Gary Flockhart: Oh Lorde, BBC poll so predictable

Ella Eyre. Pic: Comp
Ella Eyre. Pic: Comp
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‘TIS the season to be tipping the stars of tomorrow and, as has become the norm in recent years, the BBC got the ball rolling this week with the unveiling of the longlist for its Sound Of 2014 poll.

Since it launched in 2003, the poll has attempted to tell us the acts that will make the biggest splash in the year ahead, and previous winners include Adele, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J.

The annual list asked “213 influential UK-based music critics, editors, broadcasters and bloggers to name their favourite new acts”, according to the BBC website. Each judge chose three acts in order of preference. The result is the Sound of 2014.

It’s a decent list, if a tad predictable. 19-year-old Ella Eyre has found herself shortlisted after a year in which she had chart-topping success with Rudimental on Waiting All Night, while Sam Smith, who has also received a nomination, charted alongside London producer Naughty Boy with La La La, one of the best-selling singles of the year so far.

The BBC loves to revel in its Nostradamus-like powers of prediction, pointing out in its own press release that last year’s poll was topped by California band Haim, who went on to score a No.1 album.

What they don’t admit is that they somehow completely overlooked a string of others – think Bastille, The 1975, Rudimental and John Newman – who enjoyed major commercial breakthroughs in 2013.

And then there’s Lorde, the New Zealand pop sensation who not just the Beeb but seemingly no critic saw coming.

So perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into the BBC’s Sound Of... poll – or any of the many ones-to-watch lists for that matter.

That said, if I had to pick one name on the list, I’d go for FKA Twigs, who has been described as a cross between Portishead, The XX and Janet Jackson.