It's time for us to pick the UK's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest! You Decide host Mel Giedroyc talks about our chances of winning, the impact of Brexit and partying with Mary Berry...
Eurovision superfan and host of UK selection show, You Decide, Mel Giedroyc explains why the UK absolutely CAN win the Eurovision Song Contest...
You're back to host Eurovision: You Decide, the song selection show for the UK entry, live from Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo this week. What's the atmosphere usually like on the night, Mel? "It’s extraordinary. We did it at the Forum in Kentish Town last year and when I stepped out onto the stage, the absolute joy, madness and wonderfulness of the whole thing lifted me off my feet. That sounds a bit over the top but Eurovision IS over the top. You have to totally embrace this slightly crazy world."
You Decide allows the British public to vote for the act to represent the UK. What are the key ingredients for a winning entry? "Just a good song, a good song, and a good song! I don’t get to hear the six songs in the running until quite close to lift off. Ken Bruce will play all six songs on his Radio 2 show on January 23, then we go live on TV on January 27. There’s nothing like live TV, that’s where it’s at. Literally anything could happen."
Mel on last year's You Decide show with Joe and Jake, who were chosen to represent the UK
You’re also hosting the Eurovision semi-finals with Scott Mills again, ahead of the grand final in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 13. Do you really think the UK can ever win Eurovision again? "Let’s be honest, since Katrina and the Waves winning in 1997, our track record has been pretty up and down. But I genuinely think that, if the song is good enough, anyone can win Eurovision."
Other countries seem to take Eurovision really seriously. Do you think our problem is that we don’t take it seriously enough? "I know we have a bit of an arms’ length ironic view of it but, for most countries taking part, it really is serious stuff. I reckon a lot of people think ‘Does it really matter?’. But I think if we pulled something of a winning variety out of the bag we would suddenly feel very different about it."
Mel with her co-host for the Eurovision Semi-Finals, Scott Mills
Do you fear people might not vote for us because of Brexit? "Scott and I will try to be ambassadors and go out there in the spirit of loveliness and togetherness and try to make some friends. It's interesting times – but we're there for the entertainment and good vibes. The semi-finals are always such an incredible party atmosphere – it’s like going to the World Cup final… but with a lot more sequins!"
What are your all-time favourite Eurovision moments? "I’m a massive fan of the 1977 Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran duet, Rock Bottom, where they were singing back-to-back with a grand piano. We were totally robbed that year. I absolutely love that. There’s also a Finnish reggae number, Reggae OK, from 1981, which will be forever imprinted in my psyche.
Katrina and the Waves, who won the Eurovision for the UK back in 1997. Can we be lucky 20 years on?
"And I’ve got to say Katrina and the Waves in 1997, what an extraordinary performance. You can see it in her eyes when she comes on stage; she just knows she’s going to win. That’s what we’ve got to do. There’s no room for fear or trepidation, it’s got to be somebody or group that just goes on that stage and knows that they can win."
Where do you usually watch the Eurovision final? Do you have a party? “For the last five years I have sat in a hotel room with Sue Perkins, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. I always hosted the party, and demanded a strict dress code – white toweling dress gowns and white slippers and you had to bring a flag. They were always very well behaved and we always drank a pink Prosecco and got very merry. Mary Berry’s reaction to Conchita in 2014 was pretty astounding. I really hope we can get together on that night again this year.”
Let's party! Mel gets in the spirit of Eurovision with Sue Perkins, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry
You co-present new BBC1 talent show Let it Shine with the UK’s ‘voice of Eurovision’ Graham Norton. What’s it been like working with him, and the show’s judges Gary Barlow and Martin Kemp? "It’s a sheer joy to be working with Graham – we’ve had the most fun I think it’s possible to have. I’ve been a very big fan of Spandau Ballet all my life so working with Martin Kemp is very exciting. And Gary Barlow is sensational of course. For a peri-menopausal woman, it’s a joy to be doing that job!"
Mel alongside her Let it Shine co-host and the UK's 'voice' of Eurovision, Graham Norton
Let it Shine is on the hunt for a boyband to appear in a musical featuring the songs of Take That. Do you think Gary could write us a Eurovision hit? "Hell yeah! I just wonder if Eurovision would be his bag. It would be amazing, though, and let’s get Gary – or even Adele – to perform it. I’ve never talked to him about it actually, but I might have a word and try and lay the foundations for next year. We need to have something that is intrinsically good. It could be a ballad or a dance number - as long as it's not Jemini. I adored Jemini - but I don't think we can do with a repeat of that!"
Eurovision: You Decide is on Friday January 27 at 7.30pm on BBC2
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With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!