I have many thoughts on the UK entry, and could talk a lot about it (I have a website for that) but I’m going to boil it down to this. The BBC’s Guy Freeman realised what ‘Contest’ means. Only the result on the night matters. Not chart success, not YouTube views, not fan opinion or if it works down the Euroclub. It’s a Contest, and finding a way to score is the only mark that counts.
Freeman (who heads the BBC’s delegation) could have played it safe, found a nice middle of the road song, dug up a manic pixie dream girl singer from BBC Introducing, went through the motions, and probably managed 10-15th place.
Instead Freeman has got ballsy. It’s a contra-strategy song, It literally is all or nothing. “Still In Love WIth You” will either fly high and smash into the Top Ten with a cinematic presentation mixing emotional distance, parallax moves, cross fades, and Charlestons… or it becomes a hot mess of poor camera angles, no visual story telling, and static performers in front of generic audience sweeping shots.
Everyone expected Freeman to zig (as did I). Instead he’s zagged, trusting his team to put on the show of a lifetime, trusting that something different and mould-breaking has more chance in a flanking manoeuvre than a direct assault against the likes of Sweden, Italy, and Estonia,, and building up the momentum of publicity and recognition. He’s treated it not as a ‘how to get a number one song’ but ‘how to win a competition’, The BBC has little musical resources, the industry won’t supply him any heavy guns, so he goes guerrilla in his musical war against the other 39 countries.
Loving the strategy. Loving the risk taking. Loving the courage.