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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 23:47 GMT 00:47 UK
Daz takes on Eurovision mission
By Michael Osborn
BBC News entertainment reporter

Daz Sampson

Rapper Daz Sampson, the UK's representative at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, is zealously embracing the task of improving the country's performance at the musical event.

The 32-year-old Mancunian, who will perform Teenage Life in Athens, dismisses the notion that the UK's poor showing in recent years has been caused by political voting.

"We think we get hard done by, but that's total nonsense. It's because we've sent absolute toilet," says Sampson, who believes his entry will turn the corner for the UK.

"This year we're sending something world class, it'll be unique. I feel I can make a difference.

'Man of the people'

"I'm not ashamed to embrace the fact that I've been a big fan of Eurovision since an early age. Words can't describe how proud I am to be part of it," he says.

"It's not just a singing competition to me - this is my World Cup final.

Jemini, who came last at Eurovision 2003 with 'nul points'
If they were on fire I'd walk past those two. They disgraced this great country of ours in the world's greatest musical competition
Daz Sampson on Eurovision flops Jemini

"There'll be millions of Brits watching me in Athens - if that doesn't bring a lump to your throat and make you want to win it, what does?" adds the musician.

Sampson says his strength lies in being a "man of the people" and having an ear for knowing what makes them tick musically.

"My song harks back to old-fashioned family entertainment - yes, I'm rapping, but you can understand every single word I say.

"Families voted for me to win the UK final, so why won't a family from Latvia, Portugal, Spain or Poland support me? The song isn't offensive and has a positive message.

"I'm going to win this contest because I've written a pop song with a memorable hook which everyone can enjoy, and there'll be the visual of schoolgirls dressed in traditional English uniform which will be remembered," he says.

'Aaaaah factor'

According to Sampson, the song's "aaaah factor" comes from his five teenage "schoolgirl" backing vocalists, who are practising hard to reproduce the record's sound of a 30-strong children's choir live on stage in Greece.

Sampson reveals they are planning an eye-catching stunt to rival Bucks Fizz's skirt-ripping moment in 1981, when the UK won.

Daz Sampson
It's not just a singing competition to me - this is my World Cup final
Daz Sampson

But the rapper admits a decent result would be enough to repair the damage he believes was inflicted by Jemini, who finished last with no points three years ago.

"If I can get us into the top five, it would practically be a win for the UK. But if I win, I'll become a national hero.

"If I can make it smoother for future UK acts to do well, then I can repair the bridges burnt by those absolute buffoons Jemini.

"If they were on fire I'd walk past those two. They disgraced this great country of ours in the world's greatest musical competition," says Sampson, who is certain he will not end up on the bottom of the heap in Athens.

Biggest audience

Last year's UK Eurovision hopeful Javine, who finished 22nd, is also criticised by the musician for her "arrogant" approach to the song contest.

As well as travelling around Europe to promote his Eurovision bid - unlike recent UK contenders - Sampson has eyed up the competition.

He has picked out Greece, Belgium, Romania and Germany as ones to watch, but feels former Swedish winner Carola's bid sounds "dated".

Sampson also confidently predicts his Eurovision bid will draw in the biggest UK television audience for the contest since Katrina and The Waves won in 1997 - the last time the country revelled in song contest elation.


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