Bonnie Tyler takes to the Eurovision stage tomorrow night bearing the weight of a nation’s expectation. Sadly, the expectation is that the gravel-voiced star will end up far out of the running when the all-important Eastern bloc votes come in.
The "Total Eclipse of the Heart" singer, chosen as the UK entrant in March, will perform her new ballad "Believe In Me" at the contest in Malmö, Sweden tomorrow. While Tyler’s popularity on the continent gives her reason to be upbeat about her chances, bookmakers are less sure.
William Hill is giving odds of 50-1 on Tyler winning. Spokesman Rupert Adams said: “In the 53 years we’ve been taking bets on the Eurovision Song Contest, this is the biggest price we’ve ever offered on a UK entrant.
“We haven’t had a single bet of over £100 on Bonnie.” At the same point last year, 15 people had placed bets of £100 or more on Engelbert Humperdinck taking the trophy.
Tyler has acknowledged that political voting could ruin her chances of victory, but in an interview with the South Wales Evening Post she had more pressing concerns. “I have only had a 20-minute rehearsal and I managed to pull the plug out of my back pack so I hope it goes better on the day,” she said.
“I will have to use one of those horrible in-ear monitors, which I don't like, because they cut out all of the atmosphere from the audience.”
Cheryl Baker, a former Eurovision winner with Bucks Fizz, told The Express the song “won’t do well” because it is “quite old fashioned”, but Mr Adams said that until the notorious Eastern bloc are happy to vote for entries in Western Europe, we don’t stand a chance.
“The public has worked out it’s a forlorn hope. With our standing in Europe, it wouldn’t matter if it was Robbie Williams or the Rolling Stones.”
Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest is a “massive favourite” to win. The 20-year-old singer is even more popular with British punters than 2009 Norway entrant Alexander Rybak, who scored a record 387 points with UK top ten hit Fairytale. This year’s Norwegian competitor, Margaret Berger, is also highly favoured.
Ireland’s Ryan Dolan, currently at 40-1, looks to be a better bet than Tyler. He takes the final slot in the running order, which will help voters to remember his performance.
Regardless of how Tyler fares, the show should be a ratings success for the BBC. Some 9.6 million people tuned in last year as the dismal scores for Humperdinck crawled in.