Entertainment & Arts

Eurovision 2017: Which former X Factor contestant will represent the UK?

Lucie Jones and Danyl Johnson Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lucie Jones and Danyl Johnson both competed on X Factor in 2009

This year's UK Eurovision hopefuls have been revealed - and every one of them is a former X Factor contestant.

Among the more recognisable names are Lucie Jones and Danyl Johnson, who both featured in the 2009 series, which was eventually won by Joe McElderry.

Jones's song has the best pedigree: Never Give Up On You is written by 2013 Eurovision winner, Emmelie de Forest.

TV talent has good form at Eurovision, with two previous winners graduating from singing contests like X Factor.

Image caption Mel Giedroyc will host Eurovision: You Decide on Friday

Swedish singer Loreen, who won the competition in 2012, was previously a runner-up on Swedish Idol, where she performed under the name Loren Talhaoui.

More recently, Mans Zelmerlow triumphed at the 2015 contest - having earned his stripes on Swedish Idol and Let's Dance, which is his home country's version of Strictly.

This year's UK's entry will be selected on Friday, 27 January, in a live BBC Two show hosted by Mel Giedroyc.

A combination of viewer and jury votes will decide the winning song - with Bruno Tonioli and Sophie Ellis-Bextor forming part of the eight-person jury.

This year's hopefuls

Danyl Johnson - Light Up the World

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Media captionDanyl Johnson - Light Up The World

Former schoolteacher Danyl Johnson was, at one point, the bookies' favourite to win X Factor 2009. He eventually came fourth - losing out to Joe McElderry and runner-up Olly Murs - and earned brief notoriety after being (sort-of) outed by Danni Minogue.

The singer, who currently works as an ambassador for the People's Postcode Lottery, enters Eurovision with a empowering dance track about "shining a light in the darkness" - harking back to Katrina and the Waves' Eurovision-winning song in 1997.

It aims for anthemic but ends up sounding anaemic.

Key lyric: "We couldn't see, yeah, standing in the dark."

Holly Brewer - I Wish I Loved You More

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Media captionHolly Brewer - I Wish I Loved You More

Holly has previously sung at the wedding of Mark Wright (The Only Way is Essex) and Michelle Keegan (Coronation Street) - and received four "yeses" from the X Factor judges in 2015.

However, producers axed her from the programme by phone in a pre-bootcamp contestant cull - Cowell and co presumably underestimated the cost of accommodation in Wembley.

Never fear, for now Holly is returning with a power ballad co-written by Courtney Harrell, a former contestant on The Voice US. A decent effort which sounds like it could have been found on Kelly Clarkson's studio floor.

Key lyric: "You're the sunlight the the preacher talks about. Ooh-ooh, Amen."

Lucie Jones - Never Give Up on You

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Media captionLucie Jones - Never Give Up On You

Lucie Jones will be remembered by the die-hard X Factor enthusiasts for coming eighth in the 2009 series - finishing behind fellow Eurovision hopeful Danyl Johnson and, er, Jedward.

While she might have crashed out of the live finals fairly early, she should be more confident of winning the UK Eurovision race - as her song is co-written by Emmelie de Forest - the Danish singer-songwriter who won the song contest in 2013.

Her vocals have improved remarkably since 2009, but the song is untroubled by percussion and ends up a slightly dreary piano ballad (not necessarily an obstacle to Eurovision victory).

Key lyric: "Together we'll dance through this storm."

Nate Simpson - What Are We Made Of?

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Media captionNate Simpson - What Are We Made Of?

"You opened your mouth and Jesus came out," said Nicole Scherzinger when Slough-born Nate Simpson auditioned for the X Factor last year.

That didn't stop her kicking him out at the judges's houses round, though. Maybe if he'd kept Jesus in there for a little longer...

The 23-year-old is hoping to go to Eurovision with the piano ballad What Are We Made Of?. It has a key change before the first chorus, which gives you an indication of what you're in for.

Key lyric: "We're breathing underwater and the struggle makes us stronger."

Olivia Garcia - Freedom Hearts

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Media captionOlivia Garcia - Freedom Hearts

Canadian singer Laurell Barker has been busy on the songwriting front this year because, as well as penning Holly's song, she has writing credits on Olivia Garcia's.

Olivia is fresh from the most recent series of X Factor. She made it as far as judges houses, but Simon Cowell sadly didn't take her through to the live shows.

She's now joined the Eurovision race with a propulsive ballad that could lend itself to a dramatic staging (we're thinking acrobats and a tug of war). Garcia's vocal acrobatics, meanwhile, do a good job of showing Cowell what he missed.

Key lyric: "Shiny hair and shoes, how about me and you?"

Salena Mastroianni - I Don't Wanna Fight

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Media captionSalena Mastroianni - I Don't Wanna Fight

A distant relative of the Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni (La Dolce Vita; Divorce, Italian Style) Salena has a degree in fashion, but ditched the runway to pursue a career in music.

After working as a wedding singer for four years, she auditioned for X Factor in 2012 but failed to progress beyond the initial stages.

Instantly catchy, her song I Don't Wanna Fight is the most contemporary of this year's Eurovision entries, with a trance-house beat that's proved successful for other countries in recent years.

Although the lyrics appear to carry an anti-war sentiment, Mastroianni says the song is about a relationship.

Key lyric: "Why can't we put our weapons down?"

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