Despite finishing in last place nearly every year, us Brits absolutely adore the Eurovision Song Contest.
And the UK has actually come up with five winners during 62 appearances, but a downturn in results since the turn of the millennium has seen us come in last place four times as well.
We can’t get enough of the extravagant, camp and vibrant singing contest, which is why so many people were gutted to hear this year’s event had been cancelled.
This year’s schedule event in Rotterdam was pulled amid the global coronavirus pandemic – with Eurovision cancelled for the first time in it’s 64-year history.
In a statement, the EBU said: “We are all as heartbroken as they are that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May and know that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.”
This means that this year’s UK hopeful, James Newman, will not get to step out onto the big stage.
James, who has written hits for Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris and Little Mix, was about to join an illustrious list of UK participants.
The singer said: “I was meant to be singing on the stage in front of a TV audience of 200 million and 20,000 people in an arena – but what’s more important is people’s health.”
It is unknown yet as to whether James will be back to compete for the nation in 2021.
But could the rising star have actually been saved from a world of embarrassment and misery?
Here is a look back at where some of the recent and most notable of the UK’s Eurovision hopefuls are now.
2019 to 2000
Michael Rice – 2019
Michael had built up quite the CV before Eurovision, having entered series 11 of The X Factor and winning BBC show All Together Now.
But like many UK entrants before him he was given a brutal assessment on the continent and finished in last place with song “Bigger than Us”.
Europe was bigger than him and it did not help his career, with Michael’s follow up single “Somebody” failing to even chart in the UK.
After proving Rice guys can finish last, Michael was back on the airwaves this year ahead of Eurovision 2020 before it was cancelled.
SuRie – 2020
Already an outsider, Suri then had to battle back after Dr ACactivism stormed the stage to tear away her mic for at least 15 seconds during her song storm.
The stage invader, who was taken into police custody, is thought to have shouted: “Modern Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom.”
She managed to avoid the dreaded nil points and achieved an impressive score of 48 for “Storm”.
Sadly, a year afterwards she revealed she was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the Eurovision ordeal.
Lucie Jones – 2017
The Welsh singer was controversially knocked out of The X Factor during a sing-off with lovable scamps John and Edward.
“Never Give Up on You” was a nice song but it’s exactly what Europe did as she finished in 15th place, blaming Brexit for the poor result.
After the disappointment of Eurovision, Lucie went back to musicals and starred as Elle Woods in the UK tour of Legally Blonde.
She also won critical acclaim in the lead role in Waitress last year and was due to return indefinitely after a break before the coronavirus outbreak.
Joe and Jake – 2016
Joe Woolford and Jake Shakeshaft met in 2015 on The Voice and became a duo ready to take on Europe.
The British duo came an unimpressive 24th place with “You’re Not Alone” but stayed together after the contest.
They planned to release lots of songs but their only one follow-up single, “Tongue Tied”, failed to chart in 2017.
In May 2018, the duo seemingly split as Joe joined swing group Jack Pack.
Electro Velvet – 2015
One was an X Factor and The Voice contestant, the other a Mick Jagger impersonator in a Rolling Stones tribute act called The Rolling Clones.
So it came as a massive surprise to everyone that Bianca Nicholas and Alex Clarke failed to take home the trophy.
With just five points for their song “Still in Love with You” they finished in 25th place.
Their debut EP was available to pre-order but was cancelled due to Bianca’s ill-health – and she has gone on to help other people living with cystic fibrosis
Alex alluded that he was making a music video in 2016 and released his debut solo single “Shine On” in 2017.
Molly – 2014
Molly Smitten-Downers, or just Molly as she was known at Eurovision, was strangely among the favourites to win in 2014.
Molly wrote “Children of the Universe” herself and wanted to break down political barriers with her song but she finished in 17th.
The singer performed at Glastonbury in 2014 and released “Rush” with German DJ and producer Zwette in 2015.
Bonnie Tyler – 2013
The Welsh singer was a three-time Grammy and Brit Award nominee before taking part in Eurovision.
Best known for “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, one of the best selling single of all time, Bonnie took part as “great publicity” for her album.
Despite only managing a 19th place finish, Bonnie was glad she took part and enjoyed the experience, amazingly comparing it to the Grammy Awards.
Still performing to this day, Bonnie went on a 22-date tour of Germany and Austria in 2018 and released her 17th studio album last year called “Between the Earth and Stars” before another live tour.
Engelbert Humperdinck – 2012
Humpy was an old school charmer and had made two singles that sold more than a million copies each before heading to Eurovision.
At 76 he was set to become the oldest contestant that had ever performed before he was beaten on the night by the Russian grannies.
With just 12 points he finished second from bottom, proving Europe has no taste.
Despite being well into his 80s, Engelbert is still performing around the world and sang in Singapore, Manila and Tokyo last year.
Blue – 2011
All rise for the musical legends that are Blue.
The chart-topping boys, who have sold 15 million records worldwide, reunited in 2011 to compete at Eurovision with their song “I Can”.
They refused to give up and refused to give in but sadly ended up in 11th place on the leader board.
After taking part they released their fourth studio album before joining The Big Reunion for a series of special gigs across the UK and Ireland.
They headlined their first tour for a decade in 2013 but were dropped by record label Sony in 2015 after poor sales for their fifth album.
Hit with financial difficulties, the lads performed in TV adverts for Ideal Boilers in 2019 and are yet to release another album.
Josh Dubovie – 2010
The cheeky Essex chappy believed he was going to win the contest, which made it awkward when he finished in last place.
Josh said he was ‘still smiling’ after suffering the humiliation of coming bottom with “That Sounds Good To Me”.
After Eurovision he supported local charities and was made a celebrity patron of St. Luke’s Hospice in Basildon.
In 2013 he rebranded as Josh James to get away from the taunts and reputation of Eurovison and moved towards RnB, saying: “I want people to know what I’m doing now”.
Jade Ewen – 2009
Jade was well-placed to make a splash in Europe singing “It’s My Time”, which was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Diane Warren.
Finishing in a very respectable fifth place made her the most successful act since 2002.
Her solo album was put on hold when she joined the Sugababes in September 2009 and replaced Keisha Buchanan.
In 2010 she became the face of Miss Ultimo lingerie and took part in ITV diving show Splash! in 2013.
With the Sugababes “pretty much done”, Jade turned to the stage, with her most notable role as Princess Jasmine in Aladdin.
Andy Abraham – 2008
Andy was famously runner-up to Shayne Ward on The X Factor in 2005 in one of the tightest public votes the show has ever seen.
So it must have been a bit of a shock to the system when he finished in joint last place at Eurovision with “Even If”.
After doing variety shows across the country, the singer hosted his own show An Evening with Andy Abraham.
In 2015 he was on the stage as both Judas and John the Baptist in the musical Godspell – with his successor Jade also in the same show.
Scooch – 2007
Scooch were literally “Flying the Flag” for the UK when they competed with a song of that name in Helsinki.
Despite a disappointing 22nd place finish, they actually managed to score 12 points for the UK, the nation’s first maximum score for five years.
After packing their own bags they decided not to release any new material and most of the band headed to the stage.
Russ Spencer and Caroline Barnes started a relationship in 2010 and were one of the longest lasting couples on the fourth series of Coach Trip.
While Natalie Powers and David Ducasse are both principals at different performing arts schools.
Daz Sampson – 2006
Daz had four women, The Sampsonites, alongside him dressed as schoolgirls for his performance of “Teenage Life”.
The rapper finished down the table in 19th but got the highest viewing figures in the country in Eurovision history.
After starting his own record company, Daz returned to a career in radio and then changed direction to become a hypnotist to “make the world become a happier and a healthier place”.
He then returned to his football roots and took charge of a semi-pro club in the third level of Polish football.
The former rapper also managed a side in the Pacific Ocean and Florida before becoming the north west of England scout for Scottish Championship side Ayr United in 2016.
Javine Hylton – 2005
Javine famously missed out on joining the girls group in Popstars: The Rivals – and could have been part of Girls Aloud.
She had a wardrobe malfunction during her performance to become the UK’s entrant, but still managed to beat Katie Price to the gig.
Javine reportedly suffered a throat infection before singing “Touch My Fire” in Kiev and finished in 16th place.
The singer went on to appear in Skins, win Channel 4 sports show The Games in 2006, Come Dine With Me in 2010 and Celebrity Masterchef in the same year.
She is now the face of her own sports and fitness brand – Javine Total Fitness.
James Fox – 2004
The Welsh singer, who came fifth in BBC’s Fame Academy in 2003, was a relative unknown when he took to the big European stage.
“Hold Onto Our Love” didn’t hold onto many points as he finished in 16th place – but he was invited to sing the song in the House of Commons and Welsh Assembly.
He turned to the stage and toured in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar as Judas, before making his Broadway debut in Movin’ Out in 2005.
In 2012 he took on the starring role of Paul McCartney in the Beatles musical Let It Be.
Jemini – 2003
The Liverpudlian pop duo were the first ever UK contestants to finish in last place – and to make it even worse they got the dreaded zero points.
“Cry Baby” was what the entire nation was doing after their Eurovision flop and they were dropped by their record label.
Chris Cromby and Gemma Abbey accepted they were off-key but blamed not being able to hear the backing track.
After their failure in Europe they split up but have since come back together for special Eurovision shows and for a special edition of Pointless in 2014.
Which is pretty ironic considering how many points they got at Eurovision.
Best of the rest
Katrina and the Waves – 1997
Katrina and the Waves were “Walking on Sunshine” and achieved international success way before Eurovision came along.
But they had tough times and had basically vanished before they rose like a phoenix to win the singing contest in 1997.
“Love Shine a Light” won by a then-record 70 point margin and became their biggest ever UK hit.
But they split up in 1998 when lead singer Katrina Leskanich left after several rows – and caused a stir when she was spotted kissing comedian Caroline Aherne at a Sony Awards dinner.
The three remaining members dissolved in 1999 and went on to pursue fairly uneventful solo careers.
Michael Ball – 1992
The West End star was already a chart-topper when he competed for the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Michael finished agonisingly close to first in second place with “One Step Out of Time”.
The two-time Laurence Olivier Award winner went on to appear in Les Misérables and won awards for his performances in Hairspray and Sweeney Todd.
He landed his own TV show and released a host of gold-selling albums – getting an OBE for services to musical theatre in 2015.
As well as covering on The One Show and Lorraine, he has fronted three ITV shows with good pal Alfie Boe.
Most recently, Michael got to number one with his cover of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with the heroic Captain Tom Moore.
Their charity song was a massive hit and raised valuable money for the deserving NHS amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Samantha Janus/Womack – 1991
That’s right, Ronnie Mitchell competed for the UK at Eurovision.
Sam Womack was destined for a pop career before she finished in tenth place with her song “A Message to Your Heart”.
She has since slammed her “ridiculous” appearance and quickly moved on into acting on TV shows such as The Bill and played Sandy in the West End version of Grease.
But her big break came when she took on the role of Ronnie in EastEnders in May 2007 and became an Albert Square icon.
Sam was controversially killed off on New Year’s Day in 2017 alongside on-screen sister Rita Simons.
Since the she has been back in the theatre in South Pacific and on TV in Mount Pleasant and Silent Witness.
Bucks Fizz – 1981
Bobby G, Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston, better known as Bucks Fizz, claimed victory at the 1981 competition.
The group formed just for the contest and had Europe on their feet for “Making Your Mind Up” – with the skirt-ripping to reveal shorter mini-skirts underneath going down a treat.
Their Eurovision song was one of three number one singles they released as they became one of the top-selling groups in the 80s.
However, they were never able to replicate their success in America and went on to have creative differences.
There was a horrifying coach crash involving their tour bus after a gig in Newcastle in 1974 which resulted in Mike being in a three-day coma after dying on the operating table.
Mike developed epilepsy, short-term memory loss and lost 50% of his vision in both eyes, while Cheryl broke three vertebrae in her spine and Jay had back injuries.
Jay quit the band in 1985 and was sued for breach of contract before being replaced by Shelley Preston.
There was a messy break-up and two versions of the group were formed, leading to a heated legal battle over the rights to perform under the band’s name.
Cheryl, Mike Nolan and Jay have since reunited under the name The Fizz and are still releasing music.
Brotherhood of Man – 1976
“Save Your Kisses for Me” has become an all-time classic and propelled Brotherhood of Man to Eurovision glory in 1976.
The hit song took an overwhelming victory and sold six million copies across the globe – meaning it’s still the highest selling Eurovision winner ever.
They achieved three number one singles and have worldwide sales of more than 15 million records.
After their status declined in the 80s, Tony Hiller set up his own record company and Lee Sheriden left the group to study for a degree in music.
They formally split in 1984 but have reunited over the years for a few notable special appearances.
Olivia Newton-John – 1974
Olivia had already released a number of albums when she represented the UK in Brighton with “long Live Love”.
She finished in second place after being beaten by ABBA and “Waterloo” in a tough year.
Her career went from strength to strength and she took on her most famous role, Sandy in the film adaptation of Grease, in 1978.
As well as being a box-office hit, the soundtrack to the film was at number one for 12 weeks and gave Olivia a number of high charting singles.
She has won four Grammys and has become one of the best-selling female artists of all time with an estimated 100 million records sold worldwide.
Olivia has openly talked about her health issues and has battled breast cancer three times – becoming involved with many charities.
Lulu – 1969
Scottish songstress Lulu had a bizarre win in 1969 with a a four-way tie with France, Spain and the Netherlands with “Boom Bang-a-bang”.
Because of the strange split decision, the rules of the contest were changed for future years to prevent it happening again.
She became an international sensation with the hit song from film “To Sir with Love” and the theme for Bond flick The Man with the Golden Gun.
Lulu hosted a long-running Capital Radio show in the 80s and cheekily won Rear of the Year in 1983.
Her singing talents weren’t reflected in her footwork as she was fifth to exit with Brendan Cole on Strictly Come Dancing 2017.
In 2014 she opened the Glasgow Commonwealth Games closing ceremony and returned to the West End in 2018.
Cliff Richard – 1968 and 73
One of the biggest names to feature, Sir Cliff is a British icon with a career spanning six decades.
His classic hit “Congratulations” was beaten into first place by just one point – and runner-up Cliff was so nervous he locked himself in the toilet during voting.
The year was marred by controversy as reports claimed Spanish dictator Franco fixed the result, so voting by national juries was changed to eliminate the risk of cheating.
He was back on the Eurovision stage in 1973 with “Power to All Our Friends” and finished in third place.
Cliff went on to sell more than 250 millions records worldwide and is the third-top selling artist in the UK Singles Chart behind Elvis and the Beatles.
He was the first rockstar to be Knighted in 1995, but despite his success has criticised record bales and radio stations for not playing his music.
In August 2014 his home was searched as part of Operation Yewtree over allegations of historical sexual abuse, but he strongly denied any allegations and was never arrested.
He now lives in the US and has been granted citizenship of Barbados.
Sandie Shaw – 1967
Finally we have reached the very first UK winner of the Eurovision Song Contest.
She had three UK number one singles, one of which was the song “Puppet on a String” which she sang in Vienna.
Despite her reservations about destroying her credibility and not liking the song, she won by a near-record points total.
She said: “I hated it from the very first oompah to the final bang on the big bass drum.”
After her success in Europe, Sandie started her own fashion label and hosted her own TV show.
During a 2010 Loose Women appearance, she claimed Eurovision was bad when she performed and is even worse now.
Sandie received an MBE in 2017 for her services to music.
Kathy Kirby – 1965
Reportedly the highest paid singer of her generation, Kathy Kirby was often compared to Marilyn Monroe in appearance.
Her cover version of Doris Day’s “Secret” enjoyed chart success and she took second place at the song contest with “I Belong”.
But her next few songs did not belong in the charts and she sprouted out into making TV apperances.
Her singing career was taken over by her personal life in the 70s after the death of her manager and lover Bert Ambrose.
In a 2009 interview she claimed to have had an affair with national icon Sir Bruce Forsyth during that time.
After going bankrupt in 1971, she was sent to St Luke’s psychiatric hospital in London in 1979 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
When she was discharged she moved in with a female fan, Laraine McKay, who she intended to marry before McKay was sent to prison for forgery and fraud.
Kirby retired from showbusiness in 1983 after a last concert in Blackpool and passed away after a heart attack in May 2011.
Ronnie Carroll – 1962 and 63
The Northern Irish singer is the only person to represent the UK for two successive years.
The Arsenal of Eurovision, Ronnie finished in fourth place in both years with songs “Girl with a Curl” and “Ring-a-Ding-Girl”.
Ronnie sure loved singing about girls, but work soon dried up and he started working on luxury cruise ships.
He played a pop musician named, you guessed it, Ronnie, in 1963 film Blind Corner and had a comeback album in 2005.
But Ronnie’s career took a major change of course when he stepped in politics and stood for his home seat of Hampstead and Highgate in the 1997 General Election for the Rainbow Alliance party.
His plan to enter the record books by receiving no votes in the 2008 Haltemprice and Howden by-election backfired when he got 29 votes.
And he stood under the name ‘The Eurovisonary Carroll in the 2015 election in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency, sadly dying just four days after the polls closed.
The Allisons – 1961
Bizarrely, the Alisons were made up of two people who were not related and didn’t have that name.
Brian Alford and Colin Day were marketed as brothers, John and Bob, who shared the surname Allison.
“Are You Sure?” might have been what everyone was thinking, but it was also the name of their song for Eurovision.
After finishing in second place their song became a hit and sold over one million records.
The duo broke up in 1964 after a few minor hits but kept the Allisons name alive and were joined by other “brothers” Mike and Tony in the 70s and 80s.
Bob sadly passed away in November 2013 after a long illness – a year after their last public performance together.
Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson – 1959
The married couple were both very successful singers in their own right before they tied the knot.
After the UK sat out for a year, they united to represent us with their tune “Sing, Little Birdie”.
But the pair did not realise that they would have to go and compete against the rest of Europe in Cannes after winning the representation.
Despite their lack of Eurovision knowledge, they achieved a very respectable second place.
After failing to be selected to represent the UK the following year, more on that later, they released another single.
After starring on This Is Your Life, the pair appeared together in a West End revival of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Follies.
They lived out their remaining years in Brinsworth House, a home for retired entertainers, until they passed away.
Teddy sadly died in June 2018, aged 98, while Pearl passed away in February this year, also aged 98.
Patricia Bredin – 1957
After skipping out the first year the UK set foot into the Eurovision Song Contest in 1957.
But her time on the stage in Frankfurt was not long as at one minute and 52 seconds her song “All” remains the shortest in UK history.
The actress, from Hull, gave up singing after finishing in seventh place out of the ten entries.
Patricia went into acting and appeared in period adventure The Treasure of Monte Cristo and Desert Mice with Sid James.
In 1962 she took on the role of Guenevere in a Broadway production of Camelot, taking over from Julie Andrews.
And in a 2016 interview, Patricia admitted she didn’t even know what TV was when she was approached to sing on it for Eurovision.
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