It all comes down to Humperdinck

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

BRI­TAIN’S

Euro­vi­sion Song Con­test:

hopes of end­ing its dis­mal run at the Euro­vi­sion Song Con­test rest with En­gel­bert Humperdinck, 76, whose last hit was in the 1970s – but the choice could prove to be in­spired. De­spite Bri­tain’s rich pop­u­lar mu­sic her­itage, in re­cent years it has de­vel­oped an un­en­vi­able habit of scor­ing ‘‘nul points’’ from Euro­vi­sion vot­ers and usu­ally places to­wards the lower reaches of the final score­board. Se­lec­tors hope Humperdinck (pic­tured), one of a hand­ful of sep­tu­a­ge­nar­i­ans com­pet­ing in the 2012 con­test, will claim the crown for Bri­tain for the first time since Ka­t­rina and The Waves won in 1997. In fact, Humperdinck isn’t the old­est per­former at the con­test, the fi­nals of which screen on SBS this week­end from Azer­bai­jan. That hon­our goes to a Rus­sian woman a few months his se­nior. Humperdinck ad­mits he ‘‘wasn’t re­ally into watch­ing the whole thing’’ un­til he was se­lected to rep­re­sent Bri­tain. ‘‘I just watched lit­tle bits and pieces,’’ he says. ‘‘But this time I am be­cause the BBC asked me to be in­volved in it and it seems that the peo­ple of the UK have taken it more se­ri­ously.’’ Fans of the per­former, who has sold more than 150 mil­lion al­bums world­wide, are now pre­dom­i­nantly sil­ver-haired – un­sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing his last hit was Too Beau­ti­ful To Last in 1972. His big­gest suc­cess came in 1967 with Re­lease Me, which beat The Bea­tles’ Straw­berry Fields For­ever to No. 1 on Bri­tain’s sin­gles chart. ‘‘With my ex­pe­ri­ence and the amount of coun­tries I vis­ited in Europe, I can bring this home,’’ Humperdinck says. ‘‘I play these coun­tries fre­quently and I hope I have scored some points with them.’’ Bri­tain has won Euro­vi­sion five times, but only once in the past 30 years. Humperdinck will take view­ers on a ro­man­tic jour­ney with his song Love Will Set You Free. ‘‘I think it has a great chance,’’ he says.

Semi-fi­nals Fri­day, Satur­day, 8.30pm; Final Sun­day, 6.30pm, SBS ONE.

Is Brit­ney the X-wreck fac­tor?

The X Fac­tor Amer­i­can judges (from left) L.A. Reid, Demi Lo­vato, Si­mon Cow­ell and Brit­ney Spears.

BRIT­NEY Spears and Demi Lo­vato are bring­ing their star power to US net­work Fox’s The X Fac­tor. The net­work has of­fi­cially an­nounced what had been a poorly kept se­cret, that Spears will join Si­mon Cow­ell’s mu­sic com­pe­ti­tion for its sec­ond sea­son.

Spears, wear­ing a white minidress, came on­stage at Fox’s New York up­front pre­sen­ta­tion with Cow­ell, Lo­vato and the re­main­ing judge, L.A. Reid.

Spears says she is ‘‘so ex­cited about the whole ex­pe­ri­ence’’ and that it will be dif­fer­ent from any­thing she’s ever done.

How­ever, Howard Stern has crit­i­cised Cow­ell’s decision to hire Spears, say­ing he fears the frag­ile star will be a ‘‘train wreck’’ on the show.

Cow­ell is ru­moured to have signed Spears for a re­ported $US15 mil­lion ($A14.96 mil­lion) deal and his Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent star Stern is al­ready an­gry about the singer’s ap­point­ment.

Stern is wor­ried Spears, who fa­mously suf­fered nu­mer­ous public melt­downs, won’t be able to take the pres­sure of such a high-pro­file TV role and will have lit­tle to con­trib­ute.

‘‘Brit­ney still thinks the Earth is flat,’’ he tells Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood.

‘‘Lis­ten, I think we’re go­ing to tune in to see her, if she can sort of func­tion through the thing. As far as any real crit­i­cism, I think Si­mon and (fel­low judge) LA Reid will be do­ing that. I think Brit­ney is go­ing to stand there and eat a lol­lipop and wear a sexy out­fit.

‘‘I don’t an­tic­i­pate great opin­ions out of her. I think she’s go­ing to sit there like J Lo ( Amer­i­can Idol judge Jen­nifer Lopez) and say, ‘Oh, you’re won­der­ful. You’re ter­rific. Do you think I could get a per­fume en­dorse­ment out of this? You think I could per­form on the show?’ I think that’s what it’s about . . . So I’ll tune in to see what kind of train wreck she is, ab­so­lutely.’’

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