Engelbert Humperdinck has been chosen to represent the United Kingdom at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The 75-year-old crooner, known for songs including Release Me and Up, Up and Away, has two British number ones to his name, and was popular around the world during the 1960s and ’70s.
He will become Eurovision’s oldest ever entrant when he performs at the age of 76 on 26 May.
Humperdinck will sing a song written by Grammy award-winning producer Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello winner Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote James Blunt hit You’re Beautiful.
After relative failures in recent years for younger British acts – such as last year’s entrants Blue, who came 11th – at least one commentator thinks the move could be a tactical master stroke.
Industry expert Paul Gambaccini called the decision to use Humperdinck a “coup” of “fantastic imagination” and said it was a tactical decision that could win Britain the “geezer vote”.
“It’s the most brilliant stroke since we last won with Katrina and the Waves [in 1997],” said Gambaccini.
“There are so many countries in the Eurovision Song Contest now that the vote for trendy young artists will be fragmented. Why not have one geezer? And that way you’ll get the geezer vote.”
Gambaccini even suggested that younger viewers might vote for Humperdinck based on his cult status.
“You might even get the hip young vote who are attracted to Engelbert Humperdinck for things like the fact that he sang the song Lesbian Seagull in the movie Beavis and Butthead do America,” Gambaccini told Radio 4.
Humperdinck, born Arnold Dorsey, is named after a 19th century German composer.