I want to tell you a story.
February 7, 2018. There we were, safely gathered in Brighton’s Dome to watch the UK’s national final unfold before our eyes. Me, my partner Glyn and our pals Clive and Mel.
Like so many fans, I’d fallen under the spell of Asanda’s Legends. From the latter stages of 2017, there were murmurings and rumblings about the internet that the BBC had come up with an absolute belter of a tune from its songwriting camps. Called Legends, it could set the Brits back on track at Eurovision with an urban feel and beat and a melody that didn’t plan on going anywhere fast after taking refuge in your noggin. There was absolutely no doubt it would walk the UK heat and there were even rumours the final would be scrapped so resources could be diverted into making Legends Lisbon-ready with months to spare.
And so we took our seats. I couldn’t explain why but when I woke up that morning I knew Legends wasn’t going to make it. I didn’t know what else would but somehow, I knew it wouldn’t be the favourite. It felt like too much of an open goal, the sort rarely converted at the British heat.
As the songs flitted past, one by one, we came to Legends. Breathlessly and underwhelmingly (but not that underwhelmingly as repeat viewings prove) delivered by the 16-year-old Asanda, I could tell by the looks on my companions’ faces that they weren’t impressed.
Then along came song five and a happy-go-lucky crop-haired woman with a turquoise bum cape. I still can’t fathom how Storm elicited such enthusiastic clapping from the get-go but that’s exactly what it did. I looked round at my mates and the other half. They were all grinning, nodding and mouthing ‘we want this one!’.
Their wish came true. I wasn’t shocked when SuRie’s name was called out but I wasn’t exactly punching the air either. That said, I was humming the hook for hours afterwards and our pals were chatting about the song for a few days afterwards. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I was too caught up in the legend of Legends to consider an alternative.
And that’s the point of this story. People who I talk to who don’t involve themselves in endless hours of Euro analysis keep telling me how much they love this song. They think it’s quality, it’s fun and some have even said it gives them the tingles. Why can’t Eurovision fans approach it in this way? If there’s been one song caught up in the usual broth of their bike this year, it’s this one and I’m not entirely sure it deserves it.
There are still bits in it that make me itch. The chorus really should have been given more balls. The remix really should have lifted the sparser parts of the arrangement rather than make it even lighter. But while our little pocket rocket is doing her absolute everything to bring home whatever scraps she can from the scoreboard then she surely deserves our fullest support. Whisper it – but once ordinary people get their opinion, this could squeeze on to the lowest reaches of the left hand side. Equally, it could score even less than Electro Velvet did.
But that’s that. Our preview of the 2018 Eurovision songs is at an end and this evening, the first of the semi-finals gets underway in Lisbon. The Contest is here with us again. And I’m just going to enjoy it. If only that pesky scoreboard didn’t ruin it for some of us.