BBC Radio 2 have revealed the six acts that will compete for the honour to represent the United Kingdom at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest final in Stockholm in May. Among the hopefuls will be 25-year-old Bianca Claxton, as she performs a power ballad which includes the notable combination of Leona Lewis and Richard Stannard among its co-writers.

Spice Girls link

It was Stannard who was the inspiration behind many of The Spice Girls’ biggest hits in the 1990s. Lewis and Stannard will no doubt hope that a little of the glitz and glamour that punctuated the ‘Girl Power’ phenomenon will rub off on their classically-trained artist.

Claxton’s pedigree as a UK supporting act for the likes of The Black Eyed Peas and Shakira should also stand her in good stead on the night.

Leona Lewis influence

Former X- Factor winner Lewis is of course no mean performer in her own right and there are echoes of her global smash hit “Bleeding Love” in the new track entitled “Shine A Little Light”. The title also bears more than a passing resemblance to the UK’s last successful entry, when Katrina and the Waves so famously propelled “Love Shine a Light” to Eurovision triumph in 1997.

Don’t forget the other five contenders though, who will no doubt be seeking to create their own piece of Eurovision history:

  • Darline – “Until Tomorrow” is being hotly tipped by many to get the public’s vote, with its country / pop duo having previously supported The Shires on their UK tour.
  • Joe and Jake – the duo will be pinning their hopes on “You’re Not Alone”, after appearing as solo artists on last year’s ‘The Voice’.
  • Dulcima and Tom – the former Canterbury buskers will perform Tom’s song “When You Go” with its folk music style.
  • Matthew James – former Bad Boys Inc member James is the oldest contender at 44-years-old in the field, but will be hoping to put his chart experience from the 90s to good use as he croons “A Better Man”.
  • Karl William Lund – “Miracle” is rated by the critics as perhaps the outside bet for success, but the former Greek Beatles tribute act member might yet pull off a surprise result.

Change of mind

In a blatant U-turn by comparison to last year, the decision will be determined via a public vote.

The BBC have clearly thought better than to repeat the approach that provided the sacrificial lambs that were Electro Velvet.

The six contenders will perform their songs on ‘Eurovision: You Decide’ as they seek to impress not only the professional panel but also the general public. The Show will be aired on BBC Four on 26th February, with Mel Giedroyc hosting the show live from the O2 Forum Kentish Town.

Last year’s winner to perform

Besides performances from the various acts, last year’s winner Mans Zelmerlow will reprise his winning track “Heroes” on the show and memories of the UK’s former success will come in the form of an appearance by Katrina and the Waves. A special Eurovision-themed tribute to the late Sir Terry Wogan is also expected during the 90-minute music fest.

Ukraine’s contentious entry

Elsewhere among the Eurovision hopefuls, Ukraine have selected a song that is bound to resonate with their neighbours Russia. Their representative at the annual event, Jamala will perform the track “1944” which relates to the enforced World War II deportation of the Tatar people by the dictator Josef Stalin.

The song has special meaning as it relates to the tragedy that befell the singer’s great-grandmother. At the time, Stalin issued orders for around 240,000 Tatars to be sent on packed trains to Central Asia. During the ill-fated journey or as a result of the lack of food that was available at their destination, many thousands perished.