The Eurovision Song Contest
Can Engelbert beat the odds and bring victory back to Britain?
He’s been romancing his fans for decades, but now, aged 76, Engelbert Humperdinck is truly putting his popularity to the test as he takes to the stage in Baku, Azerbaijan for The Eurovision Song Contest final.
At TV Choice we’re all pretty excited at the prospect of the Hump singing for Britain, and just hope it’s the kind of genius move we’ve been waiting for. After all, it’s 15 years since we last enjoyed victory — when Katrina And The Waves sung Love Shine A Light — and the recent phenomenon of bloc voting has made our chances seem very slim indeed.
With his worldwide fan base, especially in the Baltic states, Engelbert should have admirers voting in droves for his romantic ballad Love Will Set You Free. So, it might not be his most powerful song ever, but it’s got a catchy melody, and if anyone knows how to put on a good show, it’s Engelbert.
A consummate professional, he performs some 150 concerts a year, crisscrossing the world to places as diverse as Russia, Dubai, Beirut and Canada. He recently road-tested his Eurovision number on American audiences, and got a rave response.
‘Of course I built it up a bit, saying I’m going to be representing my country,’ he admits. ‘To my astonishment, the entire audience stood up for the song. I thought, "We’ve got something here." It’s got a good message, and a good melody. I think it stands a chance.
‘I’ve played all over Europe and think there’s a connection there. I think that’s useful.’
The bookies, keeping a close eye on Twitter chat, have been cheery about his chances — the odds on Engelbert winning have fluctuated from 16/1 to a more optimistic 10/1, which would put the UK at a respectable number three behind Sweden and Russia.
Sweden’s Loreen is set to wow audiences with upbeat club number Euphoria, and ‘Russian grannies’ Buranovskiye Babushki will sing Party For Everybody.Loreen
Audiences are never predictable, but one thing’s for sure — our dear Engelbert will not only bring a touch of class to the competition, but a wave of happy nostalgia.