Eurovision is an annual event that sees the entire continent joust it out, but instead of using weapons of mass destruction, they use camped-up pop songs. We’ll let you decide what’s worse.
Over the years, Britain’s unpopularity across Europe has been magnified at Eurovision, with the country almost always finding itself somewhere towards the dregs of the pile, usually falling below countries like Belarus or San Marino, despite the contrast in musical history. Even though Britain is the country that brought the world The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Eurovision is the night when the continent gets their revenge for us also being the country that produced Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.
2006 was as shambolic for Britain as any other year, with Daz Sampson finishing 19th out of 24 entrants, which is quite the result by our standards. However, Morrissey wasn’t best pleased with the performance, and said: “I was horrified but not surprised to see the UK fail. Why didn’t they ask me?”
At the time, everybody took this as yet another tongue-in-cheek statement by Morrissey and thought he was joking about being interested in representing Britain. Surprisingly, the BBC took his comment seriously and sounded him out over becoming Britain’s entrant in 2007.
After the rife speculation, the corporation was forced to make a statement addressing the rumours. A spokeswoman for the broadcaster confirmed that they were in talks with The Smiths frontman but warned the frothing public: “Nothing is confirmed at the moment.”
However, the dream was short-lived, and only a month after they went public about talks with Morrissey, they revealed that it was no longer a possibility. “Obviously a lot of artists express interest in Eurovision and we express interest in a lot of artists,” the BBC explained. “We approach quite a few of them but on this occasion, it just did not work out. We can confirm he will not be taking part.”
It’s never quite come to light why Britain didn’t elect Morrissey in 2007, and he even wrote a song to perform at the ceremony. Speaking to Hot Press in 2014, Morrissey was asked if he was still unhappy about Britain not selecting him, and the former Smiths man still hadn’t let it go. “Yes. I was all prepared with ‘I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris’,” he replied before adding a typical Morrissey comment. “But you’ll notice that other countries will not give the UK any points ever since Tony Blair decided to drop bombs on the innocent people of Iraq. Can you blame them?”
In the end, Morrissey would release the track in 2009, and it charted around Europe, providing the Mancunian with the last laugh. Britain elected Scooch (Nope, me neither) to represent the country instead of Morrissey at Eurovision, and they admirably managed to secure 19th place, beating big hitters like Moldova and Armenia.
Morrissey performing at Eurovision would have been a spectacle and must watch, even if it was to see his ego take a bruising as he finishes below the Latvian entry thanks to the rest of Europe’s visceral dislike for the British.