Sophie Ellis-Bextor Reveals Bizarre Eurovision Rules That Led To Her Saying No To Judging Role

“Eurovision has very much got its rules… it’s kooky.”
Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Lorne Thomson via Getty Images

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has revealed the “kooky” Eurovision rules that led to her turning down the offer to judge the annual song contest.

The singer was approached to be part of the 2019 judging panel but decided not to participate because of two specific rules.

Speaking to Radio Times, Sophie said that due to the success of her hit song Murder On The Dancefloor – which was the most played track in Europe in 2002 – she had a “conversation” about becoming a competition judge.

“I had a very small baby that I was still feeding, and they wouldn’t let me bring it along,” she said.

She then joked: “I’m pretty sure the baby would have been impartial but, you know what, I think part of what I like about Eurovision is that it has very much got its rules… it’s kooky.”

As well as the apparent “no babies” rule, Sophie also revealed that the judges have to remain silent throughout the judging process.

Sophie Ellis Bextor
Sophie Ellis Bextor
Samir Hussein via Getty Images

“We weren’t going to be allowed to speak while we were watching it either,” she revealed. “And I thought, ‘I can’t watch Eurovision in silence’.”

Sophie added that Eurovision had always been a part of her life since she was “tiny” and watched the programme with her parents as a child.

“My parents always watched Eurovision and I remember watching it during the 80s when I was in single digits and being pretty fascinated by what I saw,” she said.

She added that the “political undertones” to Eurovision, and Britain’s famous lack of success in recent years, was “part of the fun”.

“We should probably brace ourselves for another ‘nul points’ score,” she said. “There have always been political undertones (to the voting), which again, is part of the fun. We quite enjoy that, I think.

“It’s part of the reason Britain treats it in an almost ironic way, and I don’t think it will ever lose that, but some of the songs that are good can have a life outside of Eurovision and be treated as legitimate hits.”

This year’s contest will be held in Turin, Italy and will see 32-year-old TikTok star Sam Ryder representing the UK with his song Space Man.

Despite Sophie’s reservations about our chances of success, Sam is currently the bookies second favourite to win.

According to Oddschecker – who compare betting odds from around 25 of the UK’s bookies – Sam has overtaken the representatives for both Italy and Sweden, and is now second favourite to win Eurovision on behalf of the UK for the first time in 25 years.

Ukraine is still the firm favourite, where they’ll be represented by Kalush Orchestra with their song Stefania.

The Eurovision final airs on Saturday at 8pm on BBC One, BBC Radio 2 and BBC iPlayer.

Read the full interview with Sophie Ellis-Bextor in this week’s Radio Times, out now.

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