The news travelled around the world when the BBC in March surprisingly announced veteran singer Engelbert Humperdinck as the UK’s Eurovision contestant.
"It was an overwhelmingly positive response. I felt like an athlete, wherever I went in the UK people would stop to shake my hand and wish me luck. I would like to thank the UK and European press for all their support and my fans in Europe; I hope they will remember my songs and give me their support", he says in an interview with the official website of Denmark's national broadcaster DR.
Humperdinck, who turned 76 yesterday, isn’t quite sure why the BBC picked him, but he knew immediately what his answer would be.
Truely European Artist
"I have a lot of fans in the Eurovision countries, and it's one of those things that has seemed perfect for me to be involved in for a long time", he says.
"The BBC approached my manager, and when I heard about it I said yes immediately. I can't say why they picked me, but it's a tremendous honour to represent my country at Eurovision this year. I want to bring this home!"
Engelbert Humperdinck is the oldest solo artist to compete in Eurovision history, but he doesn’t see his age as a disadvantage – quite the contrary.
"It's very exciting to bring my music to the next generation of fans", says the veteran singer, who has sold more than 150 million records worldwide,
"I'm energised and excited about Eurovision; it's going to be a lot of fun this year more than ever. It makes me feel happy that I can represent my country at this stage in my career. I have been in the business for over 45 years. Perhaps I have some experience to share with the younger performers".
Humperdinck has some advice for the young competitors.
"Focus on the performance, don't let the millions watching put you off, and have a great team around you to support you through it".
See Engelbert performing Love Will Set You Free below:
The King of Romance
Engelbert Humperdinck's Eurovision song Love Will Set You Free has been partly recorded in Nashville, Tennesee – the home of US country music – and this has contributed to its sound.
"Yes, absolutely. Also the producing /songwriting team Martin Terefe and Sacha Skarbek are some of the best in the business and have worked with the best artists in the world like Adele, Mary J. Blige and James Morrison. It's a beautifully crafted song".
"I have represented romance all my life, some have called me the 'King of romance'. When people hear romantic songs they fall in love. The song couldn't be better suited to me".
The United Kingdom has finished last in three contests in the past decade, and Humperdinck is determined to change this disappointing statistic.
"The United Kingdom can definitely win Eurovision again. As I understand it, the voting system changed a few years ago, and now juries are more involved in the votes. Since then the UK has had better results. What's to stop the UK being top 10 this year? We could win, I definitely think it's possible".
Humperdinck has his first rehearsal on stage at the Baku Crystal Hall on the 19th of May, one week before the final.
"I am looking forward to getting to Baku, I can't wait!"
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We would like to thank our colleagues at DR for providing this interview and remember that the United Kingdom will open the final of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest at the Baku Crystal Hall in Azerbaijan on the 26th of May.