The winner of Eurovision: You Decide, held at Brighton Dome, will represent the UK at the final. EDWIN GILSON met the Brighton singer hoping for success

THE last time Eurovision was in Brighton, ABBA wowed the watching world with their rollicking rendition of Waterloo.

It was 1974 and Labour’s Harold Wilson had recently been elected as Prime Minister. Don Revie had accepted a deal to become England manager and Tom Baker had been announced as the new Doctor Who.

While Eurovision can often seem like a quirky footnote in history, an idle distraction, ABBA’s triumph has gone down as a hugely significant moment. It heralded the birth of one of the most celebrated pop bands ever – and Brighton’s part in that has not been forgotten.

While very few Eurovision winners achieve anywhere near the level of popularity of the Swedish group, it can be a springboard to greater things. One new act hoping to follow that path to success are Goldstone, the trio fronted by Brighton-based singer Aimie Atkinson.

Aimie and her bandmates Helen Wint and Rhiannon Porter – who met on the cast of the Dirty Dancing theatre show – will perform their upbeat song I Feel The Love on the same stage that ABBA graced all those years ago. As Goldstone prepare to battle it out with five other acts on Wednesday to be at the Eurovision final in Lisbon in May, Aimie reveals she is a big fan of the Swedes. Could it be fate?

“We love ABBA and actually sing some of their songs in our shows sometimes,” says the 30 year-old, who moved to Brighton from London last year with her girlfriend Genesis. “It’ll be pretty special being in the same venue as they were.”

Goldstone went through three months of auditions at the BBC’s London headquarters before they made the shortlist of six for You Decide. They received an “early Christmas present”, in Aimie’s words, when they were told the good news in December.

“We’re all big fans of Eurovision – we absolutely love it,” says the singer. “My family used to have parties when watching it every year, so doing it now is weird but also exciting.”

Aimie is not getting ahead of herself but says that performing at Eurovision has been a lifelong ambition. Rather than being overwhelmed by the chance to compete, though, she is “eager to show what we can do as a group”.

“Maybe if I was on my own I’d be nervous but because I’ve got the other girls I’m just looking forward to it. I’ll let you know how I feel on the day, though,” she adds with a laugh.

Goldstone were only formed three years ago but have since performed around the world. While Aimie was in a series of unsuccessful pop bands as a youth, her roots lie in theatre.

She won the prestigious BBC Voice Of Musical Theatre Award in 2006 (“that started everything”), with judge Michael Ball proclaiming to have “witnessed the birth of a star”.

She’s appeared in a raft of shows since then as well as contributing to the album 100 Greatest Musicals, recorded at Abbey Road Studios. Oh, and she recently made her television debut as Nikki Martin in BBC’s Doctors. Aimie completely undersells her talent when she says “I just like doing different random stuff ”.

Fittingly for a performer who has made a success of herself, the name Goldstone derives from a man-made crystal that symbolises self-motivated stardom.

It was essential for Aimie to be based in the capital while she was regularly performing on the West End, but now her schedule is more flexible she is contentedly living here.

“I’m happy to be out of the craziness of London, although Brighton is crazy in its own way. My mum lives in Seaford and I’ve got a lot of family down here. I’d always go to Brighton at the weekend with my girlfriend anyway and we thought we’d make the move.”

The only irritating thing about the relocation, she adds, has been the unreliability of the trains – especially as Aimie is so often travelling to London for rehearsals with Helen and Rhiannon. The bandmates bonded over a love of pop.

“There just wasn’t enough of that while we were doing theatre,” says Aimie. “We sang the soundtrack for the Dirty Dancing show and loved it so much we thought we’d get together and tour the world.”

Some of the group’s theatrical background comes out in their concerts – which makes them perfect Eurovision candidates. Aimie says Goldstone “love putting a good show on and hopefully that comes across at the Brighton Dome”.

As a Eurovision obsessive, Aimie is only too aware of the poor results British entries have achieved of late. After all, who can forget the nadir of Jemini’s “nil points” debacle of 2003.

The singer laughs. “We’ve just got to do our best. If we got through to the final and got into the top 10, that would be worth of a big celebration for us and the country.”

Is Aimie wary of the political voting that seems to occur at the event, with neighbouring countries routinely gifting points to each other?

“It’s not in your hands – you have to take it for what it is,” she says. “There’s nothing like it in music because it’s so patriotic. We’d have to push all of that politics aside and do the best we can.”

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. Before Goldstone can book their flight to Portugal there is the small matter of Wednesday night. Another Swedish Eurovision winner, Mans Zelmerlow, is hosting the night with television presenter Mel Giedroyc.

Goldstone’s competitors are; Asanda, a former Britain’s Got Talent star and actress, seasoned soul singer Jaz Ellington; musical theatre actor Liam Tamne and singers Raya and SuRie.

All of the songs to be performed on Wednesday have been penned by a squad of professional pop songwriters at a “writer’s camp”. Laura White, Eric Lumiere and Joakim Buddee are the team behind I Feel The Love.

“All of the tracks this year are so good – they’re all really cool and current,” says Aimie. “Our has got a poppy, electronic, commercial feel to it which makes you want to get up and dance.”

There will be a panel of judges at You Decide as well as a packed-out audience. Ultimately, the winner will be decided by a 50: 50 combination of the panel’s decision and a public vote. A hotline will be supplied on the BBC Two television programme to allow home viewers to make their judgement. It’s all set to be a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat watch.

While Aimie, Helen and Rhiannon will let their performance do the talking, the frontwoman can’t resist a little promotional push before the action begins: “vote for us!”

And who can deny that it would be a heartwarming story for a Brighton-based ABBA fan to emerge victorious as Eurovision mania returns to the city?

“I’ve wanted to do this my whole life,” says Aimie. “I can’t wait for it to start.”

Eurovision: You Decide, Brighton Dome, Wednesday, 7.30pm. The event is broadcast live on BBC Two