BBC scraps giving people public a vote for European song contest entry

PUBLISHED: 21:08 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 21:13 18 September 2019

Supporters wave flags ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest. Photograph: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images.

Supporters wave flags ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest. Photograph: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images.

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The BBC has scrapped the public vote used to select the UK's Eurovision Song Contest entry, instead opting to give a record label the final say.

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It means there will be no Eurovision: You Decide, which has run since 2016.

Instead, the international music company BMG will select which act and song represent the UK in Rotterdam, Netherlands, next year.

The decision is part of a drive by the BBC to boost the UK's fortunes at the event after years of disappointment.

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This May saw Hartlepool-born Michael Rice finish 26th in Tel Aviv, Israel, putting the UK at the bottom of the table for the first time since 2010.

BMG, which will also release the UK's Eurovision song, is no stranger to success at the contest, publishing the 2015 winning entry for Sweden, Heroes, sung by Mans Zelmerlow, and signing Israeli singer Netta following her win in 2018.

It also counts Lewis Capaldi's chart-topping Someone You Loved, George Ezra's Shotgun and I'll Be There by Jess Glynne among its worldwide hits.

Kate Phillips, controller of entertainment commissioning at the BBC, said: "Our commitment to finding the right song has never been higher and this collaboration with BMG, who have access to world class songwriters, is a genuinely exciting prospect and I am certain that together we can find the best song and artist possible for 2020."

The Netherlands won the right to host the 65th edition of the festival when Dutch singer Duncan Laurence won this year's event in Tel Aviv with his doleful piano ballad Arcade.

Laurence was the first Dutch act to win the European musical extravaganza since Teach-In's 1975 triumph with Ding-A-Dong.

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