As soon as the announcement came from the BBC that a public selection process was to be held to select the United Kingdom’s representative for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016, the fan community went into an overdrive of speculation as to how this process would play out, who could possibly be submitting songs to take part and how much input the BBC would give the viewing public in choosing a “song for Europe”.

Fast forward to today and the UK’s selection for Eurovision 2016, Eurovision: You Decide, is about to take place. The six participating acts and their songs were announced on Radio 2 giving them huge national exposure but perhaps missing out a key demographic, the 16-24 bracket. But, the majority of the songs selected would not appeal to this particular demographic anyway. 

Where will we find the show?

There was an outcry when the BBC stated that Eurovision: You Decide would find its home on BBC Four rather than the mainstream BBC One or BBC Two. Yes, the show will not be on a mainstream channel but BBC Four is the BBC’s home of arts and culture programming and its schedule is packed with stellar musical documentaries. Tonight, in keeping with the Eurovision theme, we'll even get repeats of ABBA and Lulu documentaries following the show. With BBC Three (the home of the Eurovision semi-finals from 2004 to 2015) becoming a solely online entity as of February 2016, making BBC Four the home of the BBC’s Eurovision content is no bad thing.

One problem of the UK’s selection process being screened on a minority channel is that it could fail to grab the casual viewer who could stumble upon it. The BBC screened the Eurovision’s Greatest Hits show on BBC One on a Friday night - albeit a public holiday - and managed to gain a viewing peak of 2.12 million (12.3% of the market share). Eurovision: You Decide will not achieve a respectable viewing figure or proportion of the market share on a Friday night on BBC Four. The show will be watched by Eurovision fans (who are aware of it taking place) and those who will accidentally stumble upon it from their programme guides. There has been little promotion and no factor which will make non-Eurovision fans tune in.

Who will be taking part?

The six competing acts were announced on the 22nd of February and we met with reactions ranging from positivity and enthusiasm to vitriol on social media. Sure, there are not the ‘big names’ in the line-up that many fans were hoping for and upon first listen, the songs did not exactly set pulses racing with excitement. This said, the acts and their songs make up a national final which has no bad songs, no novelty acts and all six songs are radio-friendly and credible.

2010 - The last time the public selected the UK's Eurovision entry

What can we expect from the show?

One positive that jumped out from the BBC’s announcement of Eurovision: You Decide was immediate realisation that the show would be held in a real music venue and not a bland and lifeless television studio. Hopefully the show being held at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town will provide the show with some atmosphere that a benign television studio cannot offer. We can hope for a slick and polished production. The BBC’s previous Eurovision-related output, looking back at previous selection shows and Eurovision’s Greatest Hits, has a tendency to look cheap or dated and not on par with what some of the BBC’s counterparts are capable of.

The BBC has tried and tested a number of selection methods over the last decade or so. Hopefully, the new selection process will be well-received and give the BBC something to build on and build a brand. Fans complained that the BBC used a promotional shot of host Mel Giedroyc from The Great British Bake Off and re-hashed the Eurovision’s Greatest Hits logo and theme. So what? Germany, as they demonstrated last night, are still getting mileage out of the graphics package designed for Düsseldorf in 2011 – five whole years ago.

In conclusion, we have to see the fact that the BBC are holding this national final positively and support the process. The BBC are listening to the fan community. A national final was wanted and a national final is taking place and the fans, through OGAE were even offered the opportunity to help select the songs.

Regardless of the result tonight and the cohort of participants from which it was chosen, the winner will be chosen by the viewing public and will represent the United Kingdom at Eurovision 2016 as the choice of the viewers. This is stark contrast to the last five years after five questionable results and is ultimately, what the fans wanted. The truth of the matter is that the BBC will never be able to please everyone, most of all the harshest of critics: The Eurovision Fans.

All of the songs participating tonight can be found here.

Follow Daniel on Twitter - @tewyUK