Has the time come for Britain to Brexit Eurovision after 10 years of flops
The eyes of the world turn to Tel Aviv tomorrow night as it hosts this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
In the UK, it will be the witty words of BBC commentator Graham Norton which brings music to the ears
It will be a star-studded affair with Madonna performing, supermodel Bar Refaeli among the Israeli hosts and even Wonder Woman actor Gal Gadot making an appearance.
The UK is represented by All Together Now winner Michael Rice, who has the thankless – and unlikely – task of winning friends in Europe with his song Bigger Than Us.
The favourites are the Netherlands, with Duncan Laurence’s power ballad, and Australia, with famous Down Under opera star Kate Miller-Heidke.
The UK had a proud history in the contest, having won it five times, starting with Sandie Shaw in 1967.
But for the past decade we haven’t even finished in the top 10.
So now that thanks to Brexit we’re a political joke in Europe too is there any point in embarrassing ourselves further or should we just ditch the competition for good?
YES – by Sara Wallis
Eurovision fever? Yes, it genuinely brings me out in a cold sweat. Every year, like foolish tone-deaf lemmings, a dedicated cohort of loyal fans pins their Eurovision hopes and dreams on some poor sod, usually from a reality talent show.
“This will be our year!” they shout, all over-excited as we endure the umpteenth playing of our entry – yet another forgettable pop track.
But let’s look at the facts.
We haven’t even hit the top 10 for a decade – that was Jade Ewen in 2009. Remember her? Or the song? No, me neither.
Since then, our most memorable placing was last. Actual last place.
Is our wooden spoon award resting in a cabinet somewhere just waiting to be dusted off again? The singer responsible for that debacle was Josh Dubovie in 2010, whose name – like most of the names of UK entries – was consigned to the dustbin section of our brains almost immediately.
Successful singers recently have fared no better. Engelbert Humperdinck came 25th out of 26, Bonnie Tyler reached 19th, Blue were 11th.
And last year, someone actually tried to run SuRie off the stage – although we didn’t take it personally.
We’re thick skinned you see. Bookies favourites to come last? Pah. What do they know? But I’m wondering if it’s about time I placed a bet.
As if Brexit isn’t bad enough, why are we choosing to promote this “national embarrassment” status on an annual basis?
Should we just cast all our tea bags into the sea and be done with it? Look, I get it, we used to be good at Eurovision. As kids, it was a big event for my brother and I to stay up late and watch, excited and tense as the points racked up. With cameras poised across Europe, it felt like exotic television.
But, these days, we’re not even in the game. We’ve been on the bench for years and it’s not fun any more. Graham Norton’s blatant mocking is the only thing worth tuning in for.
Time for Brexivision. And no, let’s not discuss it for several excruciating months – let’s just not bother turning up next year. I bet no one will even call to ask where we are.
Michael Rice has proved he has a belting voice and I’m sure he’s a very nice chap. But if I have to hear that song Bigger Than Us once more, my brain might just Boom Bang-a-Bang.
I tell you what’s bigger than us – Godzilla, on ITV. I’ll be watching that and leaving everyone else to tot up the nul points. Bonne chance.
NO – by Ian Hyland
There is one very good reason why the UK should not pull the ultimate hissy fit and take its disco ball home. It would simply prove that all that superiority complex, false sense of entitlement, Britannia-rules-the-waves nonsense is actually true.
Consider the facts. Since 1956, the UK has won Eurovision five times and been runner-up 15 times. Since 1966, a British team has won an international football tournament exactly zero times – and been runner-up exactly zero times.
You don’t see a sobbing Gareth Southgate hurling his waistcoat down in disgust and demanding a boycott unless the other countries agree to let the Brits win.
If we threatened to pull out just because the odds were apparently stacked against us, it would be like Donald Trump refusing to take part in his golf club’s annual tournament unless it was agreed he would be wearing the winner’s blazer come what may. How embarrassing would that be?
In any case, it hasn’t been 22 years of hurt since we last triumphed with Katrina And The Waves.
It’s been 22 years of what Eurovision always is. An absolute TV highlight of the year. A night where no one really cares who wins as long as we have a good laugh and a good moan about alleged tactical voting.
I’m proud that a small part of my licence fee goes towards paying for it – and the ratings suggest nine million other Brits are perfectly happy, too.
Remember, if the UK wasn’t one of the big-five financial contributors, our entry would probably need to make it through the (increasingly competitive) semi-finals.
As Ireland discovered on Thursday night, that’s not easy. That’s Ireland, who have generally been quite good at this Eurovision lark over the years.
Meanwhile, our entries this millennium have been at best borderline pathetic and at worst openly apathetic. We almost let Katie Price represent us one year, for Bucks’ (Fizz) sake!
For all the talk of politically motivated voting and all the paranoia about anti-UK sentiment, history reminds us that the winner of Eurovision tends to be the best and/or most memorable entry.
Furthermore, since 2000, 15 of the winning songs have been written and performed in English.
Come on, if they hated us that much surely they would use their own language?
The Eurovision Song Contest final is on BBC One tomorrow from 8pm until 11:40pm.
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