A series of opinion polls have found the majority of Brits if given the chance to vote on the matter, would choose to leave the Eurovision song contest.
A new YouGov poll showed that 56 percent would be in favour of leaving and 44 percent in favour of staying, excluding those who did not know or would not vote. At 56 per cent, even more Brits would leave Eurovision than voted to leave the European Union in 2016.
The poll follows another reported by Pink News in early May, which found 53.6 per cent of Brits wanted to leave Eurovision. Those answering that poll also gave their reasons for wanting out, with 63 per cent saying the competition was a “big waste of money”, while 26 per cent said it was embarrassing.
The annual talent contest fought between nations across Europe, Asia, and Oceania has been broadcast by the European Broadcast Union since 1956. While the result of the poll over the future of Britain’s involvement in Eurovision may seem surprising given it gets reasonable viewing figures, the high numbers of those wishing to leave may represent disappointment among some that a Eurovision exit didn’t automatically accompany Brexit.
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron, when asked what the worst argument in favour of Brexit he’d heard was, told the House of Commons that it was voting to leave the European Union would get Britain out of the song contest too. Rubbishing the suggestion, he said: “Not only would that be incredibly sad but given that Israel and Azerbaijan and anyone anywhere near Europe seems to be able to enter – and Australia – then I think we’re pretty safe from that one”.
Another explanation for Britons wanting to cut ties with the musical competition could be a lack of faith in the processes behind selecting a winner.
A significant source of controversy in 2014 was the allocation of British votes. Viewers at home are able to cast votes for their favourite acts by telephone, the figures for which are balanced against a panel of “experts” appointed by the BBC who also rate their favourite acts.
After the 2014 competition, it was revealed the runaway favourite among the British public was the Polish entry, which featured buxom milkmaids in traditional national costume — but this was the least favourite of the expert judges, who overruled the British public, leading the nation to officially give it zero points.
In contrast to the somewhat sexually suggestive favourite act of the British people in that year, the winning act was by Austria’s Conchita Wurst, a musical drag act. Viewing figures of the competition in the United Kingdom the following year collapsed to a five-year low, and have yet to fully recover.
Watch: Poland’s 2014 Eurovision entry
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