ENGELBERT Humperdinck will sing a “soaring ballad” at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, it has been announced, in a performance staged by choreographer Arlene Phillips.
The 75-year-old star will be accompanied on stage by guitarist James Bryan, who is known for his performances with Nelly Furtado.
Humperdinck, who was unveiled earlier this month as the surprise choice to represent the UK after boy band Blue finished a disappointing 11th last year, said: “I have my eyes on the prize with my song, Love Will Set You Free.
“I’m very proud of the song and with the nation behind me, I feel ready and look forward to the rollercoaster ride that is Eurovision!”
The BBC had already announced that an unnamed song was being written by Sacha Skarbek - who teamed up with James Blunt to compose his global hit You’re Beautiful - and Grammy-winning producer Martin Terefe.
The track has now been recorded in London, Los Angeles and Nashville.
Phillips, 68, was famously dropped from Strictly Come Dancing in 2009, sparking an ageism row, and recently made her return as a BBC dance judge in the final of Let’s Dance For Sport Relief.
Veteran singer Humperdinck, who enjoyed his last top 10 hit 42 years ago, will be representing the UK at the 57th Eurovision Song Contest, taking place in May in Baku, Azerbaijan.
BBC creative director of entertainment Derek McLean said: “As Eurovision draws ever closer, we are delighted to announce that Engelbert will perform Love Will Set You Free to a worldwide audience of millions at the Eurovision Song Contest.
“It is a soaring ballad that has been crafted by some of the best people in music.
“With credentials like these, and our very own music legend on vocals, this year our Eurovision entry is second to none.”
Perma-tanned heartthrob Humperdinck, whose hits include Release Me and The Last Waltz, held The Beatles off number one in 1967.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2012 takes place on May 26 and is expected to be watched by 120 million viewers.
The last UK win was in 1997 when Katrina And The Waves - fronted by American singer Katrina Leskanich - took the honours with Love Shine A Light.
For many years, viewers and listeners were allowed to choose the act or song which would represent the UK, but the BBC dropped the public vote last year with Blue’s entry.
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