Brits Give Eurovision The Hump

Seemingly hoping his huge international fan club televotes him to Eurovision glory, the BBC has chosen 75-year-old Engelbert Humperdinck to represent the UK in the annual song contest.

Daily Telegraph rock critic Neil McCormick called it “an act of desperation or a stroke of genius.”

There’s no doubting the enthusiasm the Beeb has for the competition, which it in some ways regards as being its own.

Not only has the UK won it five times, bettered only by Ireland’s seven wins, but it’s also taken on the role of default host.

In 1960 and ’63 the BBC stepped in because The Dutch and French broadcasting organisations respectively couldn’t foot the bill.

In 1972, the competition was back on British soil because Monaco couldn’t find a venue It happened again in ’74 when Luxembourg didn’t want to stump up the cash.

The UK’s last Eurovision win was in 1997 – Katrina & The Waves with “Love Shine A Light” – even though the song was sung by an American.

There was some mitigation. In 1988 Canadian singer Celine Dion won it for Switzerland.

Since the UK’s last win, many think the tactical voting among former Eastern Bloc states has skewed the competition’s sense of silly fun, but the BBC remains intent on getting its hands on the prize.

Humperdinck’s CV includes crooning a cloyingly romantic string of hit singles. The biggest of these was “Release Me,” which beat The Beatles to the No. 1 slot in 1967.

He also had a Top 10 U.S. hit in 1976 with “After the Lovin.”

The 57th Eurovision Song Contest will be in May in Baku, Azerbaijan.