Entertainment

BBC scraps public vote used to select UK's Eurovision entry

The decision is part of a drive by the corporation to boost the UK's fortunes at the event.

The BBC has scrapped the public vote used to select the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest entry, instead opting to give a record label the final say.

It means there will be no Eurovision: You Decide, which has run since 2016.

Instead, the international music company BMG will select which act and song represent the UK in Rotterdam, Netherlands, next year.

The decision is part of a drive by the BBC to boost the UK’s fortunes at the event after years of disappointment.

This May saw Hartlepool-born Michael Rice finish 26th in Tel Aviv, Israel, putting the UK at the bottom of the table for the first time since 2010.

BMG, which will also release the UK’s Eurovision song, is no stranger to success at the contest, publishing the 2015 winning entry for Sweden, Heroes, sung by Mans Zelmerlow, and signing Israeli singer Netta following her win in 2018.

It also counts Lewis Capaldi’s chart-topping Someone You Loved, George Ezra’s Shotgun and I’ll Be There by Jess Glynne among its worldwide hits.

Duke of Cambridge Middle East tour Day 4
The Duke of Cambridge meets singer Netta Barzilai, who won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest (Chris Jackson/PA)

Kate Phillips, controller of entertainment commissioning at the BBC, said: “Our commitment to finding the right song has never been higher and this collaboration with BMG, who have access to world class songwriters, is a genuinely exciting prospect and I am certain that together we can find the best song and artist possible for 2020.”

Creative director for BBC Studios Mel Balac said: “The Eurovision Song Contest is a huge global event and our collaboration with BMG marks an important turning point for the UK at Eurovision. We very much hope this marks the start of an exciting new chapter.”

Alistair Norbury, BMG’s president of UK repertoire and marketing, said: “Eurovision is the biggest television showcase for music in the world and it’s an honour to be selected to help choose the UK’s entry at Rotterdam 2020.

“Eurovision plays to our strength as the only fully-integrated publishing company and record label. We can’t wait to get started working with the BBC to give it the best possible shot we can.”

The Netherlands won the right to host the 65th edition of the festival when Dutch singer Duncan Laurence won this year’s event in Tel Aviv with his doleful piano ballad Arcade.

Laurence was the first Dutch act to win the European musical extravaganza since Teach-In’s 1975 triumph with Ding-A-Dong.

Rotterdam’s Ahoy arena will host the semi-finals of next year’s event on May 12 and 14 and the grand final on May 16.

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