Don’t blame Brexit for Eurovision failure: UK Minister
Britain’s overwhelming draws in the Eurovision Song Contest last weekend were due to a poor selection process, not Brexit composure, a senior minister insisted on Monday.
James Newman didn’t score any points from the jury and the public vote for his song “Embers” only the second time the country failed to earn any points at all.
The last time this happened was in 2003 after a quirky performance by the Jemini group. But Saturday’s poor performance was the second year in a row that the UK have come in last place.
International Trade Minister Liz Truss criticized the UK’s selection of its candidate in comments on a radio telephone.
“I think there is a fundamental problem with the way we choose our performances and our singers for the Eurovision Song Contest,” she told LBC radio.
But she rejected a suggestion that voters ignored the British song due to the country’s torturous and divisive departure from the European Union.
“I don’t think this is a post-Brexit snub. I think we need to have more competition to get the right competitor, I think they need to be tested more with the public,” Truss said.
Newman was selected by the BMG label as the UK entry for last year’s competition, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For this year’s competition, he had to drop the planned song due to its ill-fated title: “My Last Breath”.
The UK, which last won the competition in 1997, experimented with a variety of ways to choose contestants, including sending seasoned stars such as Engelbert Humperdinck and musical comedy maestro Andrew Lloyd Webber to compose the song. .
But he had little success.
Truss highlighted his appearance on live radio, saying the Eurovision contestants faced an equally difficult process.
“These are the kinds of tests that we need our song contest participant to pass,” she says.
She also attacked the BBC, the public broadcaster that runs the national selection, suggesting: “Maybe it should be LBC running it, not the BBC.”
The barbed wire comment against the BBC comes as the company faces stiff criticism over its 1995 interview with Princess Diana after an investigation found she knew interviewer Martin Bashir forged documents to persuade her to participate.
It is also under pressure from the government over its license fee funding model as well as perceptions of political bias.
© 2021 AFP