearly three times more votes than the runner up. She came a respectable 6th position, and sung a ballsy power ballad called “Give a little Love Back to the World”, which was a plea for environmentalism. She has not been seen since performing, but did enter the UK singles chart at number 33, which was the highest chart placing since 1984.
Nicky Stevens Brotherhood of Man (United Kingdom 1976)
Scored 164 Points: Position 1
Nicky Stevens who was one fourth of the Band, Brotherhood of Man, and the only ever Welsh entrant to win Eurovision. On 3rd April 1976, the contest was staged in Netherlands, and the UK entered with the song “Save Your Kisses for me”. It won with 164 points, and percentage wise scored extremely well and high with all juries. The winning song became a worldwide hit, reaching number 1 in many countries including the United Kingdom, and today remains one of the largest selling Eurovision records of all time. After the contest, they released many more songs and albums such as the song “Angelo” which too had massive success around the UK and Europe. They still perform together, and performed their winning hit at the 60th Eurovision anniversary show in London 2016.
Mary Hopkins (United Kingdom 1970) Scored 26 Points: Position 2
Wales first ever entrant at Eurovision was Pontardawe's very own Mary Hopkins with the song, “Knock, Knock, Who’s There”? She did very well at Eurovision with her quirky song, and lost out to Irelands Dana with “All kinds of Everything”. The song was her second number 2, and did very well in the charts. She had a number one hit with the song “Those were the days”, and was still making music well into the 1980’s. She was one of the first female artists to also be signed up to the Beatles record label.
When it comes to Welsh performers in Eurovision it has been a bit of a mixed bag. It seems those performers who starred in the earlier contests did a lot better including a win and a second position. However, in recent years these Welsh performers have fared less better. Still respectable and not a single Welsh participant coming last. How will Cardiff’s Lucie Jones perform this year? Will you be cheering her on in word and gesture? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget we are on Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Instagram. Be sure to like, #, @ , tweet, like or subscribe for all the latest news, gossip and interviews from the world of Eurovision.