Eurovision winning formula: Four KEY things UK should follow to win this year’s contest
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Eurovision 2022 commences today as the continent’s chosen artists battle it out for the top spot and the honour of bringing the competition to their home country in 2023. The show will be held in Turin, Italy this year after Måneskin emerged victorious in 2021 with their hit ‘Zitti e buoni’. Eurovision is a term synonymous with failure if you are British – the UK’s Sam Ryder will be hoping to avoid the humiliation of last year when the country failed to get a single point on the scoreboard.
It has not always been so bad: the UK has won the Eurovision Song Contest five times, and has also finished second a record 15 times but has in recent years struggled to gain any traction.
So, what exactly makes a Eurovision winning song?
Writer Kit Lovelace analysed how to make a winning song in a 2016 article for the New Statesman.
The first and perhaps most important aspect, he said, is key.
Mr Lovelace said there is a common misconception that a winning song must be in a major key to create feelings of positivity and happiness.
But this isn’t the case: he wrote that 12 of the 16 winning songs between 2000-2016 were in a minor key.
In those same 16 competitions, 11 of the songs that came in last place were in a major key.
Another important thing to consider, Mr Lovelace added, is pitch.
He explained that there are 12 distinct “root” notes in Western music, each of which has a corresponding major and minor key – so 24 keys in total.
According to his research, D minor “should be the very first key you look at if you want to win Eurovision.”
Then there is the tempo of the song – a speed of 128 beats per minute, Mr Lovelace found, was indicative of a losing song.
At the time of his writing, three of the last five entries to come last were paced at 128 beats per minute.
Perhaps the most important part of any song is the lyrics.
Mr Lovelace found that lyrics referring to “walking” or “running” to somebody is bad, with nine combined uses by losers and only one winner.
However, talk of “flying” was more successful, producing six combined uses by winners.
Perhaps the UK’s entrant has taken this onboard – the first line of Sam Ryder’s SPACE MAN goes as follows “If I was an astronaut, I’d be floating in mid-air.”
The big loser, according to Mr Lovelace, is talk of the “heart” as this was mentioned by nine losers between 2000 and 2016.
However, on closer inspection, maybe the UK is doomed to fail in 2022 after all.
The second line of SPACE MAN is: “And a broken heart would just belong to someone else down there.”
Last year, The Guardian similarly set out to find the in-tune recipe for a successful song.
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They suggested keeping it “dynamic”, citing 2018 winner Doron Medalie from Israel.
Instagram stories rose to prominence that year, so Doron decided that the story within her song would change every 15 seconds as a nod to the social media trend.
She said in 2021: “Instagram Stories took over the world, so we changed the story of the song every 15 seconds. A winning song needs all kinds of turning points.”
The Guardian also suggested “capturing the zeitgeist” as a route to success.
Ukraine won Eurovision 2016 with Jamala’s 1944, about the forced deportation of Crimean Tatars, and in 2014, Austria’s Conchita Wurst was victorious while opposing anti-LGBT legislation introduced by Russian President Vladimir Putin a year earlier.
Putin could once again be influential in this year’s contest – Ukraine are favourites to win as the country continues to fight the invasion of Russian forces.
Written by frontman Oleh Psiuk, he says people don’t just like their song because of the ongoing war.
Last week, he said: “Some people are saying we could win because of the war, but our song was among the five favourites before the start of the conflict, which means people like it regardless.
“Those of us here represent every Ukrainian,” he said. “After Eurovision we will return home to provide our contribution.”
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