Engelbert Humperdinck for the United Kingdom!

As we approach the end of the Eurovision Preseason, the BBC had been eerily silent on their process for Baku.  As other countries held national finals, made internal picks, or at the very least announced plans, the United Kingdom put itself on complete informational lockdown.  Rumors floated about, ranging from Adele to Right Said Fred to the Spice Girls, and just about everyone in between.  Jaws dropped today, however, when it was announced that veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck would be taking the stage in Baku.

Humperdinck (birth name: Arnold George “Gerry” Dorsey, born in Chennai, India), who will be 76 when he heads to Azerbaijan, has been recording since 1958 (so, if you’re keeping track, the same year that André Claveau won the ESC with “Dors, Mon Amour“, and “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu” took the bronze).  He hasn’t stopped performing, recording, or touring, and keeps an active international schedule (his time at Eurovision conveniently fits in a hole in his busy schedule…he’ll be in Canada just beforehand, and has a show in Santiago, Chile soon afterwards).  “Release Me”, arguably his biggest hit, stayed on the British Singles chart for over a year:

His song hasn’t been released quite yet, but it seems that it will be written by Sacha Skarbek and Martin Terefe, who have written and produced hits for James Blunt, Adele, Jazon Mraz, Train, and Lana Del Rey, among others.

Finally, I can’t post this article without sharing the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news about Engelbert…a bit from Eddie Izzard’s 1998 comedy special “Dress to Kill:

What do you think of the UK’s choice?  Was the BBC’s stonewall-silence on their choice a great way to drum up interest, or was it bothersome?  What are your hopes and expectations from the British Delegation in Baku?  If there was ever a time that I’d ache to hear your comments, this is certainly it!

Posted on March 1, '12, in 2012, United Kingdom. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Great post, lots of great information and brilliant song choices! Can’t wait to see what Engelbert has in store for us. I think the UK will surprise 🙂

  2. I was initially shocked by the choice but upon hearing Lesbian Seagull for the first time since my youth I have changed my mind. Here is a singer with a good voice, obvious stage presence, a shit ton of experience and a good sense of humour with a stellar team of songwriters.

    The thing that upsets me most is the agest reactions on social media referring to him as a hasbeen. As far as I’m concerned if you need to take a break in your concert schedule, you’re no hasbeen.

    Lets wait for the song anyway!

    • Samantha Ross

      You make a really great point, Liam…and many of the same people who are up in arms about Humperdinck are the same folks who are chomping at the bit to get the Buranovskiye Babushki to sing for Russia! 😉

  3. Omg…

    *sigh* I suppose it really depends on what the song is… If it’s a pre-millennium song, then it will just be embarrassing, but, if its more modern, then I think he might be able to pull it off.

    This is either going to go really well for us, or it will just continue the humiliation streak…

  4. Sigh… oh the UK. Though fun fact: if I can’t think of a musician’s name in any type of trivia game, my default answer is Engelbert. So at least he has a fun name going for him.

    • Samantha Ross

      Which begs the question: which name is more fun…

      Engelbert Humperdinck or Benedict Cumberbatch?

  5. I have never been a fan of the 60′ and 70′ crooners type of songs unfortunately. I just find them boring, but it is only my musical taste. And I was completely against lys Assia’s last attempt at the Swiss selection. Sorry.

    I am on the opposite very keen on hearing his song for Eurovision as I haven’t yet (I was against Assia’s attempt before but even more after listening to her song): I am really wondering what this kind of singer would be able to sing for this contest.
    I hope it will be interesting as I cannot have any doubt about his stage experience and professionalism at least.

  6. Well, on the plus side, I first heard the news this morning in an email … from an American who doesn’t follow the contest …..

    “So I sing you to sleep … afterrrrrrrrr the lovin’ …..” I’m trying to picture this guy doing well in a music contest in which Jedward is also competing. I can’t. Regardless of the song.

    But there’s a lot I still don’t get about the ESC. It never ceases to amaze though.

    • Samantha Ross

      Interesting to think that this man has probably been recording music for longer than Jedward’s parents have been alive. Experience isn’t the issue, and neither is talent (even now, the man fills arenas worldwide and can belt out “My Way” with the best of them). I think the BBC’s biggest gamble is seeing if the Humperdinck fanbase actually watches and votes in the ESC.

      • I think I’m going to start a musical group called Humperdinck Fanbase ….

      • Samantha Ross

        …it kind of sounds like it would also be a good name for a spy novel… 😉

  7. Undeniabley the most WTAF moment of the ESC season so far – agreed? 😛
    I honestly feel ashamed to be British. I have no doubts this is going to bomb – although I will pretend to be reserving judgement until the song is released – I aint hoping for much.
    Is it just me that sees this as the BBC seeking a crap result so they have an excuse to withdraw!!??

  8. Good God! The BBC is sending a dinosaur to Baku!
    This might’ve worked in the early ’70s. It’s 40 odd years too late, I’m afraid!

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