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Sam Ryder is another Eurovision entrant by the numbers for the UK – why can’t we reset our mindset?

WWe live in a Europe that has changed a lot compared to a year ago. Old Eastern Bloc alliances were smashed and forged anew. Britain is no longer the pariah it was after its selfish and exclusive Brexit. And the stakes have never been higher. It’s time for us to pull ourselves together, come together, rekindle our fighting spirit and accept the harsh truth of our situation: Eurovision is no longer a joke.

In 2022, the youngest winners of the once clownesque annual parade of pop novelties, gimmicks and cheese – namely Italy’s Måneskin – can win an MTV Europe Music Award, rake in respectable nominations for Brits and NME Awards alike and move four million singles en route to the Top ten around the world. Eurovision suddenly got very serious, and the rest of the continent, except for Russia, which is now banned from 2022, knows it.

Finland has rolled out the big guns and recruited one of the country’s most successful bands of all time to The Rasmus to represent them this year with the bombastic “Jezebel” – the equivalent of us at least sending Led Zeppelin. And most other countries, realizing that the game and its rewards have been vastly improved, rally the best or most entertaining musical gladiators they can muster, determined to get douze points from the Montenegrin jury or die trying . But not the UK – if today’s announcement that Tik Tok star Sam Ryder will represent the UK is anything.

Italy are hoping to capitalize on Måneskin’s success by using 2019 runner-up Mahmood for a second chance at glory, this time with a passionate and shuddering duet with BLANCO called “Brividi” which, if you put the Subtitles can be trusted, drugged by a cruel snake-eyed seducer who is only impressed by suitors on a ‘diamond wheel’.

Iceland seems poised to send a bunch of flag-waving techno-gothic Spice Girls on scooters called Daughters Of Reykjavik. San Marino are clearly chasing the Måneskin buck with a raunchy and OTT electro rock rampage from Achille Lauro called “Stripper,” performed by sci-fi S&M punks who might already be pantsless behind their lascivious glam guitars.

And Great Britain? Um, will one more over-the-top electro-soul ballad suffice? Something to finally prove to the world that the UK is the world leader in bearded white dudes whining R&B by the numbers? There was a palpable sense of desperation and defeatism in Radio One’s Greg James, who implored his listeners to truly stand behind the Jack Garrett-esque Sam Ryder and his Rag’n’Bone Man-esque “Space Man.” Because Greg knows that we have long since given up on our “vision”.

Having thrown the likes of Blue, Engelbert Humperdink and Bonnie Tyler at it in recent years – with decidedly unfavorable results – and endured a humiliating run to the bottom of the table since 2018, including a final spot for Michael Rice in 2019 and one In fact, which scored James Newman zero last year, enthusiasm for the competition is at an all-time low in the UK. Honestly, we seem like just another nudge from Sweden, a long way from throwing a strop, picking up our Graham Norton and going home. Instead, like Mickey Rourke’s wrestlers, we’re stuck in the minor leagues year after year, chasing our long-faded glory days and fooling ourselves that we’re still fit for Bucks Fizz.

As one of the “Big Five” countries that always qualify for the Eurovision final thanks to their large financial contribution to the European Broadcast Union (at least until Nigel Farage starts arguing we could use that money to dismantle Dover Beach instead) , we are required to emerge. And it shows. For a number of years Britain has approached Eurovision like Tim Henman approaches Wimbledon, Lord Buckethead’s election for Parliament, or you and I solve a problem. We dutifully try, but success has become a mere fantasy. When Eurovision claims it’s a non-political event, it’s a bit like Boris Johnson claiming that the champagne fountain and Major Lazer’s pounding didn’t alert him that a party was underway. Knowing how hated and ridiculed we are by our former EU comrades, we tend to sneak in as if we were there to pick up the kids from our ex-partner’s wedding.

The threat of humiliating defeat at the hands of a cackling continent, and then being burned at the stake by jingo mobs straight from the plane, has made Eurovision look like certain career suicide for our established stars. If they signed up, they might as well end their performance by disappearing in a 20ft red cloak. Hence, we have an intimidated and humble attitude towards our competitive overseas pop skills. But politics have changed, Europe has united, Brexit is slightly older news and now Eurovision has gained credibility and become an international platform for truly relevant contemporary music. As one of the world’s leading music nations, we should own this thing, but it will require a complete reboot of our Eurovision mindset.

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Well, on a purely tactical level, playing an inexperienced sub like Sam Ryder this year while keeping Sheeran on the bench makes a lot of sense. The 2022 competition is already sewn for the bookmakers’ favorite Kalush Orchestra, the entry of Ukraine. But over the next year we must recruit our best talent and biggest stars to restore British pop culture’s eminence. no less than a Stormzy, an Adele, or a LadBaby will do. The ideal act would be already popular in Europe, have a dedicated fan base that could easily shake off zero points, territories they have yet to conquer and more flamboyant and fabulous than Eurovision itself. Yes, years & years, your country needs you.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/eurovision-2022-sam-ryder-b2033019.html Sam Ryder is another Eurovision entrant by the numbers for the UK – why can’t we reset our mindset?

Tom Vazquez

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