Wednesday April 4th was the designated date for the BBC's annual festival of song. Terry Wogan, as ever, was at the helm, as regional juries prepared to choose a song for Luxembourg.
The contest got off to an unmemorable start with Caprice singing Magical music. Alas it wasn't. This was a mid-tempo offering with a particularly weak orchestration. The lyrics told of a "sonic vibration, ungodly creation".
Nina Shaw performed a more sturdy effort, Look at me now. With an endearing lisp, she belted out this mid-tempo song.
A former Welsh miner named Bryan Evans sang the first ballad of the night, This love is deep, a pleasant enough song but not memorable enough for a Euro audience.
The ever-present Paul Curtis had a hand in four of the finalists in 1984. Belle & the Devotions were the first of his performers, ostensibly three traffic lights on long legs. Dressed in day-glo bin-liners they sang Love games, a sub-Motown effort.
First Division ticked all the required Eurovision boxes i.e. two boys and two girls with an uptempo song, Where the action is. The entry involved a great deal of dancing, performed at a frenetic pace.Too manic for Eurovision?
Things quietened a little with Miriam Anne Lesley and Let it shine. This was a strong, anthemic ballad which Miriam had to perform while descending a spiral staircase. Surely an unfair move by the show's producers?
And then came Sinitta. Just a few months before So macho hit the charts, the lithe chanteuse tried her hand at Eurovision with the song Imagination. This was an energetic, repetitive pop song accompanied by dizzying camerawork.
Finally, another singer popular with the gay audience, Hazell Dean. She had previously appeared in the 1976 UK final, sporting an evening gown and a pudding-bowl hairdo. Surprisingly her 1984 entry, Stay in my life, was a pleading ballad. It did not fare well.
Edinburgh, Norwich, Belfast, London, Cardiff, Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham were the centres of excellence delivering their votes. As usual it was 15 points to their favourite followed by 12,10,9,8,7,6 and 5. Belle and the Devotions romped home with 112 points followed by First Division with 79. Nina Shaw scored 78, Sinitta 77 followed by a gap of fifteen points. Miriam Anne Lesley's 62 points was followed by Caprice with 60, Hazell Dean with 55 and Bryan Evans trailing with 53.
The UK's 1981 Eurovision Song Contest success seemed like a distant memory as Belle & the Devotions were booed off the stage. The 3 backing singers for the group were never seen by the TV viewers (the BBC maintained that this was because one was pregnant) and The Devotions mimed along. English football fans in the previous Autumn had run riot in Luxembourg, causing damage to the city. The hostile reception of boos and jeers can therefore be understood.
Despite this reception, the group finished 7th with 63 points. Despite sounding a good placing, only two other British entries had scored lower at that point ("A Man Without Love" by Kenneth McKellar [1966 - reaching 9th] and "The Bad Old Days" by Co-Co [1978 - 11th]).
Belle - Kit Rolfe The Devotions - Linda Somfield and Laura James
Sweden came first with "Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley".