Bonnie Tyler being named the UK's entrant for this year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest represents the third year in a row now that we've elected a 'known' artist to triumphantly lead Britain into Europop battle, after Engelbert Humperdinck last year and Blue the year before. These choices have been as baffling as they have been underwhelming, given that they fly in the face of everything that Eurovision stands for; namely, if you can't win, do your utmost to out-weird your European cousins in a veritable orgy of gaudy colours and God awful music.
As admirable as the UK's desire to give former stars a last hurrah is, Humperdinck's dismal second-to-last placing in last year's competition showed that the rest of the continent aren't in the business of giving points for respecting our elders, and who can blame them? Honestly, if you were from, say, Azerbaijan, and were faced with a choice between an old crooner's send off and Greece taking spam viagra adverts to their natural-yet-bombastic conclusion, or Russia rounding up a bevy of "Babushki" as their answer to the Pussycat Dolls, which would you go for?
I'm not having a go at Bonnie, I'm really not, but let's face it, the new song she'll be performing is never going to eclipse her former hits (any puns on Total Eclipse of the Heart, answers on a postcard/ in the comments section below), and even if she defies expectations, she's still not going to come close to topping the feast of insanity inevitably served up by the likes of Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the risk of veering into frothing nationalism, we're one of the foremost nations in the world, with one of the biggest economies in Europe. We should be leading the way, particularly as we have form in this kind of thing. Spike Milligan, Monty Python, even The Beatles are bastions of absurdity and surrealism the world over, so why do we insist on putting our dullest, most mundane foot forward for the one night of the year when these traits are held above all others? The irony is so great that I wonder if this all an elaborate ruse concocted by Terry Wogan (the loss of whose acidic commentary has only served to compound just how boring we've become over the last few years).
We seem to be the only country still missing the point - even Ireland got with the times last year by nominating Jedward. Imagine seeing them bound onto the stage with no prior-knowledge of their existence and the sheer terror of realising that Ireland had perfected human cloning and created a cross between Tweedledum and Tweeldum and the twin girls from The Shining. That unique mix of bemusement and fear, not mild entertainment, is exactly what other nationalities should feel when watching your act. If the UK does insist on pursuing the route of well known singers, at least go for someone who can inspire confusion; former-Smiths frontman Morrissey, who was rumoured to be in the running a couple of years back, with his preening, posturing stage persona and vocal warblings, would have been perfect.
With the ever rising prevalence of YouTube and social media, it's never been easier to gawp at the eccentricities of foreign cultures (such as the apparent compulsion of Russian people to drive toward flaming asteroids raining from the sky), meaning there's a good chance that Eurovision's main selling point will become all but redundant within a few years. It'd be a real shame if we didn't deliver one truly worthy candidate to the pantheon of international oddness that is Eurovision before then. To paraphrase Tyler, we're holding out for a hero - and they've got to be strange, they've got to be weird, and they've got to be larger than life.