Editorials & Opinion

What will it take for the UK to score a top 10 finish again?

The UK hasn’t had much luck in this decade trying to crack the top 10. As of 2017, UK is the only Big 5 country who has not achieved an overall result that has placed them in the top 10. The UK’s highest placing in the decade so far was when Blue participated in Düsseldorf and achieved 11th place. They were pipped to the 10th place spot at the last minute when Latvia gave Germany 8 points!

How did the UK do in 2017?

When the rehearsals started in Kyiv, the UK was considered by many to be a shoo-in to be on the left-hand side of the scoreboard. Bookies even predicted that Lucie would do better than what Blue had achieved in Düsseldorf.

However, even with a stellar performance, a song written by a Eurovision winner and a promotional tour, Lucie missed out on the top 10. She placed 15th on the scoreboard after finishing 10th in the jury vote with 99 points and 20th in the public televote with 12 points.
Lucie might not have achieved the result all the fans wanted her to achieve but she managed a modest result if you compare the Big 5 results this year:

Country Placing in 2017
Italy 6th place
France 12th place
United Kingdom 15th place
Germany 25th place
Spain 26th place – Last

If you compare it with the other Big 5 countries, the UK has always been in the middle of the pack when it comes to the Big 5 results. It has been this way for the past few years.

Top ten placings for the Big 5 in the 2010s

Country Top 10 placings between 2010 and 2017
France 2016 (6th place)
Germany 2010 (Winner), 2011 (10th place), 2012 (8th place)
Italy 2011 (2nd place), 2012, (9th place), 2013 (7th place), 2015 (3rd place), 2017 (6th place)
Spain 2012 (10th place), 2014 (10th place)
United Kingdom None

As you can see above, Italy has been successful ever since it returned to the contest in 2011. They have placed in the top 10 five out of the seven times they have participated. However, the table represents the overall results.
If only one factor of the voting is considered, then the table would mean the Big 5 would have more top 10 results. For instance, the UK would be then included on the list. Going back to the contest in 2011, Blue achieved 5th place in the televoting and this year Lucie achieved 10th place in the jury vote.

What can the UK do to achieve a better placing again?

For the past two years, the UK has finally listened to the public and has staged a national selection in the form of ‘Eurovision: You Decide’. This year, it was responsible for drastically improving UK’s result (15th) compared to the result Joe and Jake achieved last year (24th) who only matched Electro Velvet’s result from the previous year.
Overall, it has improved results a tiny bit. But personally, I think that they can do much better work with the way they stage the selection itself. I think that the BBC should take an interest in how other countries do their national selection. For example, they could possibly take inspiration from Nordic national selections such as Melodifestivalen, Melodi Grand Prix and UMK.
But knowing the BBC they would probably not want to fork out lots of cash if it means they won’t receive a top 10 placing in the end. So I suggest maybe using fresh faces in the form of BBC Introducing and have a longer national selection (perhaps two semi-finals and a grand final) using artists from this platform. For example, Molly in 2014 was found through BBC Introducing. She managed to achieve the 4th highest UK placing since the introduction of the semi-finals.
By having an unknown artist, it would mean that the artist representing the country can have the chance to make themselves known to the whole of Europe and have their song listened to by over 200 million viewers worldwide.

Will we ever see the UK in the top 10 again?

Unfortunately, the current political climate and ‘Brexit’ situation is making the majority of the British public believe that the UK’s results will be negatively affected as a result. Perhaps, this negativity is having a knock-on effect on the quality of entries the UK can attract. However, this year proved to be the opposite, with the UK securing a better result post-Brexit than pre-Brexit!
The UK entries have done generally well with the juries but the public televote lets them down at the last hurdle. If the UK can somehow find the right equation and find a song that appeals to both the Eurovision juries and the public audience then they might have a shot again!
Do you think that the UK will ever crack the top 10 again this decade, or even at all? Leave a comment below with your opinion and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ESCXTRA!

Tim Jumawan

I started watching Eurovision ever since I moved to the UK in 2006, obsessed since 2012 and haven't looked back since.

Comments on What will it take for the UK to score a top 10 finish again?

  • http://58points.com John Egan

    It has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with what the UK sends each year. Austria won with no diaspora or bloc vote: Netherlands were second the same year. Portugal won both scoring components massively. In 2010 Germany wasn’t exactly politically popular in southern Europe.
    Moaning won’t improve the UK’s results. Sending something worthy of one of the two largest anglophone music industries will. Blue was the right idea 5 years too late. STEPS for 2018 would be foolish. And not relying solely on the televote for the 2017 national final is why you got something point worthy from Lucie.

  • Ryan Cobb

    Agreed! Sending good but safe songs are going to appeal to juries as they will happily put them at the lower end of their top 10s, but when the public only vote for their 1 or 2 favourites (on most occasions), the safe songs just don’t cut it.
    I think the BBC needs to continue to focus on getting the highest quality songwriters, it’s a song contest at the end of the day. Would the UK’s biggest DJs, Sigma, Sigala, even Anton Powers really turn their nose up at just producing/composing a song? They don’t even have to be credited if they don’t want to. If the UK sent something like Anton Powers & Pixie Lott’s ‘Baby’, it’d be both on trend, modern and lends itself to an AMAZING stage performance – just see their performance of it on The Voice UK earlier this year!

  • Stephen Podesta

    Well it is all about attitude, the rest of Europe don’t take the UK seriously at all, look at Australia 3 top 10 acts in 3 years, People like Australias attitude and we try to send good singers that can actually sing and songs which are more modern.
    The UK when it comes to songs they send songs that are from the 90’s and voters mark them down because of the fact they don’t think the UK is serious about the contest anymore.
    2017 artist was good, but the song was not.
    Getting the Public to also choose the song wont work either.

  • Tim Jumawan

    Well public vote is a 50/50 sometimes they get it right sometimes they don’t having a jury pick the act and a song doesn’t always guarantee a good placing.

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