X-Factor style hunt for next year's UK Eurovision entry

An X Factor-style talent hunt will take place for next year's Eurovision entry for the UK as BBC bosses try to turn around the country's fortunes in the song contest.

Up and coming acts will be invited to battle it out with professionals as the format is completely revamped with Atomic Kitten and Blue's former record boss Hugh Goldsmith leading the hunt.

The BBC has been criticised in recent years for simply choosing an act and song to represent the UK.

This year Electro Velvet's track, Still In Love With You, failed to finish in the top 20 in this year's competition, which was won by the Swedish entry, Mans Zelmerlow's song Heroes.

Other acts to have performed poorly for the UK in recent years have included Engelbert Humperdinck and Bonnie Tyler.

Bonnie Tyler's 'Believe in Me' finished in 19th place in the 2013 contest. Credit: PA

Now the BBC is inviting singers, aged 18 and over, of any ability to submit a video and demo of them performing their original track.

Entries will be narrowed down for the final shortlist, which will be presented to a professional panel including the UK circle of Eurovision fan club OGAE and the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (Basca).

The public will have the final say on which song would represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden in May 2016.

The closing date for submissions is November 20 2015 on www.bbc.co.uk/eurovision.

Graham Norton, who will reprise his role as the UK's Eurovision commentator, said: "Eurovision is one of the highlights of my year and I love the fact that the BBC is launching its biggest song search ever."

The UK entry has yet to break into the top 10 in recent years, with Jade Ewen reaching the highest spot in 2009, taking fifth place with It's My Time.

Boyband Blue also got close when they finished in the 11th spot with their 2011 entry, I Can.

The last time the UK won the Eurovision Song Contest was in 1997, when Katrina And The Waves performed Love Shine A Light.

Other past winners include Bucks Fizz with Making Your Mind Up in 1981, Brotherhood Of Man with Save Your Kisses For Me in 1976, Lulu with Boom Bang-A-Bang in 1969, and Sandie Shaw's performance of Puppet On A String in 1967.