Sunday 17 December 2017

We worked out the best song formula for Britain to win Eurovision

Lucie Jones has some hope, according to our analysis.

By Joe Nerssessian

A heartfelt love song lasting comfortably under three minutes is the secret to UK success in the Eurovision Song Contest, new analysis suggests.

Nearly all of Britain’s Eurovision winners or second-place finishers have run safely short of the maximum time limit of 180 seconds.

And a simple declaration of love is more likely to win points than something clever or obscure.


The analysis, carried out by the Press Association to mark the UK’s 60th anniversary of participation in Eurovision, should give hope to this year’s UK entrant Lucie Jones.

Her song Never Give Up On You is four seconds short of the three-minute limit and has lyrics covering familiar topics such as loyalty and relationships.

Recent UK contestants have pushed the three-minute rule to the limit, such as Daz Sampson’s school-themed song Teenage Life in 2006 and Scooch’s airline-spoof Flying the Flag (For You) in 2007.

Both of these songs ran just over three minutes and both finished near the bottom of the scoreboard.


By contrast, Britain’s best performance of this century so far was in 2002, when Jessica Garlick came third with the lovesick song Come Back.

The UK’s first 20 years in the contest saw the country enjoy consistent success with concise songs concerned almost exclusively with romance.

Contestants finished near the top half of the table every single year except 1957.

Britain’s comparatively poor performance in the past 20 years has been marked by songs tackling a variety of topics in a mixture of styles.


Since 1998, the UK has never finished in the top half of the table except on three occasions: 2002, 2009 and 2011.

Other factors are likely to have hampered Britain’s chance of success.

A rule change introduced in 1999 has allowed countries to perform songs in any language, with most of them choosing English.

Tactical voting and political factors – such as nations voting only for their nearest neighbours or allies – may also have hurt the UK.

Press Association

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