Engelbert Humperdinck, Britain's Eurovision entry, insists: 'My heart is with the Germans'
SINGER Engelbert Humperdinck has courted controversy after posing in a German flag and claiming his "heart is with the Germans" for the Eurovision song contest.
The veteran star, who will compete for Britain in the eclectic musical competition this weekend, claimed he would be singing for “all Germans, especially for German women”.
In an interview with German tabloid Bild, he disclosed he had an affiliated with the country, with was the birthplace of his mother and grandfather.
Posing for a photograph draped in a flag, he told the newspaper: “My blood is English but my heart is with the Germans.
“So I’ll be singing on Saturday for all Germans, especially for all the German women!”
The newspaper commented the comments would “be a shock to the British.”
More charitable readers may view it as an attempt to secure all-important international votes for this weekend's Eurovision contest.
Humperdinck said: "My mother was German so my blood is half German. But of course my heart belongs to the UK and I am flying the flag for the UK at Eurovision. I want to bring this home for my country!"
A spokeswoman for the BBC said the article had been a "bit of harmless fun" and not meant to be taken seriously.
She reiterated the singer was "absolutely committed to his country" and was happy to go along with the German newspaper to secure readers' votes.
The 76-year-old singer has already suffered a blow to his Eurovision hopes, as his entry reached just number 76 in the singles charts this week.
Just 3,442 copies of his song Love Will Set You Free have sold so far, as digital download sales fell far below younger rival artists.
The news will be a disappointment for Eurovision fans, who hoped the singer could reignite Britain’s chances in the annual contest.
Humperdinck, whose real name is Albert Dorsey, has been offered odds of 14/1 to win the competition, with strong entries from other European nations.
Last week, Humperdinck said he believed he had a “great chance” at Eurovision, which has not been won by Great Britain since 1997.
He is now in Baku, Azerbaijan, in preparation for Saturday’s performance.
The singer, best known for his number one hits Release Me and The Last Waltz, said: “It's not a talent competition, it's a song contest and because of my experience of travelling around the world and being an ambassador for my country, I think it stands a good chance.”
Speaking of the potential for a ballad to win the contest, he said: "Well, obviously a great melody, a great storyline, and the song has to have a longevity and I think this one really has it.
"It's a Viennese waltz and waltzes have a romantic feel and people usually dance slow to it. I think this has a great, great chance."
He is already automatically qualified for the final, along with France, Italy, Azerbaijan, Spain and Germany.
The final can be viewed on BBC1 on Saturday, from 8pm to 11.15pm.