Engelbert Humperdinck is UK Eurovision act for 2012

Engelbert Humperdinck Engelbert Humperdinck has sold more than 150 million records worldwide

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British crooner Engelbert Humperdinck is to represent the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

The 75-year-old, dubbed the "King of Romance", is best known for his 1967 hit Release Me, which kept The Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever off the number one spot.

The singer said it was "an absolute honour" to be taking part and was "excited and raring to go".

This year's competition will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 26 May.

The song Humperdinck will perform has yet to be announced but the BBC said it would be recorded in London, Los Angeles and Nashville.

It will be written by Grammy award-winning producer Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello winner Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote James Blunt hit You're Beautiful.

Humperdinck - who was born Arnold Dorsey - has sold more than 150 million records worldwide during his 45 year career.

Eurovision expert Liam Jarnecki: "Get behind Engelbert"

Born in Chennai to a British army officer, he took his stage name from a German composer best known for his opera Hansel and Gretel.

He scored a UK number one with The Last Waltz and had other hits including There Goes My Everything and A Man Without Love.

His last UK top 20 single was 40 years ago with Too Beautiful To Last which reached number 14.

The singer has received four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year and is one of only a handful of artists with a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Las Vegas Walk of Fame.

"It's an absolute honour to be representing my country for this year's Eurovision Song Contest," the singer said.

"When the BBC approached me, it just felt right for me to be a part of an institution like Eurovision. I'm excited and raring to go and want the nation to get behind me!"

Humperdinck is the oldest ever Eurovision contestant and if he wins, will be the UK's first victor since Katrina and the Waves 15 years ago.

"Engelbert's age isn't the reason why we chose him to represent the nation for Eurovision, but it's nice to break a few records along the way," a BBC spokeswoman said.

Katie Taylor, BBC head of entertainment and events said: "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."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    The only way we stand a chance in Eurovision 2012 is if the song is good and the other european judges like it, and decide to give us high marks for once. Although I must admit Eurovision is my guilty pleasure because no-one else in my household makes a bigger deal of it as I do. And some entries are really good (e.g. Jedward's Lipstick from Eurovision 2011)

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    This should have happened in the 70s surely? Our national broadcaster could easily encourage and promote the biggest names of today to take part in Eurovision, but what do we get? - an artist who could not be further removed from the music of today. This is bemusing and right after last year's credibility with Blue.. This song will have to be good, or I'll wave a different flag in Baku..

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    We really are scraping the bottom of the barrel now. Time to withdraw from the competition gracefully and admit the UK doesn't understand Europop.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    Norman Wisdom would have been my first choice, alas he’s no longer with us Norman would have had us in tears or holding on to our sides.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    It could have been worse - it could have been Ken Dodd.

    His songs were for the older generation 40+ years ago.

    Now they are for those that are dead.

    This is just too embarrassing for words.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    I love Eurovision .....It has everything in good entertainment.... comedy, tragedy, suspense and an unexpected (unexplained?) ending! Best of luck to Englebert – he’s a real winner.

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    I suppose that this just show that we have given up on any chance of performing well and will send another contemptous message to our European neighbours. It feels little bit like sending Dad's Army to play Real Madrid.

    Such a shame - now I have to wait another year before I can enjoy the strangeness of the contest again

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    This is a great idea. We in Australia love to watch the Eurovision Song Contest, and in 2000 the Olsen brothers won for Denmark. They would have been around fifty at the time, so being an oldie may have helped.
    But at 76 Engelbert Humperdinck may be a bit old to the fifty somethings. I am in my early 60"s and I thought Engelbert Humperdinck was a bit old fashioned when his hits were around.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    Oh come one, everyone knows Eurovision is a farce, where musical talent seldom wins out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    The Eurovision song contest should have been put out to pasture years ago. It is truly dire and I never watch it. I certainly agree with SollyAtwell though spot on !

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    Sad. The UK has some of the best music writers, musicians and producers in the world. We should have used this to showcase emerging UK talent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    Yes, anybody who makes a little bit less noise and does a bit more music may attract a bit of more listeners to this Eurovision. However, it is the noise that would take the prize!

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    I still think he'll fare infinitely better than Austria's entry (Trackshittaz) whose entry will be unintelligible to the vast majority of the viewers. Ultimately Eurovision is a cringeworthy event so probably better for someone in their twilight years to represent the UK that have it kill their career in its infancy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    OMG! I hate the contest anyway, but this will be an utter embarrassment - I'll make a note not to watch - again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    Leaving the fact the Eurovison is rubbish and meaningless the voting was always supposed to be about the song not the artist.

    Perhaps someone singing in Polish or Urdu would be more representative of the UK.
    Anyway the Mormon Tabernacle Choir could represent the UK for all anyone cares about this ridiculous event.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    I might just watch the Eurovision Song Contest this time. Hurrah for Engelbert

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    Here's a thought. All the rest of Europe votes for us and we get stuck with paying for next year's contest. Payback time for Dave's failure to kowtow to the European mafia.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    I don't know! ...... This is right out there on the bleeding edge between genius and madness!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Considering the drubbing we receive every year and the stick our entrants get I think he must be extremely thick skinned. Go on Engelbert!

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    A master stroke!
    We have no recent track record of success in Eurovision. It is a tired and ageing event that produces generally forgettable outcomes. So we have nothing to lose. At least the guy can (or at least could) sing which again is a breakthrough for the event. And with a name like Humperdinck we might gather votes from a number of confused Europeans that think he's one of them.


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