Sophie Ellis-Bextor reveals she turned down chance to judge Eurovision

Sophie Ellis-Bextor says she once turned down the chance to be a judge on the Eurovision Song Contest.

The singer-songwriter was lined up for the panel in 2019, but said a combination of having a young child and being unable to watch the show in silence had prevented her from taking part.

The UK will be represented this year in Turin, Italy, by 32-year-old TikTok star Sam Ryder with his uplifting pop song Space Man.

Graham Norton Show – London
The singer-songwriter says Britons enjoy treating Eurovision as an ‘almost ironic’ but enjoyable annual occurrence (Matt Crossick/PA)

Speaking to the Radio Times, Ellis-Bextor said that following the success of her hit song Murder On The Dancefloor, which was the most played track in Europe in 2002, she had had a “conversation” about becoming a competition judge.

“I had a very small baby that I was still feeding, and they wouldn’t let me bring it along,” she said.

“I’m pretty sure the baby would have been impartial but, you know what, I think part of what I like about Eurovision is that it has very much got its rules… it’s kooky.

“We weren’t going to be allowed to speak while we were watching it either, and I thought, ‘I can’t watch Eurovision in silence’.”

Ellis-Bextor, 43, is due to hold a special Eurovision Kitchen Disco warm-up party on Radio 2 this year.

She added that Eurovision had been a part of her family life since she was “tiny” and watched the programme with her parents as a child.

“My parents always watched Eurovision and I remember watching it during the eighties when I was in single digits and being pretty fascinated by what I saw,” she said.

Eurovision 2022
The UK will be represented this year by 32-year-old TikTok star Sam Ryder with his uplifting pop song Space Man (Edward Cooke/BBCrlophone Musi/PA)

She added that the “political undertones” to Eurovision, and Britain’s famous lack of success, was “part of the fun”.

“We should probably brace ourselves for another ‘nul points’ score,” she said.

“There have always been political undertones (to the voting), which again, is part of the fun.

“We quite enjoy that, I think.

“It’s part of the reason Britain treats it in an almost ironic way, and I don’t think it will ever lose that, but some of the songs that are good can have a life outside of Eurovision and be treated as legitimate hits.”

The full interview with Ellis-Bextor can be found in this week’s Radio Times.

– The Eurovision final airs on Saturday at 8pm on BBC One, BBC Radio 2 and BBC iPlayer.