Duke Of York’s Eurovision Party
Duke Of York’s Picturehouse, Preston Circus, Brighton, Saturday, May 23

WHEN it comes to assessing the UK’s chances at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, host of Brighton’s own celebration Boogaloo Stu doesn’t mince his words.

“It’s an abomination,” he says of Electro Velvet’s Still In Love With You.

“It does us no favours. It makes me think of Doop by Doop, with Caro Emerald-style vocals on top.

“I don’t think European audiences will understand it – electroswing hasn’t spread across the continent as far as the former Eastern bloc.

“It won’t translate into votes. I would be very surprised if it does well.”

He puts the UK’s woeful showing at recent Eurovisions down to a lack of desire to win.

“They need to think about using a group or artist that has a big presence in Europe,” he says.

“Someone like Sophie Ellis Bextor is massive in Russia, so why not use someone like her to represent the UK? We are never going to win it with a bad song by an unknown artist.

“Over the past few years they have tried various old established celebrities like Bonnie Tyler and Englebert Humperdinck thinking they will get the mature vote, but that doesn’t do well in Eurovision.”

Growing up a fan of the show when Brotherhood Of Man and Bucks Fizz were winning it for Britain, Stu returned to the song contest a decade ago around the time the production values got bigger.

He has been hosting the Duke Of York’s annual big screen celebration since 2009.

Today’s Eurovision could never be held in a 1,500-capacity venue like Brighton Dome Concert Hall, which famously hosted ABBA’s career-making win in 1974.

“When you look at the ABBA win you can see how low-scale the show was,” says Stu.

“All the audience were very well-dressed in black tie and ball gowns, watching the bands on a small stage.

“Now it is a stadium show, with amazing graphics and lighting. It feels special to watch it.”

As such he will ensure that when the show is being broadcast live from the Wiener Stadhalle in Vienna tomorrow he doesn’t interrupt the action unnecessarily.

“There are a lot of surprises for people in store,” he says.

“I don’t want to give anything away. There may be a cake aspect to mark the 60th anniversary.”

As well as Eurovision reaching its Diamond Jubilee, this year’s contest could prove to be controversial with Australia entering for the first time.

“Eurovision is just a name,” says Stu.

“Countries outside Europe like Azerbaijan have been in it for quite a long time. It’s a symbol of people’s desire to be a part of it that the contest straddles several continents.

“If Australia win, which they could do, it could cause problems if everyone has to travel there.

“For British fans travelling to Vienna isn’t too bad, but Australia could be a bit too far.”

To mark the anniversary, this year’s cinema screening of the BBC coverage has a fancy dress theme of stars of Eurovision past and Diamond Jubilee.

“I think we will get 40 or 50 Conchita Wursts,” says Stu.

“Last year we had about 30 who all danced on stage during her performance. Over the last 12 months she has become iconic – I’m expecting lots of bearded ladies in the house.

“There’s rarely a country that doesn’t come to the Duke Of York’s with a contingent of supporters.

“Even the most random country will have one or two supporters – last year we had people in the traditional costume of Moldova.

“We have had crowd-surfing and stage-diving, it is a hardcore celebration.”

Although he does some research for the show he is not a Eurovision obsessive, watching the semi-finals or buying the album every year.

“It makes it more spontaneous and fun on the night to see what everyone else is doing,” he says.

“I always advise people to have beta blockers or Rescue Remedy to hand so everyone can keep calm and collected when the voting starts. That’s when people get nervous.”

  • Boogaloo Stu also brings his Brighton Fringe solo show Crimpelene Millionaire to Spiegeltent’s Bosco Theater from Thursday, May 28, to Saturday, May 30. Starts 9.30pm, tickets £9/£7, call 01273 917272.