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Holding out for a Eurovision hero; Tonight's the night for Welsh chanteuse Bonnie Tyler when she represents the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest. So how should she be feeling as she steps out on the stage in the Swedish city of Malmo? Kirstie McCrum tracked down four Welsh former contestants of the kitsch-fest who were happy to share their advice.

Nicky Stevens is a singer from Carmarthen who won the Eurovision Song Contest in The Hague in 1976 as a member of Brotherhood of Man. Their song, Save Your Kisses For Me, scored 164 points and beat 17 other countries to the top "When we won in 1976 we were number one in 33 different countries. As past winners, we could never escape it, even if we wanted to - which we don't.

"I've known Bonnie for years because we come from the same part of Wales. We started in showbusiness with the same people and we bump into each other occasionally, sometimes when we're on the same TV shows in Holland or Germany. She's a pro, she's a great singer, she's been treading the boards for years.

"I liked her song straightaway, but I'm no good at judging these things. I've heard some of the other songs and I think there's going to be some good stuff this year.

"When our songwriting team, Martin (Lee) and Lee (Sheriden), with our ex-manager Tony Hiller wrote Save Your Kisses For Me, Sandra (Stevens) and I were told that it had been entered into the contest.

"As soon as Sandra and I heard the song, we thought it was fabulous. When we got the choreography for it, there was something magical about it.

"The most important thing is that the song stands out, I don't think someone needs to be a known celebrity to guarantee success.

"It was a lot simpler when we did it, but it's great to know that we have such a great artist representing us. Bonnie's a star, it's that simple. Blinkin' Swansea, mun, innit? All I can say to her is, 'Go on, girl, give it some!' "We were so proud when we won the Eurovision Song Contest, it was the best night of our lives. We're now starting our 41st year together, still with the original line up, and we still hold two Guinness world records - for winning by the greatest majority of votes and for the biggest-selling Eurovision song."

www.brotherhoodofman.co.uk Elaine Morgan is a folk singer from Cardiff . She was a member of Dan Ar Braz's group L'Heritage des Celtes who represented France in Oslo in 1996 with the Breton song Diwanit Bugale.It got 18 points and placed 19th out of 23 entries "I was in the folk rock band Rose Among Thorns and in 1994 I was invited to sing with a band called Heritage des Celtes made up of Celtic musicians. The band leader, Dan Ar Braz, wrote a song for our second album and the Eurovision selection committee in France got hold of our song, which was in the Breton language, and asked if we would represent France. It was like the UK having a Welsh-language entry.

"Eurovision is very big - the capacity of the theatre we were in was something like 15 or 20,000, with many millions watching on television. You're thinking the whole time, 'I'd better get this right,' but Bonnie is probably used to those types of crowds.

"I don't think we felt we were going to win. "The week before the bookies put us in the first five, which was nice, but I don't think we had a commercial enough song.

"I didn't think about representing France and not the UK - the year we were there, the UK's entry was by Gina G, who was Australian. In this country we think it's cheesy but I'm glad I did it because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. I don't think anyone would turn their nose up at it. People still talk about it, even if they say it's cheesy. After Eurovision, we carried on as normal, it's just something that's on your CV.

"I've heard Bonnie's song once. I think the chorus is catchy. I haven't heard any of the other entrants, but we've got to be in with a chance, unless we have any problems with political voting.

"Believe In Me is Bonnie's kind of song, it suits her voice, which is fantastic. She'll have a whale of a time out there. I just hope she gets plenty of votes and comes away happy. You never know, we've got to be in with a chance of winning."

www.elainemorgan.co.uk James Fox is a singer/songwriter from Bargoed in the Rhymney valley. He represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 in Istanbul with Hold On To Our Love, receiving 29 points and finishing 16th of 22 nations "The BBC approached me to enter the Eurovision selection show Making Your Mind Up. I said no at first. I was wary of Eurovision because it had the potential to be one of these musical crimes that (music magazine) NME talk about.

"But it was one of the best weeks of my life. It takes you out of your own country and puts you in another one - you're aware that you've got your country's badge on, it's like being in the Olympics. If I'd won it, it would have come to Cardiff, and it was the element of winning it for Wales that was exciting. We are the 'land of song' after all.

"I never thought the song would set the contest alight because of the other acts - you had massive theatrical spectacles, the guy before me was on stilts and I was just standing out there with a guitar.

"The UK is a bit elitist; we go and think we should be able to clean up, but I don't think voting is ever going to be fair - how do you judge a good song anyway? "I have heard Bonnie's song a few times; I like it, but will it be lost in the theatrical performances? Do we want Bonnie Tyler to come on in a jetpack and a leotard? If she just sings it will that be enough? "I wrote a song with my mate about five years later and we had an offer from Norway for it two years ago, but I said no, because I want to keep it back for the UK. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

"I don't think Bonnie will win or come last, I think it'll be in the middle - she's really good so she'll do well on the night. She's got a passionate Welsh voice, though. If she really gets it right on the night we could be looking at a Welsh victory.

"I've had a great career since, I'm playing Paul McCartney at the moment (in The Beatles tribute show Let It Be at London's Prince Of Wales Theatre). I always say I got away with Eurovision, without putting the contest down. I didn't win, but I didn't disgrace anyone, and that's what you want." | www.officialjamesfox.com Jon Lilygreen is a singer from Newport who, along with the band The Islanders, represented Cyprus in 2010 in Oslo with the song Life Looks Better in Spring. They took 21st place out of 25 competitors with 27 points "There was a studio in the Valleys, Gold Disc Productions, and they needed a session singer on a song they had received from a Cypriot fella.

"I sang on it and the guys paid me PS70. A few months down the line, we found out the songwriter had done a revamp and entered it into the Eurovision Song Contest. It generated hype, and he asked for the singer - which was me - to come out to Cyprus and give it a shot. I made some really good friends out there, it was a really good experience, life-changing. If I'm honest, I didn't realise that it was going to be such a camp event - I was really surprised as I was looking for cute girls!

"Not everyone knows where Wales is, so I had to explain that it was part of the UK. I think I might feel more patriotic if it had been my own country, but I was just there to do what I did best. We didn't write the song, it was just a performance for us. I remember I had a big Cypriot flag that I was throwing around. Doing it for the UK, I think the pressure would be on.

"The entry that year for the UK was Josh DuBovie (who came last). It was a shame, because there's a stigma in the UK about Eurovision and I think it got on top of him.

"Bonnie is a big name in her own right, although I like the idea of using people we don't know because it gives them a chance to shine. I grew my hair because I didn't want anyone to make me bedazzling, I just wanted to wear my white shirt and jeans, pick up my guitar and play. Doing Eurovision was just a one-off for me. I won't be watching tonight, I'm playing a gig in Colwyn Bay!

"I haven't heard Bonnie's song so I don't know how she'll get on, but she'd have my vote because she's a Welsh lady.

Unfortunately you can't vote for your own country though. But I'd just tell her, 'Go on, sweetheart'."

www.lilygreenandmaguire.com The first ever Eurovision Song Contest was held at the Teatro Kursaal in Lugano, Switzerland, in 1956. Lys Assia won the contest for the host country with a song called Refrain The artist formerly known as Gaynor Hopkins (left) on belting out her ballad 'Bonnie Tyler style' Some people think I won't win. And you know why? It's because they say Believe In Me is too good. That's crazy.

It's a perfect song for Eurovision. I was approached by the BBC after a radio producer heard my song and thought it would great for the contest. When it happened, firstly it was like, 'Wow, Eurovision!' I'd been asked 30 years ago but I couldn't do it because I was so busy with Total Eclipse of the Heart which was number one and the album was number one. I just thought about it for a minute and thought, 'This is a great opportunity to represent the UK.' You know, though, that with Eurovision, you can't guarantee it's all about the song. But I'm going to give it my very best shot. I think we've got a good chance of getting a good score.

I've got something up my sleeve for tonight. Dramatic performances and garish costumes may be popular with Eurovision voters but I'm just going to do things Bonnie Tyler style. About 120 million people watch Eurovision and I have a lot of friends in Europe. Maybe that's why the BBC asked me because maybe they thought there's a good chance. We have got a good song but you never know what can happen in Eurovision. It'll be a great experience, I'm sure about that.

I've been trying to find inventive ways of getting people to vote. If you're British and you can't vote for me, ask your Facebook friends from foreign countries to support our country because they can't vote for their own, you see? Germany can't vote for Germany so hopefully they're going to vote for me because I'm always over there, it's like my second home.

I'm not the first one in my family to represent our country. My husband Robert Sullivan was an Olympic judo champion. He competed for the British team in the Olympic Games in 1972 and I'm singing in the Eurovision Song Contest now of course. I only wish my parents were still alive to see it because they loved Eurovision and would be so proud.

Vote for Bonnie in the Eurovision Song Contest tonight, BBC One, 8pm BELIEVE IN ME - THE LYRICS You say you don't believe in signs from up above And you laugh at the thought of putting your faith in stuff like love You never see the rainbow, you just curse the rain, you say You wanna believe but it's just not worth the pain today But that's all fine if that's how you want it to be But if you're feeling alone and afraid and you can't breathe Believe in me, yeah Believe in me, yeah Believe in the way I look at you and stand beside you The way I speak the truth, I'd never lie to you If you'd just believe in the things that your eyes can't see Believe in me You come and you go and there's never no compromise, that's why The seconds and the minutes of your life go crawling by But that's all fine if that's how you want it to be But if you're feeling alone and afraid and you can't breathe Believe in me, yeah Believe in the way I look at you and stand beside you The way I speak the truth, I'd never lie to you If you'd just believe in the things that your eyes can't see Believe in me What you gonna do when your ship is sinking? And you're crying out for help and just the seagulls listening In the dark of the night, in the middle of the fight When you're reaching out for something and there's nothing Believe in me, yeah Believe in the way I look at you and stand beside you The way I speak the truth, I'd never lie to you If you'd just believe in the things that your eyes can't see Believe in me

It was one of the best weeks of my life... you're aware that you've got your country's badge on, it's like being in the Olympics. If I'd won it, it would have come to Cardiff

CAPTION(S):

Jon Lilygreen then and now

James Fox then and now

Elaine Morgan then and now

Brotherhood of Man then and now
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 18, 2013
Words:2300
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