In this new series, we are looking at all the countries currently competing in the Eurovision Song Contest and why we love them — for all the right (and sometimes wrong) reasons. Now it is the turn of the United Kingdom to feel the love, as we take a peek at their long-standing participation in the contest.
As a member of The Big Five, the UK doesn’t participate in semis, but on many an occasion, they haven’t rested on their laurels and have brought something amazing and unique. From air stewards to creating a galaxy of stars surrounding the entire arena, the UK have done some epic things with staging! Here’s ten reasons we love the UK!
1. They love bringing West End drama
Nothing brings pride to British fans quite like when there is a link to London’s West End musical scene. 2009’s “It’s My Time” had Andrew Lloyd Webber perform alongside Jade Ewen and the UK came fifth. More recently West End theatre starlet Lucie Jones made fans scream when her staging came to fruition. Perhaps this is the United Kingdom’s key to success?
2. They have a long and golden history
The UK are one of the most successful countries in the contest since it all began. They have been competing since 1957 and have chalked up five wins and 15 second-places.
3. UK commentary is pesky and we love it
The moment in 2014 when the hosting team paid a visit to Graham Norton’s commentary booth sums up everything about British commentary: it’s witty sarcastic and drop-dead funny. Over the years it’s been divisive but Graham’s one-liners at Eurovision are a huge part of British culture and a good reason why 8.1 million people watched in the UK this year at its peak.
4. They aren’t shy of sending a huge name
Olivia Newton-John, Cliff Richard, Bonnie Tyler, Engelbert Humperdinck — the UK has sent some of the biggest legends in music to the contest (in their prime or not). Engelbert was the oldest ever performer at a Eurovision final after his performance but was overtaken within an hour by one of the Buranovskiye Babushki.
5. When they do novelty, they don’t do it by halves
Only the UK would send Daz Sampson swiftly followed by Scooch. The weird themes in previous UK novelty acts have been some of the most iconic in modern Eurovision history, with some fans still dressing up in flight attendant gear for Eurovision parties around the continent over a decade later. We won’t even discuss that spoken innuendo in the song.
6. British fans dress for the occasion
Eurovision wouldn’t be Eurovision without the UK fans in the crowd wearing full Union Jack suits, bow ties, shoes, hair — everything!
7. They’re always there for the party
The UK have competed solidly since 1959 and have the longest streak of participation in the contest. Despite a lack of top-five results for quite some time now, they show up year after year with something different to the rest of the pack – be it in a good or bad way.
8. They brought back a national final
Eurovision: You Decide came to our screens in 2016 after strong demand from fans when electro-swing didn’t really please British fans in 2015, let alone those overseas. Its first edition was in a small venue in north London, but in 2017 and 2018 they’ve taken the show on the road to two of the UK’s most iconic venues and produced considerably higher quality shows year-on-year.
9. They’ve helped shape Eurovision as it is today
We talk a lot about Christer Bjorkman’s undeniable impact on modern Eurovision, but the work done by the UK in the 1998 edition of the Eurovision is still evident in today’s shows; such as televoting en masse and widespread use of backing tracks as opposed to an orchestra. Even the watermark of the performing country’s name in the bottom-left corner was conceived by former HoD Guy Freeman and his team in Birmingham.
10. The living legend that is SuRie
Without the UK in Eurovision, we wouldn’t have had SuRie’s social media to obsess over this Eurovision season. To make her even better, she performed the hell out of “Storm” after her stage invasion and didn’t even need to perform a second time to prove a point; an actual legend of British participation.
What do you think of our favourite things about the UK? Do you have a particular favourite song from the Brits? Let us know below in the comments!
SuRie was actually quite good. I wish they had given her a better song.
Lucie Jones was massively robbed. It should have been top 10.
And Jade Ewen was a goddess on that stage.
The rest? Unfortunately not so well performed, at least not in the past 15 years or so. Even with a good song like “Children of the Universe” the live performance was awful.
Oh not a word about Terry Wogan? Storm and Flying the flag are my favourite UK entries from recent times. Older faves for me are 1998, 1997, 1967, 1982 and 1994. I should mention that Scooch even reached 5th place of UK single Charts. I don’t know why, but I think it’s worth mentioning it.
Terry Wogan was the one that made the British so xenophobic towards Eurovision. If we had a commentator that was less piss-taking and more serious (like the German one), then I’m sure more people in the UK would like it!
Peter Urban geht ja mal gar nicht! Jedes Jahr aufs Neue beweist er seine Unkenntnis und seine Kommentare über Kleider usw. sollte er sich sparen. Und seinen Vorgänger Ado Schlier fand ich genauso schlimm, Thomas Gottschalk ging so und von Nicole in 1988 möchte ich erst gar nicht anfangen.
Wogan did had a point tho. The pure televote era was the cultivating ground for diaspora vote. It was sick to see the way that “Balkan Friendship society” or “Scandinavia and their lovely neighbors” voted.
11. The ability to leave the best song behind in the National Final. Just how many years can you remember we didn’t send our best song?
I think the “legend” label came because of the amazing way she coped with the stage invader live in front of over 180 million people. And yeah, we all had our issues with the UK’s 2018 entry but that doesn’t take away the fact that SuRie can go home with her head held high as one of the United Kingdom’s most courageous and charismatic performers.
The 5 times that ESC could not be hosted in the country that has previously won, the UK offered to host four of those times.
11. They are good judies!
Ahhhh… The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. What a crazy ride it’s been indeed since your first participation in 1957! The UK has its bad and its cons regarding Eurovision and I think we all can agree on that. It’s been more than 20 years since the last British victory and I’m not sure if we’ll see one again in the short term. But that doesn’t mean at all that the UK is doomed regarding Eurovision, because I think we can all agree that while maybe the BBC doesn’t try as big as some other countries or… Read more »
C’mon BBC! Next year, send a banger and get us back into the top 10! I know deep down that they can do it!
I reckon why should try a rock song, with loads of fireworks, a rememberable chorus and just plain epicness!
Most people say that the UK doesn’t try, but they have some real gems, like 2014, 2017, 2009 and 2011, and they were even underrated in some of those years! And they do actually try, they sent huge expensive props in 2017 and 2018 and brought back a national final. If they could just once approach a big artist to write/ sing a song for them then they could easily score well, their past results show that.
I totally agree. I really don’t understand why we weren’t in the top 10 in both 2014 and 2017. We could’ve been in the top 10 in 2011 (without the juries). I hope we aim for gold again next year! The only thing that reassures a British fan like me is that Spain and many other countries do worse!
11. They don’t take it too seriously, but would still genuinely love to win it
Of course we would! I take the Eurovision too seriously!
Fingers crossed for 2019!
Imagine if we hosted it – it could b like the closing ceremony of of the Olympics all over again!
Surie is a living legend. Was in the Belgian team for two seasons, and finally represented her own country this year. I would love if Surie participated again another year.
5 times winner and 15 times 2nd place! For those of us who are younger, this sounds strange because since the 2000’s something happened to the U.K and they usually had poor results. But, yes, there was a golden era for the U.K! I prefer Graham Norton to Terry Wogan. I believe Terry’s comments were a bit harsh though Graham keeps it real. Despite the big names they’ve sent through the years, it’s usually in vain. (especially the recent efforts, because the older ones were pretty successful). About the novelties, this 2007 entry was a mess but I still remember… Read more »
So fun watching everyone let the purpose of these articles fly right over their heads and go straight to hating. Every country brings something different to the table and some are in a better state than others. Be kind and appreciate that they’re joining the party.
Louder for those in the back!! xx
I really hope the UK return to the top 10 next year. I don’t feel British Eurovision fans are trying hard enough to slam the BBC. There really needs to be a campaign of some sort to get the UK back on track again. Not enough is being done in my opinion. The BBC can scrap You Decide because it’s a pointless show and send an artist with recognition across Europe (like Blue).
No. They better can start sent better songs. Or the EBU must delete them from big 5 rule.
Should the EBU also remove Germany and Spain from the big 5 then? It’s nothing to do with success rate, none of the big 5 (apart from Italy) has had a great track record since the introduction of the big 5
Eliminating the Big-5 rule would be a big motivator for their national broadcasters and selection committees to revamp their selection processes. I’m thinking that the Big-5 rule has actually done more harm than good to the Big 5 as a whole. Italy is the exception, because they never send a really bad performance, because they don’t overthink their strategy. Germany this time took the less-is-more approach, and didn’t overthink or UNDERthink their strategy, and this time it paid off. They need to take that approach again, and the other 3 of the Big 5 should take notes.
yes shoutout to surie who embodied her song on stage 🙂
pretty much the only reason i dont like the uk is because of terry and now graham’s *hateful* and cynical commentary
-maybe if you didn’t joke around you’d do better?
It’s indifferent by me.
SuRie does not deserve all the love she gets. Maybe half the love.
Why doesn’t she?
Although I thought Storm was a bland, generic pop song, I thought SuRie was outstanding in her final performance. Her strength and motivation showed her true character and she should be a UK milestone for what she had to put up with!
Lucie the best
Is it wrong that I didn’t like Storm until Surie fought off the invader?!?!
“Fought off” – let’s exaggerate.
She “coped” very well. 🙂
Imagine someone stage-invading Hovi’s performance, I would like to see that 😀
Idan Cohen why would you like to see that? Performing at ESC is a highlight in the live of an ESC star, why would you want that to be ruined?
Has the UK itself become a novelty act at Eurovision, no matter what it sends?
Should the UK at Eurovision be confined to the history books?
Have our Irish commentators been part of the reason that Eurovision is ridiculed in the UK?
So many questions. But there is one thing I agree with – SuRie is awesome. 🙂
“10 Reasons why we love the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest” – Well, they suck, so we kinda don’t.
They don’t suck all of the time. The UK has just been underrated in some years (2014, 2017)
Really unnecessary comment. Trust me, there are many partaking countries that do worse than the UK (e.g. Iceland, Finland, Ireland, Spain etc.)
But Ireland might be on to something; and if they figure out why THIS TIME their less-is-more strategy worked (other than the stage dancers), and got them to the final, they might be on the rise once again.
Didn’t we say that after Ireland came 8th in 2011? Even the UK is slowly progressing (not quick enough) and I do have a feeling the UK’s luck will change in a few years time!