Blog: James Newman dismissed Brexit role in Eurovision — claimed ‘UK has lost touch’ – Express

The Eurovision Final kicks off tonight as 25 countries go head to head in a bid to take home the trophy and the honour of hosting the contest next year. Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra are among the finalists who progressed from the first Semi-Final on Tuesday. Coverage of tonight’s event comes live from Turin, Italy, with commentary by Graham Norton on BBC One. The UK’s entry this year is TikTok star Sam Ryder, who will perform his song, ‘Space Man’.

Last year, the UK was represented by James Newman, who had seen his Eurovision dreams thwarted just a year earlier after the 2020 contest was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After the cancellation, the acts were given the opportunity to enter again with a different song.

James entered last year’s competition with his tune, ‘Embers’, but came last after he failed to win a single point.

Ahead of his performance, he discussed the potential impact of Brexit on Eurovision, and claimed the UK had “lost touch” with the song contest.

Speaking to the Daily Record, he said: “I honestly don’t think it’s political.

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“I don’t think people would think of Brexit when they are voting for who they love on stage.

“There’s a lot of controversial people and countries that win.

“I was speaking to Duncan Laurence who won the 2019 Eurovision for the Netherlands.

“They hadn’t won in 44 years and they also thought everyone hated them because they’d never won.

“Doing well in Eurovision is all about showing people you care about Eurovision, care about the song and putting in a really good effort.”

He added: “I think the UK has lost touch with Eurovision over the last few years.

“So, it’s time to show everyone that the UK does care and that we are putting in our best effort.”

James’ unfortunate result marked only the second time in history the UK had failed to win a single point.

In 2020, the star had written the ballad, ‘My Last Breath’, which he intended to sing but instead entered ‘Embers’ the following year – a more upbeat pop number which he hoped would alleviate some of the gloom of the pandemic.

The singer admitted that he thought his Eurovision dreams had come to an end after the contest was cancelled.

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He said: “I thought ‘that’s it. It’s over’. I didn’t think I’d get another chance.”

He added: “I was so invested in it and having such a good time I couldn’t imagine getting to where we are now and seeing people performing and me not being part of it.”

In previous years, the UK has entered older acts to Eurovision such as Blue or Engelbert Humperdinck.

However, with James, who was already a talented songwriter, organisers had hoped his established musical abilities would bring home the Eurovision trophy.

The musician won a single of the year Brit for co-writing Rudimental’s ‘Waiting All Night’ and has collaborated with other huge artists including his brother John Newman and Calvin Harris.

Eurovision Final airs on BBC One tonight from 8pm.

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