BBC Radio 1's Scott Mills gives nul points to Eurovision Song Contest critics


Critics who still sneer at the Eurovision Song Contest have an "old school attitude", BBC broadcaster Scott Mills has said.

Alongside The Great British Bake Off's Mel Giedroyc, the Radio 1 presenter will co-host BBC Four's live coverage of the two semi-finals on May 10 and 12.

Thursday's semi-final will also feature a pre-recorded appearance from UK entry Joe And Jake performing their song You're Not Alone.

Mel Giedroyc and Scott Mills (Guy Levy/BBC)
Mel Giedroyc and Scott Mills (Guy Levy/BBC)

On Saturday, Graham Norton is once again at the helm for BBC One's live broadcast of the grand final itself from Stockholm.

Radio 1´s Scott said times have changed when asked if Eurovision, which has long had a reputation for cheesy songs, is in danger of producing credible pop.

"What critics need to get their heads around is that, actually, there are some good songs in Eurovision," he told the Press Association.

Eurovision host Graham Norton (Guy Levy/BBC)
Eurovision host Graham Norton (Guy Levy/BBC)

"I think the people that still sneer about it, that's quite an old school attitude to it now."

He added: "When some people think Eurovision, they're probably thinking about Eurovision from the 1970s and 1980s, but they're missing a trick. They just go, 'Oh, it's Eurovision. It's all rubbish'."

Scott continued: "Yes, some of it is rubbish, but some of it is very good and yes, I do think it produces some good pop songs now."

Scott Mills (BBC)
Scott Mills (BBC)

The DJ singled out Sweden's 2012 winning entry, Euphoria by Loreen, for particular praise.

"It's a fantastic song," he said. "It stands up as a world class pop song and, for me, it made everyone start to think differently about Eurovision and how actually the songs might be better than they were."

As founders of the competition which was first staged in 1956, the "big five" of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK are automatic finalists, along with the host nation.

 Joe and Jake will represent the United Kingdom at Eurovision 2016 (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)
Joe and Jake will represent the United Kingdom at Eurovision 2016 (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

The two semi-finals will feature 36 countries, with acts from Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Latvia, Poland, Switzerland, Israel and Australia, to name a few, competing for a chance to perform in the final.

Ten countries from each heat will join the big five and host nation Sweden.

On the subject of the UK's chances, Scott welcomed this year's change to the voting system which has been designed to produce a more dramatic finish in the final.

The 42 year old also said the big five's increased exposure in the semi-finals would make a difference as acts from these countries, in addition to the host nation, will perform.

"For me, that's a game-changer in terms of giving the act the experience of being on that stage before the final," he said.

"I think that has thrown contestants from the UK before because they actually haven't performed the song on the stage until the big night. It will get the song into the heads of people who watch the semi-finals. I think that, combined with the new voting changes, cannot be a bad thing."

Scott is upbeat about Eurovision despite criticism from some that the UK is perennially stymied by regional and political block voting.

"Eurovision will go on and let's face it, we can't be much worse than we've been already," he stated. "It's not political for me. It's an entertainment show. I just want to see all the cheese, all the dresses and all the songs, good and bad."

Semi-final 1 of the Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast on BBC Four on May 10 at 8pm.