James Newman has revealed his entry for the Eurovision Song Contest – and the United Kingdom could finally make a dent in the rankings.
The 35-year-old is returning to represent the UK for a second year, after Eurovision was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic before he could compete with his track My Last Breath.
Now, he’s back with a much more upbeat number, as his entry Embers was unveiled on BBC Radio 2 today – and it’s a total bop, reminiscent of songs James has written for Rudimental (Waiting All Night) and Calvin Harris (Blame, featuring his brother John Newman).
James enlisted top songwriting talent to create Embers, with the composers and lyricists of the song – James, Conor Blake, Danny Shah, Tom Hollings and Samuel Brennan -amassing over 4 billion streams with their tunes.
Speaking to Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2, James said he and the other songwriters managed to get together in a Covid-safe group with the intention to ‘write a banger’.
He added that he is feeling ‘pretty confident’ about his entry, and spoke about what Eurovision could possibly look like this May.
He said: ‘I heard that we get locked in the hotel under we go to the arena. I think it’s going to be a really small audience, if there is one. But just the opportunity to go there is amazing.’
James will be hoping that Embers can take him onto the left hand side of the scoreboard, after a disappointing few years at Eurovision for the UK.
James Newman is back (Picture: BBC/BMG/Ray Burmiston)
Michael Rice came last in 2019 with his song Bigger Than Us, while the previous year, SuRie came 24th with Storm.
While Lucie Jones came a respectable 15th with Never Give Upon On You in 2018, Electro Velvet and Joe and Jake both came 24th the two years prior.
The last time the UK cracked the top 10 was in 2009, when Jade Ewen came fifth with It’s My Time, while Blue came 11th in 2011 with I Can.
The UK has won the Eurovision Song Contest five times, only behind Ireland and Sweden – in 1967 with Sandie Shaw’s Puppet On A String, Lulu in 1969 with Boom Bang-a-Bang (a four-way tie with Spain, The Netherlands and France), in 1976 with Brotherhood of Man and Save Your Kisses for Me, Bucks Fizz in 1981 with Making Your Mind Up, and in 1997 with Katrina and the Waves and Love Shine a Light.
However, they also have come second more than any other nation, with 15 runner-up positions.
As one of the Big Five, James will not have to compete at the semi-finals and will go straight through to the grand final.
The Eurovision Song Contest grand final takes place on May 22 in Rotterdam.