Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Russell Grant and Eurovision

It was announced last week that Engelbert Humperdinck is to represent the UK at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

This may have come as something of a shock to readers of the Daily Star. On 17 November 2011, the paper said the person being 'lined up' to sing for the UK was...Russell Grant:

Peter Dyke's article includes a quote from a conveniently anonymous source, who says:

“He’s camp just like Eurovision. But he can also sing and dance, unlike some of our past entries.

“We’re looking for someone who will bring the fun back to the contest so it would make sense to ask him."

The only attributed quote in the article comes at the end and is from Grant. He points out such reports are:

"very premature"


One week later, the Evening Standard had a different role lined up for Grant:

Russell Grant is set to host of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The 'Strictly Come Dancing' star - who left the ballroom competition last weekend - is the frontrunner to present the BBC's coverage of the annual singing competition next year, taking over duties from Graham Norton.

A source said: "Russell would be perfect for Eurovision. He's well and truly in the nation's hearts after his amazing routines on Strictly and would bring his unique humour and zest to the show. 

Another anonymous source.

It's not clear where the suggestion Norton was being replaced came from. But the BBC's press release announcing Humperdinck as the UK act ended with confirmation that commentary for the 2012 event will indeed be done by...Norton.

But that wasn't the end of Grant and Eurovision. On 28 December 2011, the Sun came up with a different tale:

Astrologer Russell Grant has been asked to represent MALTA at Eurovision.

Organisers from the Mediterranean island got in touch with the flamboyant star after he impressed them with his turn on Strictly Come Dancing. 

Malta? Oh yes, according to another anonymous source:

A pal said: "He was thrilled but a bit perplexed to be asked to represent Malta as he has no link to the country.

"The only Maltesers he knows are in a box of chocolates. But he was really flattered."

Yet there's an interesting comment under this article, from one of the 'organisers' in Malta that, the Sun said, had 'got in touch' with Grant:

'Absolutely garbage and completely untrue'.

An article on Malta Today elaborates on this denial:

Eurovision Malta chief organiser and PBS chief executive Anton Attard described the report as "absolute nonsense".

Attard explained that he didn't even know Russell Grant, however he did not exclude that the British media got it all wrong.

"Mr. Grant may have been contacted by any composer who would have offered him a song, and we do not go into that as long as the competition regulations are observed," Attard said.

He added that from the long list of entry submissions made to the organisers, Russell Grant's name never featured. The time for submissions has meanwhile been closed.

And last month it was announced that Malta would be represented by Kurt Calleja.

So three articles about Russell Grant and Eurovision, and not one of them turned out to be true. The papers clearly need more reliable anonymous sources.

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