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In 2009, the BBC decided on a major change to the selection process and embarked on a series of five programmes entitled Eurovision: Your Country Needs You which would culminate in the selection of an act that would sing a new song to be composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The first show followed the audition process, culminating in the selection of the final six shortlisted acts. The subsequent four shows involved the six acts having to show that they had the right ingredients to take on the best in Europe, and generate enough support through a public phone vote to remain in the competition. Andrew Lloyd Webber chose from the two acts with the lowest number of votes which one would leave the competition and which one would remain.

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SERIES INFORMATION

Transmission Dates:

Weekly from Saturday 3rd January 2009 to Saturday 31st January 2009
Channels:BBC One
BBC HD

Presenter:

Graham Norton
Judge:Andrew Lloyd Webber

Series Producer:

Kate Maddigan
Director:Helen Spencer

Song:

It's My Time
Jade Ewen
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PROGRAMME 1

Transmission Date:

Saturday 3rd January 2009
Channels:BBC One
BBC HD
Time:19.10-20.10

This programme followed the audition process, culminating in the final six shortlisted acts.

It also saw Graham Norton and Andrew Lloyd Webber travel across Europe on a quest to find out what makes the ideal Eurovision song, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's meeting Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and both meeting reigning Eurovision champion Dima Bilan. They also looked around the Olimpiisky Stadium (the venue for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest) and chatted to Russian Eurovision fans.

Andrew Lloyd Webber also went to Poland and Hungary, discovering that Eastern Europe takes the contest more seriously than the United Kingdom. He also hosted a reception for European Ambassadors, swotted up on his Eurovision knowledge, and wondered why Malta gave Scooch 12 points in 2007!

Following the audition process, the final six acts were announced as:
  • The Emperors Of Soul
  • Jade Ewen
  • Damien Flood
  • Mark Evans
  • Charlotte
  • The Twins (Francine & Nicola Gleadall)

The first programme averaged 4.9 million viewers, peaking at 5.86 million, and gave BBC One a 21% share of the audience.
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PROGRAMME 2 (Live Show)

Transmission Date:

Saturday 10th January 2009
Channels:BBC One
BBC HD
Time:18.45-19.45
Venue:Studio One
BBC Television Centre
London

Guest Performer:

Lemar
Mentor:Lulu

Eliminated Performer:

Damien Flood

In order the six acts performed the following songs: (In brackets the original artist who recorded the song).
  • Emperors Of Soul - Love Train (The O'Jays)
  • Mark Evans - Your Game (Will Young)
  • Charlotte - Because Of You (Kelly Clarkson)
  • Damien Flood - How Am I Supposed To Live Without You (Michael Bolton)
  • The Twins - You've Got A Friend (James Taylor)
  • Jade Ewen - Deja Vu (Beyonce)
The girls sang a group number from Starlight Express - One Rock And Roll Too Many - while the boys performed No Matter What made famous by Boyzone.

The programme averaged 5.04 million viewers, peaking at 5.86 million, and gave BBC One a 22.2% share of the audience.
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PROGRAMME 3 (Live Show)

Transmission Date:

Saturday 17th January 2009
Channels:BBC One
BBC HD
Time:18.35-19.40

Guest Performers:

The Saturdays
Mentors:Duncan James
Lulu

Eliminated Performer:

Charlotte

The show opened with all of the remaining acts performing Brotherhood of Man's Save All Your Kisses For Me - a song that won the Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom way back in 1976.

In order the five acts performed the following songs: (In brackets the original artist who recorded the song).
  • The Twins - The Promise (Girls Aloud)
  • Emperors Of Soul - Kiss (Prince)
  • Jade Ewen - The Voice Within (Christina Aguilera)
  • Charlotte - Rain On Your Parade (Duffy)
  • Mark Evans - Me And Mrs Jones (Billy Paul)
The acts closed with two performances, both of which were written by Diane Warren who would be providing the lyrics to the tune that Andrew Lloyd Webber was writing. The girls performed DeBarge's classic Rhythm Of The Night while the boys sang their version of Starship's number one smash hit Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now.
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PROGRAMME 4 (Live Show)

Transmission Date:

Saturday 24th January 2009
Channels:BBC One
BBC HD
Time:18.35-19.35

Guest Performer:

Alesha Dixon
Mentors:
Emma Bunton
Lulu

Eliminated Performer:

Emperors Of Soul

The show opened with all the performers singing the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest winner Boom Bang-A-Bang, originally sung by Lulu.

Each act sang two songs during the live show - one a slower ballad, the other a more up-tempo number. The four acts performed the following songs (In brackets the original artist who recorded the song):
  • Mark Evans - Rock Your Body (Justin Timberlake); I Don't Want To Talk About It (Rod Stewart)
  • Emperors Of Soul - Patience (Take That); Uptown Girl (Billy Joel)
  • The Twins - About You Now (Sugababes); All I Have To Do Is Dream (The Everly Brothers
  • Jade Ewen - All By Myself (Celine Dion); Think (Aretha Franklin
The guys then did a group performance Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me. Then it was the turn of the girls to perform with I'll Stand By You.
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PROGRAMME 5 (Live Final)

Transmission Date:

Saturday 31st January 2009
Channels:BBC One
BBC HD
Time:18.40-19.50

Guest Performer:

Dima Bilan
Mentors:
Duncan James
Lulu

Winning Performer:

Jade Ewen

The show opened with all the acts performing Making Your Mind Up, the winning Eurovision Song Contest song from Bucks Fizz in 1981.

Each act sang two songs during the live show including a reprise of a song from earlier in the series as well as the much-anticipated United Kingdom Eurovision entry It's My Time created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Grammy Award-winning songwriter Diane Warren. The phone lines were opened for the public to vote immediately after the first set of songs had been performed.

The songs were:
  • Jade Ewen - Lady Marmalade (Labelle)
  • Mark Evans - Try A Little Tenderness (Otis Redding)
  • The Twins - Sweet About Me (Gabriella Cilmi)
  • Mark Evans - It's My Time
  • The Twins - It's My Time
  • Jade Ewen - It's My Time
  • The Twins - The Promise (Girls Aloud)
  • Jade Ewen - Deja Vu (Beyonce)
  • Mark Evans - Me And Mrs Jones (Billy Paul)
Damien Flood, Charlotte and Emperors Of Soul then performed Relight My Fire along with guest judge Lulu before the announcement that Jade Ewen had won leaving the Twins in second place. Jade then performed It's My Time once more.

The programme was watched by an estimated 5.67 million viewers.
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  • t's My Time reached No. 27 in the UK charts.
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Jade Ewen at The Eurovision Song Contest 2009

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At The Eurovision Song Contest 2009

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At the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow, Russia on Saturday 16th May 2009 , It's My Time finished in 5th place with 173 points.

Graham Norton provided his first television commentary for BBC One and BBC HD. Ken Bruce provided the commentary for BBC Radio 2.

Paddy O'Connell and Sarah Cawood provided the commentary for BBC Three Television for the semi-finals held on Tuesday 12th May 2009 and Thursday 14th May 2009.