The U.K.’s former X-Factor contestants have flopped. Its rappers have made Europe cringe. And even boy band Blue came up short on the big night last year in Dusseldorf. So in choosing Britain’s Eurovision 2012 contestant, the BBC adopted a fresh approach by recruiting one of its oldest living legends: 75-year old crooner Englebert Humperdinck.
Wiwi was not born in Britain, and he’s under the age of 60. So when he saw Engelbert’s name trending on Twitter earlier this evening he thought it was referring to a cartoon character. But no: Englebert is a real person with a serious musical history. I’ll let Eurovision.TV do the hard work and introduce him:
In an illustrious career spanning over 45 years, Britain’s own Engelbert Humperdinck has sold over 150 million records worldwide, received four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year, 63 gold and 24 platinum records 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. To this day, Humperdinck has remained a global star, he is often on the road and in the past year alone he has performed in major venues in the United Kingdom, Russia, Netherlands, Belgium, Romania and Israel.
That he still has fans across Europe will, no doubt, help him in Baku. So will the fact that he’s ancient. Some of his fans from the 70s are still alive. And while they may not know how to use a cell phone, we’ve heard rumors the European Broadcasting Union will accept votes via pigeon this year.
“It’s an absolute honour to be representing my country for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest,” Humperdinck said after the announcement. “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!”
Whether or not Britain’s hot young things will offer their support remains to be seen. But Wiwi can confirm that Dear Humperdinck has a talented team behind his song, which remains a closely guarded secret. Grammy award-winner Martin Terefe will produce it. He’s teamed up with songwriter Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful.” The team will record the song in Los Angeles, Nashville and London.
Humperdinck’s best-known song is “Release Me,” which climbed to #1 on the British charts in 1967. Have a listen:
And here he is singing “My Way.” Cheesy, but good: