After a run of disappointing results for the United Kingdom in the contest, the BBC have decided to change the entire process for selecting their entry for Stockholm. The key changes are as follows:
An open submission process will take place. The BBC is inviting anyone over the age of 18 to submit a video of their original song for consideration. The video does not have to be professionally shot and the audio production can be a demo – but it must be sung live by the artist who would be performing the song in Stockholm. Details of how to enter can be found at bbc.co.uk/eurovision. The closing date for submissions is Friday 20 November 2015.
The BBC recognises that the fan community is a very important element of the Eurovision Song Contest. As such, the BBC will be inviting the UK branch of the OGAE to assist in the shortlisting of these open entries. The OGAE is the largest independent Eurovision fan club in the world and its UK branch has around 1,000 members.
In addition, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) is to revive its former partnership with the BBC and will run a song-writing competition amongst its members. BASCA exists to support and protect the professional interests of songwriters, lyricists and composers of all genres of music and to celebrate and encourage excellence in British music writing.
Hugh Goldsmith – former MD of RCA and founder of Innocent Records – will act as Music Consultant to the BBC, principally responsible for overseeing communication with established record labels, publishers, managers, writers and producers, in order to encourage high-level music industry involvement too.
Songs from all routes of entry will be included in a final shortlist, which will be presented to a professional panel and the public, who will have the final say on which song is taken forward to represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden in 2016. More details regarding this will be announced in due course.
Guy Freeman, Editor Special Events for the BBC, says: “This year really will be the biggest song search for Eurovision the BBC has ever undertaken. With input from key industry figures and fan associations, plus with the public having the final say, we are looking forward to seeing a true People’s Eurovision entry representing the UK at next year’s competition in Sweden.”
Graham Norton, Eurovision Commentator for BBC One says: “Eurovision is one of the highlights of my year and I love the fact that the BBC is launching its biggest song search ever. I think it really shows that they take the competition seriously and the fact that the public will get the final say on who is sent to represent the UK in Stockholm next year is the icing on the cake!”
Alasdair Rendall, President of OGAE UK says: “It's a massive honour - and very exciting - for OGAE members to be given a key role in helping to choose the UK's entry for Eurovision 2016. Eurovision fans are never backwards in coming forwards about their thoughts on the UK's performance at the world's greatest music competition, so I'm really excited about the opportunity this offers us to help find the right song to fly the flag for the UK in Stockholm next year.”
Vick Bain, CEO of BASCA, says: “This is a great competition that many of our members have had considerable success with in the past so BASCA is delighted to be partnering once more with the BBC in searching for the UK entry to Eurovision.”
Hugh Goldsmith, Record Industry Executive and Music Consultant for the BBC, says: “The UK has been home to some of the world's finest artists and songwriters for many decades now and it is exciting to think that, going forward, our Eurovision entry will better reflect the extraordinary writing talent we have in our midst. I have always worshipped at the altar of the song so am hugely energised by the role I've been asked to perform by the BBC.”
What do you think of the BBC ideas for their 2016 entry?