Britain Counts On Bonnie Tyler to Play Eurovision Hero

After years of abject failure, insipid pop singers and an infamous “nil points” effort, Britain is betting on a veteran to cure its Eurovision heartache.

Husky-voiced ‘80s pop singer Bonnie Tyler has been chosen to represent the nation at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, to be held May in Malmo, Sweden.

The choice of Welsh-born Tyler seems to indicate a trend. Britain, for many years rank-outsiders in the annual contest, went with veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck in 2012. Brits have little to boast about in recent Eurovision history and Humperdinck didn’t produce the goods, scoring just 12 points (the winner, Sweden’s Loreen, had 372 points).

Unlike their neighbors on the European Continent, Britons generally don’t take the competitions particularly seriously. And a succession of lacklustre pop representatives in 2000s confirmed that. The lowest ebb came in 2003 when an off-key performance by Jemini earned Britain “nil points.”

That disaster is unlikely to happen this year. Tyler, like Humperdink, has a kitsch and “campiness” which fits with the vibe of Eurovision.

Tyler is best-known for her hits “Holding Out for a Hero,” “It’s a Heartache,” And “Total Eclipse of a the Heart,” whose over-the-top Russell Mulcahy-directed video is one of the most memorable from the first half of the ‘80s.

The 61-year-old Tyler joins an impressive list of artists who’ve represented Britain – some who hardly even register as Brits. Cliff Richard represented in 1968 and 1973 (and lost both times), the Australian singer Olivia Newton-John performed for Britain in 1974 (and lost), and Bucks Fizz’ infamous skirts-off routine saw them win the competition in 1981. But you’d have to go back to 1997 and Katrina and the Waves (singer Katrina Leskanich is U.S.-born), for Britain’s last victory in the song contest.

Though it won’t have any bearing on Eurovision, Tyler’s profile has enjoyed a huge boost on the other side of the world –- Australia -- thanks to a corny ad-campaign. Tyler appeared in a 2012 advertisement for the Australian bank, Westpac. The clip, which became a water-cooler talking point in offices across the country, sees Tyler walking across water whilst singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at a wedding.