2011 – I Can

Knock Knock Who’s There?

Boy band Blue were formed at millennium time and of course comprised Antony Costa, Duncan James, Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe. They were immediately phenomenally successful scoring three number one albums in the UK in as many years and also topping the singles chart twice in 2001 with “Too Close” and “If You Come Back” and then a year later collaborating with Sir Elton John on a cover of “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”. After a “Best Of“ compilation and subsequent Greatest Hits tour the band disbanded in 2005 as each member pursued their individual aspirations. Antony Costa’s included a shiny-suited appearance in the 2006 UK final where he was a fairly close runner-up to Daz Sampson with his ditty “Beautiful Thing”. Duncan James participated in the elaborate 2009 UK selection process as a celebrity pundit and then also announced the UK votes that year on contest night.

Making Your Mind Up

After two years when the BBC shows featured singers competing to perform a pre-chosen ditty, in 2011 the corporation decided to remove any say at all from their licence-payers (and also the expense of a selection show) by internally selecting both song AND performer. This approach would be followed for the next four years too. After mucho silence and rumours, a press release announced singers and songs, and that was that.

I Love The Little Things

Drawn 14thh of 25 in between (eventual last-placer) Switzerland and Moldova.

Blue were the first all-male group to represent the UK since Ryder exactly a quarter of a century earlier.

That Sounds Good To Me

Result: 11th of 25.

“I Can” accrued votes from no less than twenty-five of the other forty-two countries voting. Its top vote was a twelve from Bulgaria.

When, after the contest, the split jury/televote breakdown was announced, it was revealed that the song would have finished as high as fifth if televote only had counted.

The song made #16 in the UK singles chart, but fared better (perhaps because of the band’s following) in other countries. Making the top ten in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Where Are You Now?

Post Eurovision Blue continue to be a present-tense band six years on although each member also ploughs their own furrow alongside.

Antony Costa has played the lead role in West End musical “Save The Last Dance For Me”

Duncan James has starred in soap Hollyoaks and also ”Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert”

Lee Ryan has been in Celebrity Big Brother and is about to start a stint in Eastenders.

Simon Webbe has been a finalist in Strictly Come Dancing 2014.

Flying The Flag

As lovers of national Eurovision finals (and also licence payers, harumph), we were not happy bunnies when the BBC dispensed with any public say on the artist as well as the singer, yet the announcement of such a major act as Blue certainly mitigated that. When we heard the song it was still good news, without being exceptional.

So on to Dusseldorf and we have to be frank: however experienced they were, our boys didn’t exactly nail the vocal. This may also explain the disparity between televote result and jury. The latter voted on the Friday night dress rehearsal and their express instructions from the EBU on voting criteria include vocal performance. The 2011 juries placed the song 22nd of 25.

The boys televote fifth place was enough to pull them up to eleventh overall and a clear third-best UK result of this millennium behind Jessica and Jade. Just a shame that with a bit more polish it could have fared even better.

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