03/07/2012 06:08 BST

Andrew Lloyd Webber Blames Eurovision Song Contest Failure On 'Racism'

Andrew Lloyd Webber has blamed the UK's poor record at the Eurovision Song Contest on racism.

The star, 64, spoke out after a string of disappointments in recent years for UK acts including Javine Hylton, Andy Abraham, Jade Ewen and boyband Blue.

The impresario co-wrote the song performed by Ewen, who came fifth in 2009.


Engelbert Humperdinck failed to shine at this year's Eurovision Song Contest

Asked what he thought about Britain's record, Lloyd Webber told the Radio Times: "I don't think there's any point beating around the bush.

"I'll put it to you by asking you a question. 'Did you see the Eurovision Song Contest this year? (when Engelbert Humperdinck narrowly avoided coming last).

"If you had seen it, you might have noticed one thing - I don't think there was one black face on the programme."

He said: "At the press conference in Moscow (in 2009), I was asked, 'Why have you brought a black artist?'

"I said, 'Because she is the most talented artist that we had and I think she's a major, major star.' I think we would have come second but there's a problem when you go further east..."

Asked whether he was saying that racism was the reason that Britain did not win, he said: "Well, it doesn't mean that we would necessarily have won that year but we could have come second.

"If you're talking about Western Europe - Germany, fine; France, fine; Spain, fine; Greece, fine; Scandinavian countries, fine. But Ukraine? Not so good."


Ewen, of the Sugababes, was Lord Lloyd Webber's choice to sing in 2009

The impresario, who previously worked on BBC shows like How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, also admitted in the interview that he was not a fan of BBC1 show The Voice.

"I don't know what the problem was there. Everyone was out of tune all the time. I just couldn't watch it," he said.

"Unfortunately, I have perfect pitch - it's either one of the great advantages or the greatest affliction in life. When people sing out of tune, I just can't listen."

Lloyd Webber, who is set to find the lead for Jesus Christ Superstar in a new ITV1 show, Superstar, also told the magazine he had been given the all-clear after being treated for prostate cancer.

"I mean, they actually told me not to bother coming back," he said.

Eurovision's 26 finalists here... is Andrew Lloyd Webber right?

Eurovision finalists