UK positions from 1957 to 2011. So where will Engelbert Humperdinck place UK in 2012?
Until 1999 the UK entry had only twice failed to make the Top 10 and in most years it made the Top 5. The UK even won five times and were runners-up a remarkable fifteen times. This century, however, has been pretty dire, coming bottom twice - now that's saying something when you recall how really bad some countries' entries were!
Jessica Garlick managed 3rd in 2002 and Jade Ewen a creditable 5th in 2009 but the other years are best forgotten.
So for 2012 what do we do to try and revive our former glory in this competition? We brush the dust off Engelbert Humperdinck, someone who we last heard singing Release Me, The Last Waltz or Les Bicyclettes De Belsize - usually briefly before the rush to change stations for 3 minutes. Now 76, Englebert sings Love Will Set You Free, a well-written ballad from writers and producers of excellent pedigree. It's not a track that does a lot for me but I can't be bothered to rush to change channels any more either.
It could be an inspired selection, though. There are many attractive dark-haired girls with pop songs and a fair few groups doing whatever thing their nation has asked. Engelbert does stand out and, if there are, as I suspect, few other really good ballads to catch the attention of our voting friends abroad then he could scoop up most of their votes whilst the pretty girls and boys may find their votes diminished by being shared with others.
I'd hate to make any predictions as this year looks crazy. But I think we'll make the Top 5 this year and feel respectable again. Our biggest problem could be Ireland's Jedward if they can play their backing track and mime. Waterline is a damn fine song. There are also some potentially very popular acts like Cyprus which could be so instantly addictive that they get the votes they need. More about them another day.