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Organisers of the Eurovision have defended the contest against claims that racism had been a factor in the UK’s poor record in recent years. Andrew Lloyd Webber suggested in a Radio Times interview that black contestants fared worse in the voting. He added that when he took Jade Ewen to the 2009 contest, he was asked “why have you brought a black artist?” The European Broadcasting Union, which stages the annual event, said: “We have had no indications of racism”. “On the contrary, we celebrate the differences among different entries, truly uniting Europe for three nights a year.” “At this year’s final we had a female black singer representing Ukraine,” added the EBU. Its statement was a direct response to Lord Lloyd-Webber, who criticised this year’s competition during his interview.
POSTED: 03/07/12 – Source: BBC News Online
Azerbaijan says it has arrested 40 people suspected of having plotted a “terrorist” attack on last week’s Eurovision Song Contest in Baku. The Azeri National Security Ministry says the plotters had planned to attack the event’s venue – the Baku Crystal Hall – and several hotels on the eve of the competition. The news was deliberately held back to prevent alarm among visitors, it adds. There has been no independent confirmation of the alleged plot. The suspects had “obtained Eurovision tickets with the aim of (committing) a terrorist act at the Baku Crystal Hall”, the official statement said. Among the hotels named as targets were Hilton Baku and the JW Marriott Hotel. They allegedly had links to neighbouring Dagestan, a mainly Muslim republic in the Russian North Caucasus plagued by Islamist insurgent attacks. The suspects were found possessing guns and explosives, the ministry says.
POSTED: 30/05/12 – Source: BBC News Online
Engelbert Humperdinck’s Eurovision flop has sparked fears that the BBC will struggle to sign up established singers for the contest in future. Engelbert was so gutted that he skipped the official after-party and went straight back to his hotel. A fellow guest said: “He was really upset.” Bosses had banked on him securing a top-five placing and were stunned when he was awarded just 12 points. Insiders put the blame on him performing first out of 26 acts, while others said his song was too old-fashioned compared with Sweden’s winning dance track Euphoria, performed by pop star Loreen. An insider said: “The BBC really thought Engelbert would have made Britain a serious player in Eurovision again and would open the door for other major singers to compete. “They had really high hopes for him and insisted he would do well. “But that has all gone out of the window now and there is a very real fear that other major credible artists will not want to risk the humiliation of being thrashed in Europe like Engelbert was.”
POSTED: 29/05/12 – Source: thesun.co.uk
Favourite Loreen has triumphed for Sweden at the 57th Eurovision Song Contest, with her club track Euphoria. The former Swedish Idol contestant led from early on in the voting at Baku, challenged only by Russia’s Buranovo Grannies, Serbia and hosts Azerbaijan. British entry Engelbert Humperdinck, who opened the contest with his ballad Love Will Set You Free, finished second from last – despite high hopes. The 76-year-old said he “did the best for my country”. “I’ve had many highs in my career and Eurovision has been a wonderful experience” he said. The crooner, who has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, received just 12 points – from Estonia, Latvia, Belgium and Ireland. However, at least the British star was spared the humiliation of ‘nil points’. Up to 125 million typically watch the annual contest on television around the world.
POSTED: 27/05/12 – Source: BBC News Online
Tonight saw the second of two semi-finals and the final ten countries to make it to Saturday’s final are
•Bosnia & Herzegovina
The UK’s Eurovision hopeful Engelbert Humperdinck has shocked fans by posing draped in a GERMAN flag. The 76-year-old crooner also declared that his heart is with our nation’s big rival. Engelbert featured in Germany’s biggest selling newspaper Bild yesterday. The headline said “Engelbert is our true star of Baku!” Engelbert, whose real name is Arnold Dorsey, revealed he had a soft spot for Germany as his mum and grandfather came from there. He also did military service there and took his stage name from a German composer. He was quoted as saying: “My blood is English but my heart is with the Germans. So I’ll be singing on Saturday for all Germans, especially for German women!”
POSTED: 24/05/12 – Source: thesun.co.uk
Spain’s Eurovision contestant has admitted the country would struggle to host the event if it were to win. Directors from broadcasters TVE joked to Pastora Soler, who will represent them on Saturday, “Please, don’t win!” “If we won, I think it would be impossible to stage the next edition because it costs so much money,” she told ABC Punto Radio.
POSTED: 24/05/12 – Source: BBC News Online
The Eurovision Song Contest retains an almost unrivalled ability to cause controversy. That is certainly the case in Ukraine this year, where the run-up to the event has been marred by a row over racism. The right-wing Freedom Party attacked the ground-breaking selection of a Gaitana – who is half Congolese – to represent Ukraine. “Millions of people who will be watching will see that Ukraine is represented by a person who does not belong to our race,” said Yuri Syrotyuk, whose party is preparing to contest the parliamentary elections later this year. “The vision of Ukraine as a country located somewhere in remote Africa will take root,” he added. He later denied accusations of racism and said that he was criticising the “lack of transparency in the national selection”.
POSTED: 23/05/12 – Source: BBC News Online
Jedward have made it through to their second Eurovision Song Contest final. The Irish twins were one of 10 acts to be voted through from Tuesday night’s semi-final. They will perform on stage in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Saturday to perform their pop track Waterline. Jedward are representing Ireland for the second year in a row.
POSTED: 23/05/12 – Source: BBC Newsbeat
Tonight saw the first of two semi-finals where eighteen countries battled it out to win ten places in Saturday’s final. The ten finalists are
The arrival of international legend Engelbert Humperdinck in Baku had been an eagerly anticipated moment for the media. The United Kingdom representative got his first impressions of the Crystal Hall and stage today. Backstage, Engelbert was having a familiarisation walk around the arena, getting his bearings. We asked for his opinions on the arena. He firstly gave a nod of approval and then joked “They built all of this just for me?!!! .” He went on to add “The arena is awesome, it has a great modern feeling about it.” Engelbert took to the stage for his first rehearsal early in the evening local time. The performance has a male and female balletclassical dancer who move around the stage elegantly during the performance. There is a guitarist sat on a stool behind Engelbert. The dancing adds to the atmosphere of the performance. The setting is very dimly lit to begin with, focusing only on the guitarist and then Engelbert. Colours interchange on the backdrop throughout the song and there are spotlights shining down on the stage. During the last performance, pyrotechnics were used with the falling rain effect similar to that used by Ell/Nikki last year, and then fireworks spinning around like catherine wheels. Each performance was improved from the former, with Engelbert seemingly satisfied at the end of the rehearsal. Due to the fact that the opening reception takes place this evening, the United Kingdom did not hold a press conference today, and Engelbert Humperdink will meet the press tomorrow.
POSTED: 19/05/12 – Source: eurovision.tv
Sweden is being tipped as favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest, which gets under way in Baku, Azerbaijan, next week. Singer Loreen, 28, will sing club track Euphoria in the semi-finals early next week – in which 37 countries will compete for the final 20 spots. But veteran star Englebert Humperdinck, representing the UK, believes he could win with Love Will Set You Free. “I think it has a very strong chance,” he said of the ballad. The crooner said he believed the track has “a great melody, a great storyline and… longevity”. “It’s a Viennese waltz and waltzes have a romantic feel and people usually dance slow to it. I think this has a great, great chance.” UK bookmakers have Sweden down as the strongest contender for the Eurovision crown, with odds of 7/1 to win; William Hill is reporting betting odds of 10/1 for Humperdinck to take the title. Humperdinck, who set off for Baku from his Leicester home on Friday, does not have to compete in the semi-final stage. The UK has an automatic pass to the finals as one of the contest’s five biggest financial donors – alongside France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
POSTED: 18/05/12 – Source: BBC News Online
Back in late March we announced the UK entry for Eurovision 2012 and so began the first phase of Engelbert’s promotion. From The One Show, to BBC Breakfast. From Radio 5 live to ITV’s This Morning, The Hump got everywhere! This won’t be the last you see of Hump’s promotion. The second phase has already begun; an interview in Serbia’s most popular newspaper Blic, chats with Latvian and Maltese press with many more coming very soon.
POSTED: 23/04/12 – Source: BBC Eurovision Online
A ballad called Love Will Set You Free is the UK’s entry at the Eurovision Song Contest, it has been revealed. Sung by veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck, it premiered on the the BBC’s Eurovision website on today. This year’s song has been written by Grammy award-winning producer Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello winner Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful and Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die. Love Will Set You Free is a tale of heartbreak with a simple, sparse arrangement of plucked Spanish guitar and melancholy strings. “The more you listen to it, the stronger it gets,” said Humperdinck. “It’s not a one-time listen.”
POSTED: 19/03/12 – Source: BBC News Online
It seems that Engelbert won’t be the oldest contestant at this year’s Eurovision. Folk group the “Buranovo Grannies” will compete in the Eurovision Song Contest, after winning a televised contest in Moscow to represent Russia. The six grandmothers (some almost 80 years old) beat 24 other acts – including a duet between 2008 winner Dima Bilan and Tatu’s Yulia Volkova – with song Party For Everybody. Buranovskiye Babushki, from the Udmurt Republic, say they will use any cash raised to build a church in Buranovo.
POSTED: 08/03/12 – Source: BBC News Online
Eurovision fans have blasted the Beeb (BBC) for choosing pop veteran Engelbert Humperdinck to fly the flag for Britain. They have taken to the contest’s website to knock the decision to have the 75-year-old sing at the event in May. Josephleather wrote: “With the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee this year, it’s a perfect occasion to show the UK as a young hip place, not stuck in the past, which you have clearly done.” And Hams posted: “Have the BBC given up?”
POSTED: 07/03/12 – Source: thesun.co.uk
Engelbert Humperdinck will represent the UK at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The 75-year-old crooner , who released his first album ‘Release Me’ in 1967 and put out his last studio effort ‘Released’ in 2010, said it was “an absolute honour” to be chosen to take part in the competition. He will sing a song written co-written by Sacha Skarbek – who helped pen James Blunt’s single ‘You’re Beautiful’ – and Grammy award-winning producer Martin Terefe at this year’s contest, which takes place in Baku, Azerbaijan on May 26.
POSTED: 02/03/12 – Source: nme.com
Jedward are to represent Ireland in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, after beating four other acts in a vote on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show Eurosong Special on Friday night. The 20-year-old twins, who shot to fame on The X Factor, came eighth in the contest last year with Lipstick and have now become the first act ever to represent Ireland twice in a row. They said: “It’s crazy. Oh my God, we are so excited. We did it last year, we’re going back and we have so many fans all across Europe. It’s going to be, like, we are back, return of the Jedward. “We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for the song tonight – we have the best fans in the world. We’d also like to thank our mentor Linda Martin for all her support and the song writers for writing such a Jepic song.”
POSTED: 25/02/12 – Source: mtv.co.uk
U.K – 25th Place – Engelbert Humperdinck – Love Will Set You Free
Ireland – 19th Place – Jedward – Waterline