INSIDE THE BOX: Eurovision race row: UK acts flopped "because of skin colour"s

Eurovision race row: UK acts flopped 'because of skin colour'
Eurovision acts have experience racism behind the scenesAndrew Lloyd Webber told 'black acts won't win'


23:13 GMT, 21 June 2012



23:13 GMT, 21 June 2012

There’s a disturbing new theory behind the UK’s lack of success in the Eurovision Song Contest – racism.

Senior figures linked to a number of former UK entries have told me they experienced racism behind the scenes and were openly told that acts featuring ethnic minorities would not be supported by many of the voting nations.

Since 2005, UK acts including Javine Hylton, Andy Abraham, Jade Ewen, and boyband Blue have done badly in the contest, despite strong performances.

Fair play Javine Hylton was one UK star who flopped

Fair play Javine Hylton was one UK star who flopped

Now several industry figures are pressing the BBC to cut ties with the competition for good.

One entry tells me: ‘We were told repeatedly when we were touring our song around Europe that we didn’t have a chance because of the race factor.

‘We didn’t believe it at the time. Then on the night our vote was very low in certain countries. Organisers were very open that there is a track record for some nations refusing to cast votes for acts featuring ethnic minorities.

‘We found the entire experience devastating and strongly believe the UK needs to withdraw. It’s a joke.’

Former Eurovision contestant Jade Ewen

Former X Factor contestant Andy Abraham

Jade Ewen, left, and Andy Abraham, right, have both flopped at Eurovision

A manager of another former UK hopeful says: ‘When we returned home and everyone was asking us what went wrong, it didn’t feel right to mention the race factor but it’s well known in the industry the impact it has on votes.’

Even Andrew Lloyd Webber is believed to have been caught up in the Eurovision race debate. He co-wrote the song that Jade Ewen, who has a Jamaican mother, came fifth in 2009.

A member of the UK camp that year adds: ‘Jade won a TV talent show in the UK to perform Andrew’s song. Andrew lobbied for her around the Eurovision countries before the contest. At least once he was asked at a press conference why he had “cast a black girl” because it meant he could never win.

‘He was so shocked, he had to ask several times for a translator to repeat the question.’

This week, pop flop Sophie Ellis Bextor ruled herself out of being our next Eurovision entry, and song contest sources pointed out the UK has struggled with all-white acts Scooch and Josh Dubovie in recent years — and TV ratings have stayed stable, despite the results.

A Beeb spokesman said: ‘The BBC is committed to Eurovision and has no evidence of any racism around the event.’

TV bosses chase a real class act
Myleene is at the top of every TV boss's wish-list

Myleene is at the top of every TV boss's wish-list

Myleene Klass is at the top of the presenting wish-lists of BBC and ITV bosses — but she’s not taking on any new work after her marriage split.

My source says: ‘Myleene is hot property. Everyone wants to get her for a big show. She’s always been popular with broadcasters.’

But after Myleene’s husband Graham Quinn walked out on her in April — on her birthday — a pal says: ‘She just needs some time to get her head together.

‘It’s not about work right now, regardless of what offers come in.’

Hard-up BBC bosses have confirmed that the Saturday night TV series The Magicians has vanished from our screens.

I’m told the decision to axe the show was a major surprise to producers of the series — in which magicians taught celebrities how to perform elaborate tricks on live TV — but the Beeb needs to save money after committing

25 million to flop show The Voice for two years.

A show source tells me: ‘This is a huge disappointment. Viewers loved The Magicians and on some nights we got more viewers than The Voice, despite far less promotion.’
The BBC and producers Shine said last night: ‘We can confirm that a third series will not be commissioned by the BBC.’

No chance of a Jesus Christine

In this age of equal opportunities, ITV had to agree that women would be eligible to audition to play Jesus in its upcoming Andrew Lloyd Webber musical talent show Superstar.

So imagine the relief of show executives when only two out of more than 10,000 auditionees were female.

Both have now been ruled out — so the sex of Jesus Christ will not need to be adjusted for the upcoming UK arena tour of the show.

However, one of the women who auditioned for Andrew and acclaimed director David Grindrod won’t regret her efforts — the pair are considering her for a role in another famous West End musical, possibly Phantom Of The Opera.

My show source reveals: ‘Searching for Jesus on a TV talent show is controversial enough before adding in a chance of a woman in the role.

Danni Minogue was devastated when Simon Cowell revealed their romance in his book

Danni Minogue was devastated when Simon Cowell revealed their romance in his book

‘But Andrew and David eagerly watched
both performances. One girl was so good Andrew has asked that she be
put forward for another one of his shows.’

It’s not been decided if the women’s auditions will be screened when the show, hosted by Amanda Holden, begins next month.

Just one phone call from Simon Cowell could have got Dannii Minogue back on the X Factor judging panel.

‘ITV were desperate to get Dannii back,’ says my source.

‘Nicole Scherzinger was only a fallback option, but Simon needed to pick up the phone to Dannii.

She was devastated that their relationship appeared in his biography, that needed to be resolved.’