Last night's fifth place for the United Kingdom Eurovision Song Contest entry performed by Jade Ewen and written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Dianne Warren marks the dawn of a new era for the country at the competition. The change was also earmarked by the passing of the commentator batton from Terry Wogan to Graham Norton.
The United Kingdom has been universally praised both at home and internationally for the change in attitude to particiapation at the Eurovision Song Contest this year. Combined with the changes to the voting mechanism, it means that the United Kingdom, along with other countries that believed victory was impossible, now have hope and belief that any country can win the Eurovision Song Contest.
Iceland, who had struggled to qualify for the final in recent years, and took 14th place in 2008 despite being tipped for the top five, took second place in Moscow last night and France made a welcome return to the top ten, despite singing from one of the 'cursed' positions of third in the running order.
The UK's change in Eurovision attitude saw a major record label backing the entry and an international promotion tour, where Jade Ewen performed her entry 'my time' live on every occasion, whilst many chose to perform with playback.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has continually spoken about the need for the competition to showcase true talent and ability and the United Kingdom has helped lead the way on that front.
This morning, British media are reporting the Eurovision Song Contest as a musical competition and writing about Norway's winning entry on levels unseen for many years. Traditional 'day after negativity' and calls to withdraw from the competition have evapourated.
The Daily Mail writes "The Londoner's result was a significant improvement on last year's bottom-of-the-league rating, succeeding in reversing the UK's bad run of results…It raises hopes that the landscape of Eurovision's voting process has been changed – with votes being cast on acts' musical merit instead of for tactical reasons. Tonight's result could now mark an end to the controversial practice of tactical voting which has blighted the competition in recent years… the winning Norwegian violin song Fairytale won praise across the borders."
Last night, on BBC Radio 5 live's phone in show, the majority of callers stated that they enjoyed the show, enjoyed the music and that the Norwegian song should be a hit in the United Kingdom, and most importantly, that the result was fair. All major news channels reported on the Eurovision Song Contest winner, rather than stories about unfair voting or the United Kingdom's entrant being treated unfairly by the voting system.
Graham Norton's commentary was also singled out for praise. He combined humour and tongue in cheek amusement with worthy praise for the songs and providing information as well as amusement. He was also able to keep the viewers watching during the voting, which provided a tough challenge due to Norway's huge lead throughout the show. Many viewers would have been expected to turn away from the show after the first few juries, with Norway's victory almost guaranteed within 10 minutes of the votes coming in.
Jade Ewen, Andrew Lloyd Webber and the BBC may not be celebrating a Eurovision Song Contest victory this morning, but they can celebrate restoring the reputation of the contest in the United Kingdom, and restoring the United Kingdom's reputation in the Eurovision Song Contest.