It’s not very often that a new tactic for Eurovision success emerges, but I think we’re seeing one now. For the past 4 years, the Netherlands have given us songs that you could put in the country & western or AOR categories. Three of them have been corkers, and done very well (and to be honest the less we talk about Trijnte, the better) and given the strengths of their domestic music industry, I can see the Netherlands sticking with this strategy for the reasonable future.
If Scotland fancies taking on Eurovision in a very credible way, they could consider following the approach taken by the Netherlands. For the big debut, you could do much worse than combining the songwriting and vocal talents of Isobel Campbell with those someone like Roddy Frame, Roddy Hart or Roddy Woomble. The Campbell/Woomble combination is a particularly exciting idea – you’d end up with something melodious, anthemic and also a bit cerebral. Or you could have all three for a classic Eurovision supergroup – Isobel and the Roddies? We’d work on the name.
Once you’ve got the song, you’d want to avoid the pitfalls of extremely static, faux-authentic staging – we know it’s not a real live gig, so don’t dress it up like a Jools Holland session. You’d want to go for something noir-ish and cinematic. By the time Scotland get to Eurovision, enough time will have passed to basically do the exact same staging as Estonia did for Goodbye To Yesterday. The only risk to this manouvre is that sometimes Isobel Campbell’s voice is so subtle and delicate that it sounds like it might get blown away by a stray blast from a wind machine. On the other hand, if Scotland are competing against two dozen big-voiced belters, maybe subtlety and the craft of songwriting wins out in the end?