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Public will be making its mind up on UK's Eurovision entry

Published 30/09/2015

Graham Norton will reprise his role as the UK's Eurovision commentator
Graham Norton will reprise his role as the UK's Eurovision commentator
Katrina and the Waves were walking on sunshine in Dublin when they won the 1997 Eurovision, the UK's most recent victory in the song festival

BBC bosses are launching an X Factor-style talent hunt for next year's Eurovision Song Contest in order to turn around the UK's fortunes after a series of disasters.

Up and coming acts will be invited to battle it out with professionals as the format is completely revamped with Atomic Kitten and Blue's former record boss Hugh Goldsmith leading the hunt.

The BBC has been criticised in recent years for simply choosing an act and song to represent the UK.

This year Electro Velvet's track, Still In Love With You, failed to finish in the top 20 in this year's competition, which was won by the Swedish entry, Mans Zelmerlow's song Heroes.

Other acts to have performed poorly for the UK in recent years have included Engelbert Humperdinck and Bonnie Tyler.

For the coming year, the BBC is inviting singers, aged 18 and over, of any ability to submit a video and demo of them performing their original track.

The entries will then be narrowed down for the final shortlist, which will be presented to a professional panel including the UK circle of Eurovision fan club OGAE and the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (Basca) as well as the public, who have the final say on which song would represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden in May 2016.

The closing date for submissions is November 20 2015 on

The overhauled format marks a return to the competition style search of old when TV viewers and Radio 2 listeners were able to have an input into the choice.

Graham Norton, who will reprise his role as the UK's Eurovision commentator, said: "Eurovision is one of the highlights of my year and I love the fact that the BBC is launching its biggest song search ever.

"I think it really shows that they take the competition seriously and the fact that the public will get the final say on who is sent to represent the UK in Stockholm next year is the icing on the cake!"

Guy Freeman from the BBC added: "This year really will be the biggest song search for Eurovision the BBC has ever undertaken.

"With input from key industry figures and fan associations, plus with the public having the final say we are looking forward to seeing a true People's Eurovision entry representing the UK at next year's competition in Sweden."

Stars who have represented the UK include Tyler, Humperdinck and Blue, with Cliff Richard, Olivia Newton-John, Michael Ball and Lulu in previous decades.

However, the UK entry has yet to break into the top 10 in recent years, with Jade Ewen reaching the highest spot in 2009, taking fifth place with It's My Time.

Boyband Blue - comprising of Antony Costa, Duncan James, Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe - also got close when they finished in the 11th spot with their 2011 entry, I Can.

The last time the UK won the Eurovision Song Contest was in 1997, when Katrina And The Waves performed Love Shine A Light.

Other past winners include Bucks Fizz with Making Your Mind Up in 1981, Brotherhood Of Man with Save Your Kisses For Me in 1976, Lulu with Boom Bang-A-Bang in 1969, and Sandie Shaw's performance of Puppet On A String in 1967.

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