UK’s Guardian argues that Britain should take Eurovision seriously…

A recent column in the prestigious Guardian newspaper compares the UK attitude toward Eurovision and its entry to the serious attention Sweden pays to its selection process, and argues that Britain could showcase its fine music artistry to its advantage if it shared the Swedish attitude:

Eurovision is largely viewed as a joke in Britain – a reason to laugh at our European neighbours – but maybe Swedes are on to something. Opportunities for British artists to perform on mainstream television have disappeared since the demise of shows such as Top of the Pops. Apart from Later … With Jools Holland, all we have are talk shows, which usually only feature one established major label artist per show, and The X Factor, which features big stars and contestants singing covers. A show like Sweden’s Melodifestival could be a real shot in the arm for new music.

Britain is responsible for 12% of the world’s music market and has an incredible music heritage, so why can’t we send something more interesting to this year’s contest in Azerbaijan? Who cares if we win or not, or if, as Terry Wogan claimed, eastern Europeans vote for each other. Any opportunity to expose new artists to an audience of millions (in the case of the Eurovision final, hundreds of millions), singing newly composed music should be taken.

Engelbert Humperdinck

Please release him … Engelbert Humperdinck, Britain's entry for Eurovision 2012. Photograph: Steve Thorne/Redferns

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