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No more nul points at Eurovision?

The nation has placed its hopes of elusive success in the Eurovision Song Contest on a 21-year-old soul singer after voting for Jade Ewen to represent the UK in this year's competition.

 
Jade Ewen and Andrew Lloyd Webber - No more nul points at Eurovision?
Jade Ewen will sing My Time, a new song specially composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the Eurovision Song Contest Photo: BBC/PA

Miss Ewen was chosen by the public as the winner of Your Country Needs You!, the BBC One talent show where six acts have competed over four weeks for the chance to represent the UK at the final in Moscow in May.

Miss Ewen, from Plaistow, east London, beat off competition from Nicola and Francine Gleadell, identical twins from Sheffield, and Mark Evans, a sheep farmer's son from Wales, to represent the UK at the final on May 16.

She will sing My Time, a new song specially composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the Eurovision Song Contest, which was unveiled during Saturday night's show.

The ballad was co-written by the Grammy-award winning song-writer Diane Warren, who has written hits for acts including Cher, Aerosmith and Toni Braxton.

Miss Ewen, who was the favourite to win the competition, will also get a record deal with Universal and will go on a European tour to promote the song before May's final, where she will perform to a global audience of 100 million people.

Lloyd Webber said that he believed the public had made the right choice and announced that he would play the piano for Miss Ewen during her performance in Moscow.

He said: "A lot of the countries felt that we had been taking the mickey out of them, particularly the eastern Europeans. In the past they had thought we hadn't taken them seriously. I know Jade will give 150 per cent.

"The Eurovision show started Abba, it started Riverdance and it's going to start the career of this incredibly talented young woman."

Miss Ewen, said: "There is no way I'm going to waste this opportunity. I won't let you down."

Lulu, a former Eurovision winner who appeared on the show, said that Miss Ewen "ticked all the boxes".

Lloyd Webber is determined to restore Britain's Eurovision reputation in the competition, and has even visited Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, in an attempt to secure his vote. He has said that a top 10 placing - last achieved in 2002 - would be a "realistic" goal.

Britain has a dismal track record in the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years and has not won the competition since 1997 when Katrina and the Waves won with Love Shine a Light.

Widespread block voting between Eastern European countries has increasingly dominated the competition, with Russia voted as last year's winner.

Russia's entry, Believe sung by Dima Bilan, who performed during last night's show, received a maximum of 12 points last year from six nearby countries - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Armenia.

The success of Serbia in 2007 was also largely thanks to generous scoring for its neighbours, including Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Macedonia. Lordi, a heavy metal band dressed as monsters, from Finland, won in 2006 after receiving the maximum score of 12 points from Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Estonia.

Last year's UK entrant, Andy Abraham, came joint last after scoring "nul points" for his song Even If at the final in Belgrade. In 2007, Scooch finished second last with Flying the Flag (for You) and in 2003 the band Jemini failed to score a single point for their song, Cry Baby.

Block voting has become so widespread that Sir Terry Wogan cited it is a reason for ending his coverage of the contest for the BBC after 37 years, which will now be presented by Graham Norton.

This year, however, the voting system has been changed for the final in Moscow. Each country's votes will be decided by a combination of televoting and the votes of a national jury comprised of music industry experts.

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