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Light and smooth as velvet for the UK

20 May 2015 at 14:10 CEST
It has only been a few days since Electro Velvet, the act representing the United Kingdom, were last on stage at the Wiener Stadthalle to perform the song Still In Love With You, and since then they have been working hard to smooth everything out to make sure everything is perfect for their second rehearsal.

Light up the magic

There are a few changes in the presentation of the entry of the UK in their second rehearsal. Bianca Nicholas is now wearing a white stole jacket around her shoulders, which helps to hide some of the batteries that she has to wear on her back that will power the lights on her dress.

There had been a few problems with the lighting effects after the first rehearsal, but it all seemed to be working much better on today's rehearsal, both on the costumes and on the staircase. Indeed the lighting on the costumes of Bianca and the backing singers/dancers was much more impressive, though at the moment there is no lighting on Alex's outfit...will that change by the time the Grand Final comes around?

Overall everything was much slicker on the second rehearsal, and was well received by the press and fans who were inside the arena today.

History lesson

Backstage took the opportunity to chat to one of the composers of this year's entry, David Mindel. He explained about the background to the song which he originally wrote about some five years ago. It has been tweaked over the years by him and co-composer Adrian Bax White. The earlier version was recorded by Bianca Nicholas, before they decided that it would work better as a duo, and that was when Alex Larke was brought on board.

Originally the song was of a longer duration, but was altered to have a longer introduction, and by the time it came to enter it for Eurovision, the composers had to drop a verse out, in order for it to make the three minute limit.

They shot a video for the song, with Bianca filming her bit in Monte-Carlo, whilst Alex drew the short straw and filmed his bit in Welwyn Garden City, costumed out in a smoking jacket and wearing a monocle. 

Though they would all be the first to admit that the video shot in the Cafe de Paris is much better.

The name of the group went through numerous changes over the months, and it has almost come to the stage that no-one can exactly remember who came up with the name, though they feel it was probably Alex. One of the reasons they kept changing the name was to maintain the surprise that they would be representing the United Kingdom in the contest, so if one of the proposed names leaked out, then they could simply change it to one of the other suggested names. Even on the day that it was officially announced, even some of their family members were taken completely by surprise.

One last chance

David has been entering songs in the UK national selection since 1974, when Olivia Newton John was the British entrant. His name regularly cropped up over the next few years, but after finishing in second place with both of his entries in 1982, when he lost out to Bardo and One Step Further he decided that it wasn't worth all the effort and cost of finding the singers, the choreographers, the costumes etc, as there was no little or no reward in the contest, unless you actually won it.

It was quite by chance that he found out that the BBC were looking for songs for this year's contest in their open selection process and he decided to give it one more go. He thought, with his experience, that if he couldn't at least make the short list this year, then he may as well give up. However this year he finally joins the ranks of several of his close friends and colleagues as a composer of a UK Eurovision entry. 

Gallery: United Kingdom: Second Rehearsal

Talking to you

After they had come off stage it was off to the viewing room for Electro Velvet and the rest of the delegation to review their second rehearsal. The composers said they were overall very happy with everything, having listened to it both in the arena and then in the viewing room, though they just had some small adjustments to make on the sound with the backing vocalists, but overall they were very pleased.

Like all the other delegations it was time to face the press afterwards. 

"Train hard...fight easy"

The general impression from the British fans in the audience at the press conference was that the second rehearsal had gone a lot better than their first rehearsal last Sunday. Alex and Bianca informed them that they had been putting a lot of work in over the last few days, including appearing at the EuroVillage, but also practicing hard off site as well, putting in around five hours of work per day. 

They are not so much fixated on the result in the contest, but on giving the very best performance they can, and as Alex said they hope it will be a case of "train hard...fight easy".

Head of delegation, Guy Freeman was asked why the BBC no longer holds a national selection programme? He stated that there are no rules to say which way a song should be selected for the contest, and used the example of Conchita Wurst being chosen by an internal selection, and achieving the best result.

He said they are open to all ideas, and pointed out that for this year they had made it an open competition, and that Still In Love With You had stood out amongst the songs received. In future years it may evolve into a different format, and reminded the fans and journalists that the UK cannot vote for its own song, and that the song has to be aimed at most of the rest of Europe.

That entry, Still In Love With You will be performed in the first half of the Grand Final on Saturday 23rd of May.


Gallery: United Kingdom: Press Conference

Do you think the United Kingdom can return to winning form this year?