Natalie From Scooch Tells Us What It's Really Like To Perform At Eurovision
The Debrief: Scooch were the UK's entry to Eurovision back in 2007 when they sang Flying The Flag dressed as cabin crew. But what was it actually like appearing on the show? Natalie Powers fills us in.
Eurovision is finally here. The one night where the countries of Europe (and a bit of Asia) get together to do what they do best; hate on Britain.
Even though we never win. And probably never will, it's safe to say that the Eurovision Song Contest is probably the most fun night of TV on offer. From camp outfits to bubblegum pop, the likes of which hasn't been heard on UK airwaves since the mid-noughties, it's a beyond excellent look at what happens when you throw 'cool' to the wind and decide instead to just focus on 'fun'.
The last time we as the UK had a properly fun entry that was just as cheesy and fun as everyone elses' entries was in Helsinki in 2007 when early noughties pop band Scooch reformed and took us to the finals wearing cabin crew uniforms and singing a song called Flying The Flag (For You).
Even though they came 22nd out of 24th, (thanks a lot other countries, we were totally robbed) Scooch remain super positive about the affair as we found out when we spoke to Natalie Powers, one fourth of Scooch. In fact, she says Eurovision's had such an impact on her life that since her appearance, she says she's not been bored once.
We spoke to Natalie about what it was really like to appear in the competition...
Scooch - Flying The Flag (For You)
Hello Natalie! Your performance of Flying The Flag was probably the most fun Eurovision entry we’ve ever had. Did you guys have as much fun performing as I did watching it?
Of course, it was one of the best experiences of my life and one I will never forget! It was a dream come true to represent our country and to do it with such a fun, Euro-themed song was a bonus. It’s still great to perform the song to this day, hearing people singing along and doing the dance moves.
Where did the idea for the plane theme come from?
The idea came from the guys who wrote the song and put the concept together, and it evolved over time to become the full performance you saw on the night. It was great, as it was instantly recognisable and fitted with the theme of the song – as well as being lots of fun!
Do you still have the costume? And do you still wear it?
I do still have the costume, and the pink version which we performed in for a number of the shows in Helsinki. I wore part of it in fact last weekend in London for our performance at G-A-Y, it’s not the kind of thing you wear around the house doing the ironing!
Can I borrow it?
I’ll have to say sorry…but I need it for our next gig!
Did you get any special treatment on planes at all afterwards?
Sadly not, but then I don’t often wear my hostess outfit when I’m travelling. It was fun travelling around the time of Eurovision though, and we were invited by one of the major airlines to front their parade float at last year’s Manchester Pride which was great fun. We performed around Manchester as part of the celebrations and we even won the award for best commercial float.
What was the atmosphere in Helsinki? Had the whole city gone bonkers?
It was electric and full of the excitement that only Eurovision can bring to life. Fans of the contest had travelled from all over the world so everywhere you looked there were people out enjoying themselves and celebrating the occasion. I'd not experienced anything like it before and it was fantastic to meet so many people who were there for the contest, many of whom didn't have tickets to the shows but were just there for the party atmosphere.
So loads of British fans made the trek over to see you guys?
There were loads! Obviously Eurovision is a big event for thousands of people in the UK but I was amazed how many people went over to Helsinki, there were Union Jacks everywhere and even people dressed up as us - it was bizarre but so much fun.
What was the food like backstage? Were people behaving themselves with the free champagne?
Food wasn't huge on our agenda to be honest as the whole week in Helsinki was jam packed with rehearsals, interviews, meeting fans and fine tuning our performance. That being said, we made sure we made the most of any rest periods and the food was really good. The whole party atmosphere continued backstage with everyone chatting and getting to know each other, I don't remember anyone misbehaving to be honest - we were all there for the music and had a great time.
Did all the different countries get on with each other? Like, did Scandinavian countries only hang out with other Scandinavian countries?
It was great fun meeting the other entries and getting to know each other, especially as most of us stayed in the same hotel while we were there. The week was so busy with rehearsing and press appearances that we managed to meet and spend time with most of the other countries' entries and everyone mixed together - although it was a competition we all respected and supported each other and focussed on getting our performances just right. There were some genuinely lovely people representing the other countries and it was great to be able to meet so many artists.
Were there any last minute panics ahead of any of the live shows?
No panics, but there were plenty of nerves! Performing in a huge arena can be daunting even if you've done it many times before, but when the press keep reminding you that you're singing completely live in front of around 200 million people it brings it home how much is at stake. Not only that, but you're representing your country and want to do them proud, as well as give the best performance of your life. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous but we gave it our best and really enjoyed the live shows, especially the final - I can't really find words to describe the atmosphere in the arena but it's a feeling I'll never forget.
Obviously in 2007 there wasn’t any social media - how do you think it would have been seeing people talk about you on Twitter?
It's really strange looking back and remembering that social media wasn't really there and it was only 9 years ago. We did have a MySpace account which we used to engage with our fans but you're right, it's nothing like Twitter and Facebook is today - everything is very real time and accessible these days. I think it would have been really interesting to read the tweets about our performance and during the build up to the big night, but also realising we wouldn't have pleased everyone so there would probably have been a big mixture of comments, good and bad - that's life!
Did Scooch win Eurovision?
Do you think there’s ANYTHING Britain could do to win again or do you think the other countries dislike us too much?
It's funny, I get asked this all the time as there are so many opinions around as to why the UK hasn't been more successful in recent years. Honestly I don't really know why the UK doesn't fare better as we've sent some really strong artists and songs in the past. I think it's a shame that we aren't more successful as a nation but there's nothing saying we won't have better luck this year (go Joe & Jake!). Obviously I'd love to see Eurovision come back to the UK in the future but either way the British fans never fail to get behind their country and fly the flag for our entry!
You guys still reform occasionally and perform. Are you guys all still friends?
You know what, we really are still good friends and always have been. It's hard to believe we've performed together as a band since 1998 when we were promoting our first single, When My Baby and are still lucky enough to be performing together all these years later to our loyal fans. To be honest, I think that it's our friendship that keeps us going as a band as we love to be on stage together and always have a laugh. We've been extremely lucky in that sense, that we've never had to force ourselves to perform together - it's always four friends getting together, having a laugh and singing the songs we love, to people who enjoy coming to watch us. What could be better than that?
Where are Scooch now?
What are you up to now?
As with Russ, Caroline and David, I am extremely busy! I'm a busy mum of three and the Principal at a performing arts academy where I also teach the next generation skills across the arts, including singing and dancing of course! In the last couple of years I've also done a number of tours with Scooch and we even recorded a song together last year for a Eurovision album. The whole Eurovision experience was amazing and I feel extremely lucky to have been part of it – thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way!
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Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons
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