In recent years, the BBC has run TV shows showcasing Eurovision hopefuls, allowing the public to vote for the act that will represent the UK in the contest. This year we aren't given a say but we do get Engelbert Humperdinck. At 75, he will be the oldest contestant to ever enter the competition according to the BBC
Younger generations may not recognise the name but Engelbert was, in his day, one of the hottest acts in the country. Often called the "King of Romance" his best known songs include Release Me, There Goes My Everything and The Last Waltz. This is the man who kept Strawberry Fields Forever off the number one chart spot back in the day. He has sold over 150 million records worldwide, was a Golden Globe Entertainer of the Year and has stars on the Hollywood and Las Vegas Walks of Fame.
The BBC Head of Entertainment and Events, Katie Taylor, described the corporation's delight with the choice:
Not since the 70s have we had such an established international musical legend represent the nation. We couldn't be more delighted. Engelbert's experience leaves us in no doubt that he will be able to deliver a standout performance in front of 120 million viewers worldwide.
It may be that Humperdinck's age, reputation and experience does us some good in this year's competition. According to Sky News
, the UK has not won since 1997 and that year's winning act, Katrina And The Waves, had an American lead singer.
Our showing at Eurovision in recent years has not been impressive – even putting famous boy band Blue in the game last year didn't work. We may have had some duff songs and acts along the way, but our low votes may be down to politics as well. According to a Guardian report
on the 2011 contest, Europe just doesn't like our attitude, we have no political allies and countries actually gang up to vote against us.
In a post on his website
, Humperdinck tells fans just how happy he was to have been chosen.
I am so thrilled to have been asked by the BBC to represent the UK at Eurovision 2012!..without hesitation I happily accepted. I will proudly represent my country in song! This is a competition steeped in tradition and is one of the few remaining that is for the country as opposed to a talent search like Idol, X Factor or The Voice (which I am also a big fan of all 3 shows). Plus it gives me the opportunity to represent the country in something I'm relatively good at....Otherwise it would have to be at Darts!
The song he will sing will be written by Martin Terefe and Sacha Skarbek, the co-writer of James Blunt's hit, You're Beautiful.