IT has long been a joke within the music industry – and one I’ve laughed along with – but for the first time Britain actually has a hope at next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
After years of punching below our weight, some serious musical heavyweights are taking on the challenge of spearheading our efforts — with support from A-listers including Dua Lipa and Sir Elton John.
In charge of the campaign will be pop supremos Tap Music management — the team behind the careers of Dua, Ellie Goulding, Lana Del Rey and thriving rising star Dermot Kennedy — after it struck a deal with the BBC to overhaul our approach.
If anyone can do it it’s these guys, who also recently signed Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock and will help to craft her solo projects.
Talent chiefs Ben Mawson and Ed Millett, who run the firm, have already pulled out the big guns, enlisting the help of this week’s chart-toppers Elton and Dua to announce their search for Britain’s Eurovision contender.
We haven’t won the contest since Katrina and The Waves triumphed 25 years ago.
Dua said: “I’m a proud Brit whilst also being a proud Kosovan. I’m happy to lend my manager to the cause. I’ll be cheering them on!”
Elton added: “There aren’t many televised events that are as big and global as Eurovision, so it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to remind the world yet again of the depth and diversity of our talent. I can’t wait to see what gems our friends at Tap Music will unearth.”
I’m told the team have already got Radio 1’s head honchos on board as they bid to reach a younger audience and reinvigorate the excitement around Eurovision. The competition remains a huge draw across the continent, where it is taken seriously, but has lost some of its appeal in the UK.
But as Spice Girls star Mel C puts it: “The Brits make fantastic pop music. Not only that, we invented it!
“Isn’t it about time we started showing the rest of Europe what we can do and put our best foot forward when it comes to Eurovision?”
And Tap co-founder Ben insisted now is the time to stop blaming political voting for the UK’s poor performance — after James Newman finished bottom of the leaderboard earlier this year.
Ben said: “We’re really excited to be teaming up with the BBC for this event and will use Eurovision to authentically reflect and celebrate the rich, diverse and world-class musical talent the UK is globally renowned for.
“For many years, we’ve witnessed the United Kingdom not doing as well as we would have liked, when pop music is something we usually excel at.
“The simple fact is it’s time to show what we can do and reveal the wonderful musical talent we have. Ultimately we can’t blame politics.”
May’s event in Rotterdam was watched by an audience of 183million, making it the world’s biggest live music event — and the perfect place to launch a new star.
Next year’s competition will be held on May 14 in Turin, Italy, after Italian rockers Maneskin were crowned the champions earlier this year. They have bucked the curse of Eurovision winners by launching a glittering career off the back of it and scoring a string of hits here and in the US.
The band played a secret gig at London’s O2 Academy Islington last night ahead of their show at the O2 Academy Brixton next February, which sold out in minutes.
With the best in the business behind next year’s entry, I have every faith our contender will be even more successful.
Billie's new business venture
BILLIE Eilish is gearing up to make a fortune from the fragrance industry – following in the footsteps of Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, who have made millions from scent.
The Happier Than Ever singer, who sang the theme for the new Bond film No Time To Die, has announced her “debut” fragrance called Eilish will be released in the coming weeks in time for Christmas.
But there is clearly a lot more to come from her new venture as she has also launched a website, billieeilishfragrances.com, and social media accounts for her scents.
Perfumes are one of the most lucrative money-makers for celebrities so she will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Ed's sauce of shame
THERE are plenty of superstars with shady histories but Ed Sheeran’s criminal past isn’t quite as dark – although it is somewhat spicy.
The Shivers singer confessed to one count of historic robbery and has issued a grovelling apology – after nicking a bottle of Nando’s sauce before he hit the big time.
Ed explained: “When I was on the circuit, they didn’t sell Nando’s sauce in the supermarket. The only way you could get it was to steal it.
“I remember bumping into my cousin straight afterwards – and it’s the only thing I’ve ever stolen in my life. I was really shaky afterwards.
“He was like, ‘Why are you so shaky?’, and I was like, ‘I’ve just stolen a bottle of Nando’s sauce’. So Nando’s, I’m sorry I took a bottle of sauce from Dalston (London) Nando’s.”
While he avoided being caught back then, Ed revealed how he was dealt a blow by karma not long after the theft.
He said on the Off Menu podcast: “This is how the universe got me back.
“I went on a Tube to a gig, and the bottle had smashed in my bag all over my loop pedal, my equipment and everything.
“Instant karma. For like a year my loop station smelt of Nando’s. It was like a constant reminder.”
To be honest, I can think of much worse smells.
Be-ware of Kylie
KYLIE Minogue is about to release a new version of her 2020 album Disco – and there is no downtime for the hard-working Aussie ahead of her move back to Australia.
I can reveal she spent the early hours of Tuesday morning shooting a music video for her upcoming single Kiss Of Life with Jessie Ware– the last clip she will shoot in London before she relocates to Melbourne.
An insider told me: “It was an early start but both Kylie and Jessie were on top form.
“The video is very high fashion in terms of the look, and the track itself is a disco smash like the rest of the album.
“They have wanted to work together for a while so it went like a dream.”
The video is expected to be released next month, and Kylie has also recently shot videos for collaborations with Years & Years and Gloria Gaynor.
All three collaborations will feature on Disco: Guest List Edition which will be out on November 12 – putting her up against records from Little Mix, Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars’ new project Silk Sonic.