So the six acts vieing to represent the UK in Moscow in May have been chosen. Over the next four weeks, as they are trained and mentored by Lord Andrew and his team, one act will be voted off by the audience each week, until there are three remaining for the final on January 31. They are:
At 17, Charlotte is the youngest of the six acts. When she was 11 her family moved from Nottingham to Essex in order for her to go to the Sylvia Young stage school, and she wrote more than 500 letters to get the grants and scholarship she needed.
“I’m really excited about being in the show and just amazed at how quickly everything has happened,” says Charlotte. “I can’t begin to imagine what it will be like to appear on Saturday night BBC television. I just know I’ll be nervous but I’m determined not to let it get the better of me.”
Eurovision favourite: Gina G’s Ooh-aah Just A Little Bit from 1996.
Related trivia: The UK’s youngest entrant was 15-year-old Emma with Give a Little Love Back to the World, which came 6th in 1990.
Damien started in musical theatre at the age of 12, has performed backing vocals for Tom Jones and has in the past few months appeared on television shows including Later With Jools, Strictly Come Dancing and Here Come The Boys. Once GQ Magazine’s Face of 1995, he also appeared in the West End production of Rent and regularly plays piano and performs in London bars.
He says: “I’d never even thought about Eurovision until now but I’m really excited about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s involvement. I reckon that the competition will be more credible now that he’s writing the song.”
Eurovision favourite: Love City Groove singing Love City Groove in 1995.
Related trivia: Love City Groove was the first rap-style entry in Eurovision and came 10th. Daz Sampson continued the tradition in 2006 with Teenage Life.
Emperors of Soul
This five-piece group of friends – Julian, Gerod, Leon, Leroy and Fraser – originally got together in 2008 to perform as a Temptations tribute band. They come from as far afield as Yorkshire, South London, Los Angeles, Barbados and Luton and all have been in West End productions such as The Lion King and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind.
“As West End performers we’re all really nervous about performing in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” says Gerod, whose idea it was to get the band together. “We’re excited about the possibility of being the UK entry for Eurovision.”
Eurovision favourites: Julian: Save All Your Kisses For Me by Brotherhood Of Man (1976) and Bucks Fizz’ Making Your Mind Up (1981). Leon: Love Shine A Light, by Katrina and The Waves,1997. Leroy: Even If, by Andy Abraham in Serbia last year. Fraser: Cliff Richard’s Congratulations (1968) and Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz. Gerod: the German entry for 2000, Stefan Raab’s Wadde Hadde Dudde Da.
Related trivia: The first black performer to win Eurovision was Dave Benton, originally from Aruba, who, with Tanel Padar, sang Everybody for Estonia in 2001.
Francine and Nicola
These 20-year-old identical twin sisters from Sheffield are both trained singers who live at home with their parents. They went to the same school, work in the same pub and supermarket, go to the same university on the same course and both started going out with their current boyfriends on the same day. The only way most people can tell them apart is that Fran, who is older by 35 minutes, has a fringe! They have appeared on X Factor Boot Camp.
“It’s totally amazing to be part of the final six, and it’s great for us to be following our dreams,” says Nicola. Francine adds: “We think that all the acts are very different and think they will all bring something fresh and fun to the competition.”
Eurovision favourites: Francine’s is Puppet On A String (Sandie Shaw, 1967) while Nicola prefers ABBA’s Waterloo from 1974.
Related trivia: Blonde twins have been in Eurovision before. Sophie and Magaly sang Le Papa Pingouin – with a man in a penquin suit – for Luxembourg in 1980 and came 9th. The song was revived in a cover version by Pigloo in 2006 and topped the charts in France for three weeks.
Jade, from Plaistow in East London, is another of Sylvia Young’s graduates and no stranger to performing, singing and acting. Her first successful audition was for the role of Nyla in The Lion King and she’s since appeared in Whistle Down The Wind, as well as TV programmes including The Bill and Casualty.
For two years she was part of a girl band called Trinity Stone, aimed to be the UK’s answer Destiny’s Child. The band didn’t make it big but Jade has been determined to make it as a solo artist.
Says Jade: “I’m a true believer of fate. I’d been longing to work with a great writer and then suddenly I was auditioning for Andrew Lloyd Webber. Who knows where I’ll end up next!”
Eurovision favourite: Gina G’s Ooh-ah Just A Little Bit.
Related trivia: another Eurovision alumnus has been in The Lion King – Javine Hylton, who came 22nd in 2005 with Touch My Fire.
Twenty-three-year-old Mark has been playing Prince Charming in Bromley and had to fit in auditions for Your County Needs You. Originally from North Wales, he comes from two generations of farmers in North Wales and speaks fluent Welsh. Since graduating from theatre school he has appeared in the West End productions of Spamalot and Wicked and also played Troy in High School Musical. As a dancer he has performed with Will Young, Gareth Gates, Liberty X, Westlife, Ronan Keating and Charlotte Church.
Mark says: “The whole experience has been a total whirlwind! Now I just can’t wait for the live shows!”
Eurovision favourites: Waterloo by ABBA and Bucks Fizz with Making Your Mind Up.
Related trivia: Wales provided the UK with its best result since winning in 1997. Jessica Garlick came third in 2002 with Come Back, though Welshman James Fox only managed 16th in 2004 with Hold On To Our Love.
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