Entertainment & Arts

BBC Four to host UK Eurovision public vote show

Electro Velvet
Image caption The UK's 2015 pre-selected Eurovision entry Electro Velvet ended up coming 24th out of 27th acts

The UK's 2016 Eurovision act will be chosen by the public in a TV show on BBC Four, in the first time the audience has had a say in six years.

Eurovision: You Decide on 26 February will see six acts bid to impress viewers and a professional panel to compete in Stockholm on 14 May.

Bake Off co-host Mel Giedroyc will host the 90-minute show, which also marks BBC Four's first taste of the contest.

The UK's pre-chosen 2015 entry Electro Velvet came 24th out of 27 in Vienna.

"I am a huge fan of the Eurovish and am honoured to be hosting this fantastic event," said Giedoroyc who will present the contest at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, north London.

"It's very exciting that the great British public will get the chance to choose who will be sent to Sweden and I know it's going to be an amazing night," she added.

The last act to be chosen by the audience in a TV contest was Josh Dubovie in 2010 but the selection show was broadcast on BBC One. Dubovie ended up finishing last on Eurovision night with the song That Sounds Good To Me.

BBC Four will this year also be showing both semi-finals of Eurovision live from Stockholm on 10 and 12 May.

The Eurovision extravaganza itself will as usual be broadcast on BBC One.

Open submission

Cassian Harrison, editor of BBC Four, said: "I'm delighted that Eurovision: You Decide and both of the semi-finals are coming to the channel this year.

"BBC Four is the home of music on TV in the UK and, as any fan will tell you, Eurovision is one of the biggest music events on the planet and is much more than just one night of TV, therefore it is only right that BBC Four is able to showcase Europe's favourite music TV event right here in the UK."

The BBC has not given the names of the members of the studio expert panel, who will also offer thoughts on how the contestants and their songs could be made to look and sound on stage in Stockholm at Eurovision.

In recent years the UK's act has been chosen internally by the BBC, who have also enlisted some big-name songwriters, including Gary Barlow, Pete Waterman and Andrew Lloyd Webber, in an aim to boost the country's chances.

But with a succession of bad outcomes for the UK, the BBC will this time launch an open submission process to get the best entrants.

Eurovision: You Decide will also feature special musical guest performances, to be confirmed on 22 January on the Ken Bruce Show on Radio 2.

Tickets for the show will go on sale on 22 January at 10am on the BBC's Eurovision website.

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