Entertainment & Arts

Eurovision Song Contest: Joe and Jake will represent UK in Sweden

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Media captionJoe and Jake perform You're Not Alone live

Pop duo Joe and Jake have been selected to represent the UK at May's Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden.

The singers, both former contestants on The Voice UK, won a public vote with You're Not Alone, an uptempo, piano-driven song "about unity and love".

"It feels amazing," said Joe Woolford, 21, from Ruthin, Denbighshire. "We're just so proud."

"It's going to be incredible. We hope we make you all proud," added Jake Shakeshaft, 20, from Stoke-on-Trent.

The duo will be hoping to avoid the fate of last year's entrants, Electro Velvet, who came third from last, scoring just five points.

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Media captionJoe and Jake: "We're happy with the song"

'We can win'

The UK last won the contest in 1997, when Katrina and the Waves topped the leaderboard with the anthemic ballad Love Shine A Light.

Frontwoman Katrina Leskanich said she hoped victory could be achieved again in Stockholm.

"Everybody said in 1997 that we couldn't win it because of political votes but it's an absolute crock.

"We have everything we need to win it this year."

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Media captionMans Zelmerlow won the 2015 contest for Sweden

Joe Woolford is a former PE teacher, who was one of Rita Ora's finalists in The Voice 2015, while former garden centre worker Jake Shakeshaft was picked by will.i.am, only to be eliminated in the battle rounds.

The duo were selected to represent the UK at Eurovision during a live show at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, London, which was broadcast on BBC Four.

They beat five other hopefuls, including former girl band singer Bianca Claxton, whose song was co-written by Leona Lewis, and country duo Darline, who had been the bookmakers' favourites.

It was the first time since 2010 that the public had been given a say in the UK's entry.

"It means the world to us that everyone picked up the phone and voted for us," said Shakeshaft. "It makes a huge difference going into the competition knowing we're the public's choice."

Asked by host Mel Giedroyc how they would celebrate their victory, Woolford replied: "We're not going to celebrate. We're going to start working on the song for Stockholm so we can win!"

Image caption The duo have three months to perfect their performance before the Eurovision finale

Joe and Jake will perform their entry in Sweden this May where, for the first time, the UK entry will also feature in the semi-finals.

In previous years the UK has only been allowed to perform in the grand finale - which many considered to be a disadvantage as viewers were denied the opportunity to become familiar with the song in the preliminary stage.

However, the UK will still pre-qualify for the final, along with the host country and the other members of the "Big Five" (France, Germany, Italy and Spain), who are the biggest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, which stages the contest.

Joe and Jake said they intended to develop a spectacular staging for their song in Sweden.

"The song's an anthem," said Woolford. "We want it to be a big performance. We'll definitely try and pull a few tricks out of our sleeves."

Voting change

This year's Eurovision also sees a change to the voting procedures, which organisers hope will give the contest more "drama".

For the first time, each country's vote will be split - with juries of professionals giving their votes first. The votes from viewers will be added in later and announced at the end.

The new method means a song that scores badly with the judges could still jump to the top should it rank higher with the public.

Last year's contest was won by Mans Zelmerlow, whose dance track Heroes secured 365 points.

A record-breaking 197 million viewers worldwide watched the contest, beating the 2014 viewing figures by 2 million.


Bianca Claxton - Shine A Little Light

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Media captionBianca: Shine A Little Light

Bianca Claxton is a 25-year-old singer from Nottingham who has previously had chart success with girl group Parade, and toured with Shakira and the Black Eyed Peas.

Her power ballad was written by Ash Howes, Cass Lowe, Leona Lewis and Richard Stannard - whose combined credits include The Spice Girls, Little Mix, 5 Seconds of Summer and U2.

Dulcima - When You Go

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Media captionDulcima: When You Go

Dulcima Showan, 23, met songwriter Tomas Twyman, 27, when they were both busking together on the streets of Canterbury.

Their self-penned song When You Go is a cheesy country stomper with ample banjo and a rousing breakdown.

Matthew James - A Better Man

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Media captionMatthew James: A Better Man

Matthew James was part of Bad Boys Inc, who scored a few minor hits in 1993 and 1994.

His song, A Better Man, revisits the slick pop ballads of that era - which is hardly a surprise, given that the lead writer, Andrew Fromm, previously penned tracks for the Backstreet Boys.

Darline - Until Tomorrow

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Media captionDarline: Until Tomorrow

Darline are a country pop duo - Abby Inez, 20, from Worcester and Cara Beth Beard, 18, from Hertfordshire.

Their upbeat track Until Tomorrow is a breezy love song, with a co-writing credit from Martine McCutcheon's husband, Jack McManus,

The band recently supported The Shires on tour, playing to thousands of people every night.

Karl William Lund - Miracle

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Media captionKarl William Lund - Miracle

Karl William Lund, 29, is originally from Liverpool and began writing his entry - Miracle - whilst working in Greece as part of a Beatles tribute act (he was John Lennon).

It is a slow-burning ballad peddling the traditional Eurovision messages of self-belief and the power of love, with a strong vocal performance.

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