Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Programme Information

Network TV BBC Week 21
Eurovision Song Contest 2010 feature –
interview with Josh Dubovie

Flying the flag for the UK

Josh Dubovie prepares to fly the flag for the UK

Eurovision Song Contest Semi Finals

Tuesday 25 and Thursday 27 May on BBC THREE

In the past, the UK has had a habit of entering songs for Eurovision that haven't exactly carried the most positive of messages. In 1976 Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran hit Rock Bottom; in 1978 Co-Co remembered The Bad Old Days; in 1989 Live Report asked Why Do I Always Get It Wrong?; in 2000 Nicki French begged Don't Play That Song Again; and who can forget Cry Babies Jemini from 2003, who ended up with nul points?

This year, though, things are different. Following on from Jade Ewen's success last year with the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Diane Warren penned It's My Time (and Jade subsequently joining the Sugababes), this year's song, That Sounds Good To Me, written by hit-makers Pete Waterman, Mike Stock and Steve Crosby and sung by 19-year-old Josh Dubovie, is aiming for the top.

Josh was the viewers' choice in BBC One's Your Country Needs You in March, hosted by Eurovision presenter Graham Norton. And, writes Programme Information's Jane Dudley, it's obvious that the young man from Essex has come a long way since winning Billericay's Got Talent – a competition run by his school – in 2008.

So how has life been for Josh since learning he is going to represent the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo on 29 May? "Life has changed immensely for me," he says. "I've had a great time. I've been working really hard to get the best performance I can and obviously doing rehearsals and interviews and photoshoots. Everything's been great."

Josh's dream began earlier this year when he found out he was going to be part of Your Country Needs You, the UK's Eurovision selection show. He was shopping in one of the biggest malls in Essex when he received the news that was to change his life: "I was in Lakeside when I got the phone call from my agent telling me that they'd like to see me for the auditions," he recalls.

He had to learn two songs for the audition – Take That's Rule The World and Girls Aloud's The Promise – and admits to being slightly worried about performing a song intended for female vocals: "I thought surely the girls will sing that and the boys will sing Take That, but no, we had to learn Girls Aloud too!

"I then asked if I could sing another song because I didn't feel like either of the songs really showed off my vocals so I sang John Legend's Ordinary People."

His decision obviously paid off and he was asked to take part in the show, on which he sang a Stock, Aitken, Waterman classic, Jason Donovan's Too Many Broken Hearts, along with a medley of (1974 Eurovision winners) Abba songs with the other five finalists. "It was then whittled down from six to three and the UK voted for me, which I'm very thankful for," adds Josh.

Despite his tender years, Josh says he's a Eurovision fan and confesses that his mum and dad used to host Eurovision parties when he was younger. "They'd have friends round and a barbecue followed by a couple of drinks and then guess the scores," he says.

One of his favourite UK Eurovision songs is Love Shine A Light by Katrina & The Waves – the song that won the Contest (the UK's last win) in 1997, when Josh was only seven. "Out of all the songs I've heard it's really catchy," he says. "If I wasn't in the Contest I would've thought that our song is hopefully going to be one that people are talking about for many years to come too," he adds.

Soon, Josh will be off to Oslo for the 55th Eurovision Song Contest to perform a newly revamped version of That Sounds Good To Me (reworked by Mike Stock in order to better fit Josh's vocals). "There's a few different instruments in there and it's been raised up a semitone," says Josh. But he admits that the 23,000-strong audience at the Telenor Arena won't faze him – although the 120 million viewers at home might.

"I've been singing for three years," says Josh, "singing swing on the circuit and performing at weddings and things like that.

"I performed in Hyde Park for a charity event and that was to 19,000 women," he says, when asked about the largest audience he's played to. "Because I did the swing circuit I got to know Stephanie Moore, who was Bobby Moore's wife, and she set up the Bobby Moore Bowel Cancer charity and asked me if I'd like to sing at her annual sports ball at the Royal Lancaster Hotel and then she asked me if I'd like to sing at Race For Life [in aid of a charity fund-raising race]."

Josh recently embarked on a European promotional tour in a bid to promote That Sounds Good To Me and, at the end of April, gave his debut performance of the revamped version of the song on Dutch TV. But his mind is fully focused on Oslo on 29 May and he's making sure he's taking plenty of people to support him. "I think I get a few tickets, so I'm taking my mum and dad, my girlfriend and my sister and I'm trying to work on a couple of friends to come over but obviously they're at uni so it's proving quite a challenge at the moment. Hopefully they'll be able to make it out there with me."

And he's also done his homework to check out his competition, holding a mini Eurovision Song Contest at home with his mum. "My mum and I actually sat in front of the computer watching them all," he laughs. "We were judging them all out of 12 points and had our own little Eurovision party! I think Denmark [In A Moment Like This performed by Chanée and N'evergreen] won, followed by Germany [Satellite performed by Lena], and I think my dad had the winning vote!"

However good the songs are, though, what the other performers won't have are the "several wind machines" that are promised to liven up Josh's performance ("We just want to blow you all away," he jokes) and the help of star stylist Frank Strachan, who has styled the likes of Kylie Minogue, Girls Aloud and the Pet Shop Boys. "We're still talking about what I'm going to be dressed in but something that ripples in the wind hopefully! Maybe a toga or something," he laughs, admitting to being happy to be at Frank's mercy. "I trust him and the production team so I'm sure everything will be fine."

Josh has yet to receive advice from anyone who has been involved in the Contest before – he was too star struck to say anything other than hello to last year's winner, Alexander Rybak, who won for Norway with the song Fairytale and who performed on Your Country Needs You – but has had some warm words of encouragement from both Pete Waterman and Mike Stock.

"Pete's been very busy but he did pop into the studio and was very impressed with the whole production and how things are going. He's happy so that's good. And Mike told me just to enjoy it and said if there's any negative press not to worry, that's going to come. He said 50 per cent of people might not like it, 50 per cent of people will – so that's great, 100 per cent of people will be talking about it!"

And Josh's own views towards any negativity make him sound much wiser than his years would suggest: "I think instead of being negative we should be behind our country. We're doing this not because we want to upset anybody, we're doing this because it's a contest and it brings Europe together as a whole. Instead of finding faults with our entry I think we should all get behind the UK. If other countries see us not wanting to support our own country then they're not going to want to support us either," he says.

Win or lose, Josh says the main thing he's hoping to do is to have fun. "I want to go out there and enjoy myself. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I want to absorb it and just take everything as it comes and enjoy having an audience of 23,000 in front of me – it's not going to come round every day!"

As for what happens to his career after the Contest, Josh says "as long as I'm somewhere within the entertainment industry I'm happy, whatever I'm doing. Obviously my passion is singing so as long as I'm doing that I'm happy. As far as planning what I'm going to do after I can't really do that so I'm going to have to wait till after the competition. Hopefully, out of the 120 million people watching, someone's going to think, 'We could do something with that guy.'"

If last year's entrant, Jade Ewen, is anything to go by though, Josh's career will go from strength to strength: "Exactly," says Josh. "Although I don't think I'd be right in the Sugababes. Maybe the Sugablokes..."

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