Will the UK still compete in Eurovision after Brexit?
The UK is expected to leave the European Union on 29th March – but does that mean it has to pull out of the Eurovision Song Contest, too?
From the spectacularly cheesy music to the downright bizarre staging, the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 is set to be one of the best nights of entertainment this year. But will it be one that the UK can take part in?
Of course, we’re talking about the UK’s imminent withdrawal from the European Union, currently scheduled for 29th March 2019 – less than two months ahead of the Eurovision final on 18th May. Will Brexit mean the country won’t be able to compete in this or future competitions?
- Who will be the UK’s entry at Eurovision 2019?
- Everything you need to know about the Eurovision Song Contest 2019
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Here’s everything you need to know…
Will the UK still be in Eurovision after Brexit?
Abso-bloody-yes! EU Membership has nothing to do with Eurovision.
To compete in the contest, a country just needs one of its broadcasters to be a member of the European Broadcasting Union, which the BBC is and will continue to be after Brexit.
“The BBC is a Member of the European Broadcasting Union [which organises the Eurovision Song Contest] and is, and will remain, eligible to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. Just like many broadcasters from countries that are not a member of the European Union,” confirmed the EBU in a statement the day after the Brexit vote.
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Plus, because the BBC is one of the biggest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, we automatically get to the final. Other members of the “big five” – France, Germany, Italy and Spain – also skip the semis each year.
Plenty of non-EU European countries including Norway, Russia and Macedonia are also members of the European Broadcasting Union. Even Vatican City – the tiny country and Catholic HQ within Rome – is a member of the EBU and could compete in the contest if it wished (despite this opportunity to live out a real-life Sister Act, they've never wanted to).
And remember, plenty of countries outside Europe compete in the competition, including Australia. And this year’s contest doesn’t even take place in Europe – as it’s hosted in Tel Aviv, Israel, it will technically be in Asia.
Who will sing for the UK at Eurovision 2019?
The UK will reveal its Eurovision entry during Eurovision: You Decide 2019, airing 7.30pm, 8th February 2019. Find out more about the show and its six contestants here.
Will Brexit affect how the UK does at this year's Eurovision Song Contest?
Don’t cross your fingers too tightly this year: although never too popular with European voters, the UK hasn't collected many points since the Brexit vote.
For instance, 2018 entrant SuRie finish 24th in the final, despite admirably recovering from a stage invasion mid-performance.
For context, SuRie finished 161 points behind this door-opening act from Moldova.
It's not looking good, guys.
Eurovision: You Decide 2019 is on 7.30pm, Friday 8th February 2019