No Brexit distractions as Lucie Jones focuses on Eurovision competition

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Singer Lucie Jones has told how she will be keeping Brexit and European politics firmly out of her mind as she represents the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest this week.

The former X Factor hopeful said she would be focussing on her own performance as she takes part in the first competition since the EU referendum.

The semi-finals will air tonight from host city Kiev, Ukraine, followed by the big final showdown this weekend.

As the UK is one of the "big five" countries that traditionally qualify for the Grand Final automatically, Jones will not need to take part in the early leg.

"I am really not thinking about Brexit," Jones, 26, told the Press Association.

"There is this political vote every year that people talk about and, yes, this year is slightly different with the sort of political climate going on, but it is something that I am not concentrating on.

"It's out of my hands so there is no point in worrying or thinking about it, I am just letting it pass me by."

Her comments came weeks after Russia pulled out of the contest, following a move by Ukranian authorities to ban entrant Julia Samoylova because of her previous tour in Crimea.

But Jones insisted that there were no grudges or hard feelings among remaining performers.

"I have met a number of the other contestants and they are all great, there are no ego battles, it's just a real laugh and there's always people singing - it's like being in a theatre show."

"It's a really nice atmosphere...There are some big personalities and it's fabulous."

The Welsh-born singer will be performing Never Give Up On You, a track co-written by former Eurovision entrant Emmelie de Forest, The Treatment and songwriter Lawrie Martin.

While the UK has failed to shine in the competition for a number of years, Jones said she believes attitudes towards the country's potential are changing across the continent.

She said: "It's a different feel outside the UK this year, and also within the UK about Eurovision in general - but haters are going to hate and it's not for everyone.

"There is a really great team of people working for the UK in Eurovision now and the British public are behind us this year, which feels great."

Summarising the recipe for Eurovision success, she continued: "You need that dream team, the support from the public and, obviously, a good song."

A lifelong fan of the show, Jones said one of her favourite ever UK entries was Bucks Fizz, who won the 1981 show, and 1997 winner Katrina Leskanich.

Leskanich will be returning to the show this year as she reads out the UK's final votes on the big night.

:: Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final, part one, will air on BBC Four at 8pm on Tuesday, presented by Mel Giedroyc and Scott Mills.