In the hours since the BBC announced that it had chosen 75-year old crooner Engelbert Humperdinck for Eurovision 2012, Eurovision fans have been asking themselves some very serious questions. For the younger set, those have included “Who the hell is he?” and “Is his hair real?” For the older set, it’s been a matter of, “Will they set his crooning to a disco beat?” and “Who is going to hold his walking stick when he takes the stage in Baku?” Wiwi and the team at WiwiBloggs.Com are not ageist, and we always get behind a good man (oh yes we do….). So we’ve compiled a list of reasons why all y’all—British or not—will want to cheer for Engelbert in Baku.
1. He’s causing a stir in Britain. This morning British newspapers from the Guardian to the Telegraph devoted space to dear Engelbert, and the BBC has been running talking heads on loop all day. It’s about time Britain got excited about Eurovision again. As one of those talking heads said, Europe is about more than boring bankers and the euro crisis. Bring on the camp!
2. His toupee may fall off on stage. One of Wiwi’s favorite moments at Eurovision 2009 was when Britain’s Jade Ewen got elbowed in the face by one of her violinists. Engelbert can top that by releasing his hairpiece on stage in from of 120 million people. Call him an eagle, because we know he must be bald!
3. The BBC is being culturally sensitive. The contest is being held in Azerbaijan where the government routinely silences dissidents and pro-democracy advocates. By choosing the British contestant behind closed doors and denying the public the chance to vote, the BBC honors Azeri tradition. Democracy is so 1989.
4. It’s a celebration of longevity. Queen Elizabeth celebrates her Diamond Jubilee this year—that’s 60 years on the throne, y’all!—so the BBC may be paying tribute to Mum by putting forward one of her contemporaries.
5. He represents one of Britain’s biggest cultural exports: Empire. That’s because Humpy Dumpy—born Arnold Dorsey—was actually born in Madras, India and his mother is Indian. (Not to be confused with the Native Americans who Holland’s Eurovision contestant supposedly mocks with her feathered headdress this year).
6. He is a fairy tale come to life. In 1965 Tom Jones’ manager suggested Arnold re-brand himself as Engelbert Humperdinck—a name borrowed from the 19th-century German composer best known for the opera Hansel and Gretel. He kinda resembles a big bad wolf.
7. He’ll represent a series of firsts. The first diaper on the Eurovision stage, and perhaps the first walking stick used to poke the Ukrainian contestant’s taught backside.
8. He kept the Beatles from reaching #1. That’s right. His 1967 song “Release Me” pulled off a musical cock block by preventing the Beatles’ “Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever” from climbing to the top.
9. He can do saucy. His Eurovision song has not yet been released, but it’s clear he can do outlandish. His musical biography includes suggestively named songs like “After the Lovin'” and “Lesbian Seagull” (a bird that probably hangs with 2007 Eurovision winner Marija Serifovic from Serbia).
10. He performed a song for the Beavis and Butt-Head Do America movie. Here’s that lesbian seagull again…