“If the country wanted me to represent them, then I’d happily fly the flag,” Rylan Clark told Metro yesterday. He was talking, of course, about the Eurovision Song Contest – and in doing so, this year’s X Factor joke contestant has identified the logical next step – indeed, the only possible next step – in his music career.
Comedy contestants took hold on The X Factor in 2009, when the public kept Jedward in long after it became apparent that they could barely organise themselves to stand facing the audience.
Jedward themselves know their natural place: they’ve entered the Eurovision Song Contest twice, in 2011 and 2012. But other joke acts in the post-Jedwardian era haven’t twigged that Eurovision is the way to extend their 15 minutes of fame.
Wagner Carrilho should have been on Eurovision. Johnny Robinson should have been on Eurovision. Rylan Clark must, must be on Eurovision.
All these performers are bad singers, but are brilliant at turning their performances into high-camp, low-impact events that are more fun to anticipate than they are to watch. Rylan would be the perfect UK Eurovision contestant: hilarious in the pre-match interviews and well worth a giggle as he storms the stage in Malmo dressed as a mutant ostrich.
Rylan would repel continental Europe, where Eurovision is taken seriously and where block voting gives the UK only a very slim chance of winning anyway. But as a nation, we lose interest in Eurovision about halfway through the results, so this doesn’t matter.
Automatically entering last year’s comedy X Factor contestant in Eurovision solves several problems at once. It would remove the temptation to have a horrific televised selection process, such as Your Country Needs You, the 2010 entertainment black hole that begat Josh Dubovie, who came last in Oslo.
It would also give The X Factor a more lasting relevance for people who watch the show, but have no interest in the pop charts or buying the artists’ post-show albums – which increasingly seems to be almost everyone who watches The X Factor.
Most crucially, it would safeguard us from the ignominy and expense of winning the competition and having to host it the following year. Just this week, cash-strapped Poland and Portugal withdrew from next year’s contest for just this reason. Remote as our chances are, we could still win Eurovision with a great song and a solid vocal. Entering a bearded hatstand with all the vocal power of a hummingbird would be a fun way to make sure this doesn’t happen.