Minister says BBC should lose Eurovision role after UK comes LAST

BBC slammed over Britain’s EUROVISION failure: Trade minister Liz Truss says the broadcaster should be stripped of power to choose the UK entry after James Newman finishes LAST – but denies that bitter Europeans were taking revenge for Brexit

  • Truss said that the selection of UK entry should be an open competition 
  • James Newman scored embarrassing ‘nul points’ in Rotterdam on Saturday
  • It was the second competition in a row where the UK had finished last 

The BBC should be stripped of its power to choose the UK’s Eurovision entry after Britain embarrassingly came last with zero points at the weekend, a  senior minister said today. 

Trade minister Liz Truss said that the selection of the country’s representative should be an open competition following James Newman’s ‘nul points’ in Rotterdam on Saturday night. 

Mr Newman, who is a successful songwriter and the older brother of pop star John Newman, was chosen by the BBC to represent the UK in 2020, but performed this year instead after the previous event was cancelled by Covid.

It was the second competition in a row where the UK had finished last, although Michael Rice managed 11 points in 2019. 

Appearing on LBC radio today Ms Truss said there needed to be more competition involved in choosing the entry – and suggested they should face politician-style interrogations by the media.

But she denied that the lack of points for Embers – which was inspired by the end of lockdown – was some sort of revenge by the people of Europe for Brexit.

She said: ‘I think there is a fundamental problem with the way that we are choosing our performances and singers for the Eurovision song contest.

‘I don’t think it is a post-Brexit snub. I think we need to have more competition to get the right entry, I think they need to be more tested with the public.

‘I am here today at LBC responding to questions from listeners. That is the kind of testing that we need our song contest entrant to go through.

‘So maybe it should be LBC running it, not the BBC.’

Trade minister Liz Truss said that the selection of the country’s representative should be an open competition following James Newman’s ‘nul points’ in Rotterdam on Saturday night.

Appearing on LBC radio today Ms Truss said there needed to be more competition involved in choosing the entry – and suggested they should face politician-style interrogations by the media.

Newman had been ready to perform the ballad My Last Breath at the 2020 contest before it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

But it was a disappointing night for the British hopeful, who was the only contestant to scored zero points from both the jury vote and from the public vote.

The competition, which was held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, after the show was cancelled in 2020, was won by Italy with rock band Maneskin’s Zitti E Buoni.

Some 7.4 million people tuned in to watch the competition on BBC One, the biggest overnight audience for a Eurovision final since 2014.

Mr Newman took his defeat in good humour, drinking a beer and standing up to applause from the live audience in the arena. 

But although it was the latest in a dismal run of performances int he competition stretching back at leats a decade, Eurovision viewers took to social media to blame Brexit for the UK’s results, with one fan saying: ‘If this doesn’t convince you what impact Brexit has had, I don’t know what will.’ 

The Italian band Maneskin leaped for joy as they triumphed at the 65th Eurovision Song Contest in the Netherlands tonight

Eurovision rules allow contestants to be chosen by countries via either an open, televised selection processes or an internal selection process by the host broadcaster, or a mixture of the two.

Over the past 60 years the UK has used all three options, with public vote son  programmes like A Song For Europe. 

From 2011 to 2015 internal selection was used by the BBC to choose the UK entrant. But performances from well-known names like boyband Blue, crooner Englebert  Humperdinck and 80s power-ballad legend Bonnie Tyler failed to make much of an impact.

Public voting returned in 2016 but later scrapped, with Mr Newman becoming the latest performer to be chosen by an internal process for 2020/1. 

The results of the Eurovision song contest 2021

 Italy – 524

France- 499

Switzerland – 432

Iceland- 378

Ukraine- 364

Finland – 301

Malta – 255

Lithuania – 220

Russia – 204

Greece – 170

Bulgaria – 170

Portugal – 153

Moldova – 115

Sweden – 109

Serbia – 102

Cyprus- 94

Israel – 93

Norway – 75

Belgium – 74

Azerbaijan – 65

Albania – 57

San Marino – 50

Netherlands – 11

Spain – 6

Germany – 3

United Kingdom – 0 

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