She knows a a good Eurovision tune when she hears one after working as a choreographer for past British entrants.
And Arlene Phillips, 77, has revealed she wasn’t a fan of the UK’s 2021 song Embers by James Newman as she spoke on FUBAR radio on Thursday.
Speaking to hosts Bobby Norris and Stephen Leng on Access All Areas, she said: ‘You need passion, you need drive, you need something that you cannot resist. You have to be more than. And we’re not. That was not exciting. Can you remember the tune?’
Honest: Arlene Phillips revealed she wasn’t a fan of the UK’s 2021 Eurovision entry song Embers by James Newman on FUBAR radio on Thursday (pictured in February 2020)
Arlene didn’t seem to be alone in her critique, as the UK failed to get a single point in this years Eurovision song contest.
Arlene didn’t hold back in the candid interview saying that this year’s competition included ‘so many good songs that anything else just got kind of pushed away.’
She continued: ‘People want good music. They want Eurovision to produce a hit. And I think that everyone is behind that.’
Despite not being a fan of the song, the famous choreographer did reveal that she thinks there were other factors that resulted in the UK coming last.
Nil points: Arlene didn’t seem to be alone in her critique, as the UK failed to get a single point in this years Eurovision song contest after James Newman (pictured) performed
‘I do believe the UK has got a fight on their hands. I really don’t like to say it, but I think Europe hates us.
‘You know, we pulled, you know, we pulled a bone out of the rib cage that’s Europe and it’s painful. And so I don’t think they like us.’
However, the former Strictly Come Dancing Judge did offer a suggestion as to who she thinks would be good to represent the UK in next year’s competition in Italy.
Candid: Arlene, who has previously choreographed UK’s Eurovision entries, didn’t hold back in the candid interview with hosts Bobby Norris (L) and Stephen Leng
She said: ‘On the BRITS, did you see Olly Alexander and Elton John? I was dying watching that. Now I know it was Elton and Olly. It was more than that. It was the arrangement, it was the song, it was the drama.
‘You don’t need five or six people, whatever you are now allowed. You need that.’
‘We have to come back with a song and a performance and an artist or a group that is irresistible.’
She said of the competition: ‘I do believe the UK has got a fight on their hands. I really don’t like to say it, but I think Europe hates us’
Arlene has had quite the career as a choreographer, having worked with names such as Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Diana Ross and Whitney Houston.
One of her favourites to work with was Tina Turner, and she recalled a special moment when making the music video for Private Dancer with her in the 80s.
‘We were making it in this dancehall, which they had discovered had asbestos in the roof, and they were going to have to close it down.
‘We were making the video the night before. The dressing room, everything was a mess. And there was Tina Turner sitting amongst the dancers, chatting away about her life and the stories. So that was very special.’
Suggestions: Arlene said that Elton John and Olly Alexander should have teamed up for Eurovision after releasing It’s A Sin (pictured with Elton in 1984)
Another highlight was Diana Ross, who Arlene said was ‘quite fun’, but that she insisted on being called Ms. Ross ‘and everyone had to kind of treat her very differently to everybody else.’
The star also spoke about her time working with the icon Freddie Mercury.
She said: ‘I was a massive fan before I even met him. And when I first met him, I met him in a basement flat in Earls Court, which is, I didn’t realise it at the time, is where he had all his meetings.
And the door was open with this strapping guy with leather straps and leather trousers taking me into the room to meet Freddie, to go through the video.
And I thought, ‘this is unusual, for a rockstar to live here in this basement flat’.’
Famous friends: Arlene has had quite the career as a choreographer, having worked with names such as Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Diana Ross and Whitney Houston
She admitted that the Queen front-man was ‘so creative’, adding: ‘When he made a music video, he didn’t say, ‘Go away, tell me what I’ve got to do.’ Which Elton [John] sort of did, you know, ‘just tell me I’ll be there on the day, I’ll turn up. Do what you want’. But Freddie was completely involved. Totally committed.’
You can listen to the full show on FUBAR radio.
Arlene recently admitted that it is ‘beyond devastating’ and ‘mentally really tough’ to see the theatre industry struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with MailOnline, the choreographer, praised composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has been ‘brilliant’ and a ‘real force’, in trying to get shows back on stage amid the crisis.
Arlene, who is is currently supporting the Care For Others. Make A Difference campaign, admitted that she has found it ‘hard’ to wake up every day ‘bunny hopping with excitement’, especially after 2020 saw several of her projects delayed.
The theatre industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, however indoor performances resumed on May 17 with a socially distanced audience of no more than 1,000 people as part of Boris Johnson’s Step Three plan.
Larger audiences will be reintroduced on June 21 as Step Four with the Prime Minister revealing that lateral flow testing could be the key to reopening.
Arlene told MailOnline: ‘You know it is actually beyond devastating and I think probably for the majority of people in theatre, have come to theatre through a passion, through something that they have to do because it’s what drives them.
‘They often found what being part of a theatre or entertainment was something they discovered, like dance. I lost my mother, it replaced and became everything in my life. So it was my passion, my drive.’
Good work: The choreographer, praised composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has been ‘brilliant’ and a ‘real force’, in trying to get shows back on stage amid the crisis (pictured in 2013)
Arlene added that working in the theatre industry ‘defines’ people and that they are ‘very driven’ people.
She continued: ‘Their job is a joy, they want to wake up to every single morning and when it’s taken away… it’s been devastating.
‘I feel the loss mentally, I feel the loss of the way that I used to make the most of every hour because every hour was so precious in doing what I wanted to do.’
Arlene added: ‘I’ve been trying to give myself very much to charity over this time, what can I do? What can I do to make a difference?
‘The loss of theatre is hard, it’s tough, it’s mentally really tough. It’s also because when you feel like you have a purpose, suddenly your purpose has gone. It’s a very different life to the one I’m used to.’
She said: ‘Andrew has been brilliant, a real force in trying to get theatre back. Producers, theatres have been fighting valiantly throughout this whole year, this long year, to get theatres back’ (pictured in 2016)
She added: ‘It is a very strange feeling and it’s so hard to every single day to wake up and being like a bunny hopping with excitement, you have to say confident. Things to do every day. It can often slip away, like last year after not doing any work at all.’
The star revealed she was able to briefly return to work over the summer to do a small open-air show on Battersea Pier, but Arlene admitted that she was ‘afraid’ and full of ‘butterflies’ on the first day of rehearsals due to being away for months.
Talking about the devastating impact on theatres further, the former Strictly judge praised Andrew Lloyd Webber for being a ‘real force’ in trying to get shows back on stage.
She said: ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber has been brilliant, a real force in trying to get theatre back. Producers, theatres have been fighting valiantly throughout this whole year, this long year, to get theatres back.’
Arlene added: ‘I’ve been trying to give myself very much to charity over this time, what can I do? What can I do to make a difference?’ (pictured in 2020)
Arlene also praised shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, which she used to judge, and Britain’s Got Talent, for being able to return to televisions.
She said: ‘It was absolutely amazing, of course entertainment is exciting. Of course it is not as exciting as being there, feeling that atmosphere, you feel like the air is alive, even the air around you is alive.
Talking about how her own career has been impacted, Arlene said: ‘Oh my goodness, last year I had actually Grease the Musical was ready to go, I was just about to go into rehearsal then that stopped and we’ve probably had four or five dates.
‘We’re hoping that is going to open, it’s a new version on tour, we did it in 2019, we’re praying we’re going to be able to pick it up and open again.
‘A couple of new shows that I’m waiting to hear about and also I spent a lot of time, creating shows.
‘This quiet time has given me a chance to spend time creating with wonderful people I work with, most people in the theatre, we’re waiting.
‘We feel like we’re on the brink of something, but we cannot say for definite. I cannot definitely say that this is going to open on this date, guaranteed.’
Difficult: Arlene admitted that she has found it ‘hard’ to wake up every day ‘bunny hopping with excitement’, especially after 2020 saw several of her projects delayed (pictured with Lloyd Webber in 1984)