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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
UK joint favourite for Eurovision
Jessica Garlick
Jessica Garlick has bounced back from Pop Idol failure
The UK is joint favourite to win this year's Eurovision Song Contest, after disastrous showings in the last two years.

Bookmaker William Hill is offering odds of 6/1 on the UK as well as Estonia, last year's winner and this year's hosts.

Third favourite in the competition, at to be held Talinn on 25 May, is Sweden with odds of 7/1.


It's the first time we've had an MOR ballad for as long as I can remember

David Stark, Songlink magazine
This year's UK entry is Come Back, performed by Pop Idol finalist Jessica Garlick.

Garlick's rendition of the song won the UK finals after a TV phone vote on 3 March.

The UK song is written by Martin Bayley - a professional airline pilot - and produced by the team behind pop group Atomic Kitten.

Improvement

Garlick, 20, from Kidwelly, west Wales, has said that she had always cherished an ambition to represent the UK in the contest.

Lindsay Dracass
Lindsay Dracass: came 15th in 2001
Eurovision observer David Stark, editor of Songlink magazine, told BBC News Online the entry was an improvement on the "pretty appalling" entries of the last two years.

"It's a nice enough song - it's completely different, it's the first time we've had an MOR ballad for as long as I can remember.

"It could go really well or it could go the other way - but we've tried other approaches recently and we know what happened to them," he said.

The UK came 15th in the 2001 contest - after finishing 16th in 2000.

A spokeswoman for William Hill said that the odds for Come Back were based on the song's merits rather than on the publicity for Pop Idol.

"I don't think the hype of Pop Idol has really reached Estonia, she said.

"This is a contest in its own right."

The bookmaker is giving odds on Belgium of 8/1, with France Spain and Germany all following at 10/1.

See also:

05 Mar 02 | Media reports
Transvestite Sisters stir Eurovision storm
13 May 01 | Reviews
Another year, another Eurovision
04 May 01 | Music
No Dream Impossible for Lindsay
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