Eurovision 2021: Bill Bailey says James Newman’s performance was ‘a bit underwhelming’ as he repeats offer to represent UK next year

Comedian and musician has offered to represent the UK next year

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 25 May 2021 08:46
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James Newman represents the UK at Eurovision

Bill Bailey has suggested that the UK needs to take Eurovision “less seriously” in order to have a better chance at performing well in future contests.

The comedian, actor and musician appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss the UK’s dismal result this year, after representative James Newman received a humiliating “nul points” for his performance of “Embers”.

“It was a serviceable song and performance, nothing wrong with that,” Bailey said today (Tuesday 25 May). “I just think we’re missing a trick a little bit. We need to celebrate the eccentricity of Britishness, it doesn’t seem to be coming across...”

“It’s very well produced and put together,” he said of Newman’s song. “It’s just a bit underwhelming, a bit bland.”

Asked by co-host Bill Turnbull whether he had any ideas, Bailey said there was “always something percolating” in his mind.

“We’re not taking it seriously enough and taking it too seriously, we’ve got it the wrong way round,” he said of the kind of songs the UK sends to Eurovision.

“We should focus on the performance, the visuals of it, make it into a huge celebration of Britishness, with some great hooks! Maybe some guitar, maybe some cowbells.”

Susanna Reid agreed, commenting: I think you’re right, because the winners [Italy]… they had something visually spectacular, something to look at, so is that what you’re going for, Bill?”

“Yes, I think so,” Bailey responded. “There has to be a bit more drama, a bit more theatre. Because that’s what this show is about, Eurovision is a huge celebration. Some of it is totally bonkers.”

He revealed that he had actually submitted a Eurovision entry “a few years ago”, which spoofed the theme to the BBC series Dad’s Army.

“The BBC said it was too silly,” he claimed. “But I thought, taking it seriously isn’t go well either, is it?”

“We’re kind of desperate, aren’t we?” Reid said.

Reid’s former co-host Piers Morgan was among the critics to call out Newman’s performance, branding him a “crap singer” with a “crap song”.

“Hey Piers sorry you didn’t like the song, at least I didn’t storm out,” Newman responded on Twitter, referring to Morgan’s infamous walk-out in one of his last appearances on GMB.

James Newman performing ‘Embers’ at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest took place in Rotterdam, and was won by Italian rock band Maneskin who performed the song “Zitti e buoni”.

Shortly after winning the competition, the band were forced to deny that their lead singer Damiano David had taken drugs during the live broadcast.

A statement issued by the European Broadcasting Union last night (24 May) said a voluntary drugs test of David returned a negative result, and they also found no footage to suggest any drugs were taken in the Green Room.

“Following allegations of drug use in the Green Room of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final on Saturday 22 May, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), as requested by the Italian delegation, has conducted a thorough review of the facts, including checking all available footage,” the EBU statement, released on 24 May, reads.

“A drug test was also voluntarily undertaken earlier today by the lead singer of the band Måneskin, which has returned a negative result seen by the EBU.

“No drug use took place in the Green Room and we consider the matter closed,” it continues.

“We are alarmed that inaccurate speculation leading to fake news has overshadowed the spirit and the outcome of the event and unfairly affected the band.

“We wish to congratulate Måneskin once again and wish them huge success. We look forward to working with our Italian member Rai on producing a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest in Italy next year.”

Read The Independent’s review of Eurovision here.

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