The Eurovision Song Contest is taking place this week in the Ukraine which means, once again, the world’s biggest, most colourful and diverse group of competitors descends on one city to sing their little hearts out, and once again, a bunch of British critics rub their collective chins and wonder despairingly whether the UK has any kind of chance of victory, or whether Brexit has banged the final nail in the coffin of our already beleaguered prospects.
It’s been a long 20 years since the UK came home covered in glory, courtesy of Katrina and the Waves and ‘Walking on Sunshine’. So there’s really no pressure for Lucie Jones, this year’s UK entrant. However, she’ll be crossing everything she avoids the distinctly unpatriotic lack of fervour that greeted our 2003 entrant Jemini – an unedifying, if historic, nul points. Nobody needs that!
What can we tell you?
1. Lucie will be representing the UK at the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest, taking place in Kiev in Ukraine. The UK entry gets automatic entry into the final, so Saturday evening will be our first chance to watch her compete.
2. Her song ‘Never Give Up on You’ is a Evanescence-sounding ballad, penned by former Eurovision contestant Emelie de Forest, The Treatment and Lawrie Martin.
3. 26-year-old Lucie comes from a tiny village called Pentyrch near Cardiff in Wales.
5. 8 years ago, she took part in ‘The X Factor’, the same year as Olly Murs, Edward and Stacey Solomon. She belted out ‘I Will Always Love You’ and got through to the live shows, where she eventually finished in seventh place. Her exit was sparked by Simon Cowell’s controversial choice to keep Jedward in the competition (coincidentally, also Eurovision entrants for Ireland in 2011).
6. She swore then she wouldn’t be taking part in any more talent contests.
7. It wasn’t all bad, though. She met her fiance Ethan, a French American chef from Chicago, when they were both trying their luck on the talent show. They will marry later in the year.
8. Lucie’s acting debut came in 2015, appearing in ‘Midsomer Murders’. This may be enough to secure her some extra votes from the Bosnian audience, where the programme remains at the top of the country’s list for viewing figures.
9. She’s triumphed on stage, too, with roles in ‘Legally Blonde’, ‘Ghost: The Musical’, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Rent’.
10. Whatever Lucie may lose out on with Brexit and other political influences weighing in, she makes up for with enthusiasm. When she won the ‘You Decide’ competition to participate in the contest, she said:
“Eurovision is different. It’s amazing. It’s something that I’ve watched my whole life and as a singer you very rarely get the opportunity to represent your country. So I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
11. Her two favourite UK predecessors are Katrina and the Waves (1997) and, of course, The Fizz (1981). She will, no doubt, be seeking to emulate them in victory come Saturday night in Kiev. Altogether now... douze points!
Mel Giedroyc and Scott Mills host the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals live on BBC Four on Tuesday 9 and Thursday 11 May. Graham Norton hosts the Eurovision Song Contest final on BBC One on Saturday 13 May.