LONDON (Reuters) - British singer Engelbert Humperdinck will represent the United Kingdom at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, according to the BBC, which chooses the country's contestants.
The 75-year-old crooner, best known for his 1967 hit "Release Me", will be hoping to reverse a slump in fortunes for British acts at the annual sing-off which will be held on May 26 in Azerbaijan.
"It's an absolute honor to be representing my country for this year's Eurovision Song Contest," the singer told the BBC.
"When the BBC approached me, it just felt right for me to be a part of an institution like Eurovision. I'm excited and raring to go and want the nation to get behind me!"
Humperdinck is the oldest Eurovision contestant and if he wins, will be the UK's first triumph since Katrina and the Waves 15 years ago.
The song he will perform will be recorded in London, Los Angeles and Nashville and will be written by Martin Terefe and Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote James Blunt's global hit "You're Beautiful".
Humperdinck, whose real name is Arnold Dorsey, has sold an estimated 150 million records worldwide during his 45 year career.
His participation could boost interest in this year's Eurovision Song Contest, widely derided in Britain as a celebration of kitsch but taken more seriously in many other European countries and watched by a television audience of more than 100 million people.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White)