The BBC is to blame for the UK’s dismal record in the Eurovision Song Contest, our most recent winner has claimed.
Katrina Leskanich, who won the competition 20 years ago with Love Shine A Light, launched a scathing attack on the broadcaster, saying its championing of former X Factor contestants was one of the reasons the UK did not stand a chance of winning.
This year’s UK entrant is an ex-competitor from the ITV talent show, Lucie Jones, who will perform Never Give Up On You in Saturday’s final.
Five other former X Factor contestants were among the hopefuls put forward by the BBC to compete in Kiev.
Katrina told the Daily Telegraph: “A bunch of X Factor rejects? That just says it all. How horrible is that? Isn’t it just a colossal waste of money not to take it a bit more seriously, and try a little harder?”
Talking about the BBC choosing the representative internally from 2011 to 2015, she continued: “We kept choosing such terrible representatives that you just knew from the get-go they weren’t going to win.”
Katrina will appear on the BBC coverage of the show this Saturday, reading out the UK’s votes.
The 57-year-old also spoke about the decision to allow Australia to join the contest in 2015.
She said: “Why aren’t New Zealand in the contest? Why isn’t Canada? I think a lot of countries are going to wonder why they can’t be involved if Australia can. I think, possibly, the day will come when there will be a Middle Eastern division of Eurovision.”
The UK, Spain, France, Germany and Italy pay higher fees to enter the competition in return for a guaranteed place, but Katrina said the cost should be spread more equally according to each country’s GDP.
She said: “These countries aren’t getting good scores, but they’re still having to foot the bill.”
Meanwhile, Lucie has spoken about her Eurovision goals.
She said: “I just don’t want to come last, really. If we get no points I’ll be disappointed, but anything else is going to be a win.
“All I’ve got to do is not go on and fall flat on my face, and hit a bum note.”
The BBC has been contacted for comment.