By Andrew Arthur, Press Association Entertainment Reporter
The search for the UK’s entry for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Israel has begun with an official panel now ready to consider songs submitted by the public.
In the same process as last year, representatives of the official UK Eurovision Fan Club (OGAE UK) will shortlist their choice of public entries as well as songs put forward by professional songwriters. The closing date for submissions is October 26.
The final shortlist of songs will again be showcased to the British public who will have the chance to vote for their favourite in the BBC Two programme Eurovision: You Decide, details of which will be announced later this year.
The panel will receive guidance from the BBC’s new music consultant, publisher and songwriter Greig Watts.
Watts has taken over the role from Hugh Goldsmith, who has stepped aside to focus on his commitments to his publishing company and record label.
Watts said: “The Eurovision Song Contest just gets bigger and better and more exciting for me each year, and I’m sure Israel will deliver another amazing contest.
“I’m so happy to be involved this year for the UK; it really is a dream come true, and I’m looking forward to working with the team to get the strongest possible song and result we can for the UK, like we do on the world music stage.
“There’s no guaranteed song-writing formula for Eurovision as each year something different wins.
“I’m looking for melodic songs with impact for the arena as well as on TV. Songs that instantly hit you and never leave your brain!”
The grand final of the 64th instalment of the music competition will be staged in Tel Aviv on May 18 next year, following singer Netta’s victory in Portugal earlier this year with her song Toy.
The 2018 UK entry sung by SuRie came third from bottom in the contest, despite the singer having to fend off a stage invader during her performance.
Directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh and musicians Roger Waters and Brian Eno are among the high profile figures who have backed an appeal from Palestinian artists to boycott the competition.