FEAR of the dreaded “nul points” has not dampened James Newman’s Eurovision dream – he’s going back for round two.
I can reveal the British singer/songwriter, who is the older brother of fellow singer John Newman, has signed up to represent the UK again after last year’s contest was cancelled.
James Newman is the UK’s Eurovision act for 2021[/caption]
He is the older brother of fellow singer John Newman, pictured left[/caption]
James had been announced as our entry at the end of February last year, just three weeks before the nation went into the first lockdown.
And though he has now been selected again, he has been tasked with writing an even better song.
“I haven’t stopped making new music in lockdown and I can’t wait for everyone to hear the song I’m taking to Eurovision in 2021.”
Critics praised his track My Last Breath last year which — unlike most of our dire entries — had actually been tipped to be a success.
But Eurovision rules mean he had to scrap it and write an entirely new tune ahead of the event on May 22.
A music insider explained: “James has been writing songs non-stop to create the perfect single for the contest and is planning on unveiling it next month.
“It has been a tough year for everybody, including James, who was struck down with Covid last March, but it’s made him even more determined to make a belter of a song.”
‘I imagined myself on stage winning’
Whether there is still a lockdown or not, the show will go on. Organisers are currently hoping to run a socially-distanced ceremony in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.
But if that can’t happen, they will have artists deliver their performances live from their own countries, which will be beamed into the main event. The last Eurovision was held in 2019 in Tel Aviv and saw 7.7million Brits tuning in.
And James truly believes he has got what it takes to make all those viewers proud.
Speaking to me last May when he should have been at the contest, James said: “I’m a firm believer in visualising what you want to achieve in life so I was imagining myself standing on stage winning, because you’ve got to.
“I started something and I really want to finish it. I was on such a journey.
“If I got the opportunity to go next year I would love to.”
Well, now that he has, I’m banking on him to do a great job.
Ella of a wait for a comeback
IT has been seven years since Ella Henderson’s first and only album – and she has got so frustrated in that time that she has considered leaking her own tunes.
The 2012 X Factor favourite is back today with track Let’s Go Home Together but it was actually written years ago and was almost slipped out online by Ella herself.
When asked in our exclusive chat if she had considered leaking her music just to get some out there, she told me: “I’ve thought about it many a time.
“I’ve been through so many things like changes of record deals and all sorts, so there’s times where I’ve been like, ‘Bloody hell, I just want to put a song out’.
“But timing is everything and where you are mentally as a person. It’s important to be ready to come back and I’m definitely in that head space now.”
Ella originally wrote the song with James Arthur and they performed it on tour together in 2017, but the version out today features fellow Brit Tom Grennan instead, as James is busy working on new music.
Ella is hoping her second album will be ready this year[/caption]
Ella said: “It was never about getting someone to replace James but Tom just made it his own and it suits his character so well. There’s only so many people that could have taken it on, especially when I’m singing about someone with s**t tattoos.”
Not taking any offence, Tom added: “Exactly. When I was going through the lyrics I was like, ‘Did they write this about me?’. I didn’t want to copy James, I wanted to make it my own.”
The song is a late addition to Tom’s album Evering Road, which is out on March 12.
Once that’s done, he’s got a tour planned and other goals to achieve.
Ella says her latest song marks a new chapter in her career[/caption]
He may have missed his chance this year, but Tom wants to follow in the footsteps of James Newman, below, in taking a tilt at Eurovision
Tom said: “I would love to perform there, I think it would be so fun, you’d meet loads of different characters. I’d like to write the song for it as well – it would be different and that would throw me into the deep end.”
He’d certainly be more credible than a lot of the acts we’ve sent over the years.
As for Ella’s second album, she is hoping it will be ready this year.
She has had a string of dance hits including This Is Real with Jax Jones, but says this latest song marks a new chapter.
She said: “Last year I definitely lived out my collaboration and dance mode and I just wanted to set the tone now of what’s to come from me now musically.
“You can’t get much more stripped down and songwriter- like, which is what’s to come from me later this year.”
Salma dares to bear
SALMA Hayek looks like a cuddly bear as she poses in nothing more than a cosy fur-look coat.
Movie sets may be closed right now but the Hollywood siren has been hard at work for months – in the gym – and looks fantastic in this shoot for Wonderland magazine.
Salma Hayek posed in nothing more than a cosy fur-look coat[/caption]
She looked fantastic in this shoot for Wonderland magazine[/caption]
In a chat with the mag, which is available now at wonderlandshop.com,
Salma laughs: “I was very excited about 2021 – I was on a diet, working out, ‘Here comes a new year’. I was motivated. Then on the first [of the month], I started saying ‘Wait a minute, this is not living up to my expectations.’ ”
She also reveals she has been struggling for cuddles, because her 13-year-old daughter Valentina has been giving her the cold shoulder.
Salma says: “Teenagers don’t want you to cuddle them any more. Yes, I am cuddling, but not as much as I would like to.”
Pop into Biz HQ Salma, and the team will give you a hug.
Kate's Titanic agony
KATE Winslet has confessed she is still riding on the success of blockbuster Titanic 24 years after it came out – as she has never needed to audition for another role since.
With everyone still desperate for her to be in their movies, the actress revealed that finding work is a doddle.
Kate said: “Titanic affected my choices in as much as I went from auditioning for parts to no longer having to audition, ever again.
“Straight offers from the age of 21, which is kind of crazy and slightly a shame because auditions are where you learn a huge amount.”
Oh you poor thing Kate, my heart goes out to you.
Gemma’s grubby secret
SHE’S being paid to be one of McDonald’s biggest fans but in reality Gemma Collins can’t resist a take- away from her local cafe.
The Towie star was snapped ordering some grub from her favourite haunt Pellicci’s in East London on Wednesday.
Gemma shared this picture of herself raving about the Grand Big Mac[/caption]
But she was snapped ordering some grub from her favourite haunt Pellicci’s in East London[/caption]
But within hours, she shared this picture of herself raving about the Grand Big Mac and urged her 2.1million followers to pick one up as part of a paid advert for the fast- food giant.
The GC clearly doesn’t practise what she preaches, as the local McDonald’s is a four- minute walk from Pellicci’s.
Either that, or the Grand Big Mac just made her peckish for more food.
Lil Nas' agony
OLD Town Road rapper Lil Nas X has revealed he struggled with suicidal thoughts during his rapid rise to fame.
The musician, whose success meant he could afford to put his mum into rehab for drug issues, said: “In June 2019 I came out as gay. I gained fans and lost fans.
“That summer I got hit with my first lawsuit for an older song of mine.
“Then my mom wasn’t doing well in rehab. Also me and my boyfriend broke up. Old Town Road was still killing it while I was spiraling. I found myself in a hotel room contemplating ending it.”
I hope this bright star knows his worth now.
Ed gets crooning for Crouchy 40th
HE is worth £200million but Ed Sheeran managed to save a few pounds when it came to Peter Crouch’s birthday – getting him a money-can’t-buy gift instead.
The former England striker has revealed the superstar wrote him a priceless birthday song to celebrate his 40th last month.
Peter Crouch revealed Ed Sheeran wrote him a priceless birthday song[/caption]
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Crouchy, who’s married to model Abbey Clancy, said: “I got a song from Ed Sheeran. I thought it was amazing. Just a happy birthday kind of song.
“He wrote a song, it was good. It was a song that we know but he changed the words.”
It formed part of a video montage put together by friends and family, including David Beckham – who Peter joked gave him “some stick” in his message – and Harry and Jamie Redknapp. Speaking on That Peter Crouch Podcast, he said: “I got a bit emotional as I saw all my old pals.”
I’ve not heard Crouchy singing, but I can’t imagine Ed would be too pleased if his gift idea was reciprocated.
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