Entertainment & Arts

Eurovision Song Contest: Anything can happen, says UK's Lucie Jones

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Media captionUK Eurovision artist Lucie Jones shares her predictions for this year

The bookies say the UK can't possibly win Eurovision this year. But singer Lucie Jones still believes there's a chance of an upset.

"Never tell me the odds!" says Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back after C-3PO tells him his chances of successfully navigating an asteroid field are 3,720 to 1.

It's a sentiment Lucie Jones would no doubt agree with, having been confronted daily with people telling her how unlikely she is to win Eurovision this year.

"People tell me the odds every day but I don't pay them any attention," insists the Cardiff-born singer, who'll be representing the UK on Saturday with Never Give Up on You.

"You can't believe the odds; anything can happen with these shows. I was favourite to win The X Factor [in 2009] and I got kicked out in favour of Jedward!"

Yet the experience was a beneficial one, eventually leading to her being asked to sing at Eurovision just like the bequiffed Irish twins were in 2011 and 2012.

From Albania and Cyprus to Romania and Sweden, this year's crop of hopefuls all seem to have at least one TV talent show under their belts.

Image caption Lucie Jones will perform Never Give Up on You

Do programmes like Pop Idol, The Voice and The X Factor act as a breeding ground for future Eurovision stars? Pretty much, believes Jones.

"There are so many of these shows now that everyone who wants to be a singer sees them as a platform," the 26-year-old tells the BBC.

"People try and use them as a springboard to go on to the next thing, which is exactly what happened to me."

But back to those odds. At the time of writing, the shortest odds you could find for a Lucie triumph were 20/1.

Italy, by contrast, were 11/10 favourite with most bookmakers, followed by Portugal at 7/4.

All evidence points to another year of Eurovision disappointment for the UK, who haven't won the competition now for 20 years.

Yet the odds for a top five finish - no small achievement considering the UK's recent record - are considerably shorter.

Ask anyone at the massive Eurovision venue in Kiev and they have Lucie pegged as a plucky runner-up to this year's heavy hitters.

As far as Jones is concerned, though, she's in it to win it.

"You have to be," she declares. "You have to come to these things hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.

"I'm here to do my best and give it absolutely everything, and as long as the UK is proud of what we've done here I'll be happy."

Gorilla smooch

All in all, taking part in Eurovision this year has been "the most insane rollercoaster experience" and one she will look back on "with utter joy and pride".

It's also one that has given her plenty of memorable moments - among them a smooch with the dancing gorilla who appears alongside Italy's Francesco Gabbani.

"That was on my bucket list," laughs Jones, who now considers many of her fellow competitors "really good friends".

"We're like-minded people having an amazing time and loving what we're doing," she continues. "There's just some amazing personalities to be around."

Han Solo, by the way, made it out of that asteroid field...

The Eurovision Song Contest final will be shown on BBC One on Saturday from 20:00 BST.

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