Eurovision: What's next for the United Kingdom in 2014?

As Bonnie Tyler leaves Malmö licking her wounds, it's clear that a different approach to the song contest is needed

As the dust settles on what Neil McCormick in the Telegraph is referring to as the 'Austerity Eurovision', already the vultures are circling above the Bonnie Tyler camp. What went wrong? What caused this celebrated Welsh singer to crash to 19th place and a paltry 23 points, 8% of the total of Denmark's winning entry?

In fairness to Tyler, she was much better than Engelbert Humperdinck last year (the only way we could have done worse was by plumping for Kerry Katona) and we beat some countries I tend to benchmark the United Kingdom on. For example , out of the Big Five, only Italy, who came seventh, fared better than the UK, with Germany, France and Spain coming 21st, 23rd and 25th respectively. Ireland came dead last, and I could use the word 'dead' again when referring to Ryan Dolan's career.

An enquiry is already underway in Germany as to why Cascada flopped so dramatically, although general consensus is that there is a bit of an anti-Merkel vibe around the EU (I cannot imagine why). Similarly, in the UK, the post-Eurovision debrief rages on. Where, oh where does the UK go from here?

At first glance one could say that we fell foul of the bloc voting again. This is partly true, as there were some pretty patterns emerging as the votes were called in. However, neighbourly voting was much less prevalent this year - take a look at the results. This was no better emphasised than the dramatic failure of Finland - a nation hotly tipped to do very well this year, albeit off the back of Krista Siegfrid's lesbian kiss. There were plenty of shocks too, including Greece. Agathon Iakovidis and friends proved a surprise hit, coming sixth.

The truth is that, although Tyler herself was on form, singing beautifully and rousing the crowd with her podiumed finale, "Believe In Me" was simply not good enough as a song. The United Kingdom seems to be on the right track by sending in the veterans such as Humperdinck, Tyler and erm, Blue in 2011, as classic British tunes are experiencing something of a resurgence. I mean, just look at who was number one last weekend. But if we continue this strategy to attempt victory by heritage, we better start giving the stars some quality material.

A retreat from mediocrity, or from Europe?

And what if we decide to adopt a different approach? The United Kingdom remains one of the richest minefields of semi-tapped musical talent in the world. Katrina Leskanich of 1997 Eurovision winners Katrina and the Waves suggests reverting back to an X-Factor style selection event.

It is clear that something needs to change, and it begins with the United Kingdom's general attitude to the whole Eurovision shebang. We laugh at other countries taking the contest too seriously (in particular, this year was like a funeral compared to previous finals) but still by-and-large acting like a sulking kid when we finish towards the bottom of the scoreboard. Either we do Eurovision - and do it properly - or don't do it at all.

I would still follow the contest if we didn't enter it. The only thing that would be missing would be that tinge of embarrassment and disappointment that garnishes an otherwise fantastic three hours of guilt-free entertainment.

And what would happen if the United Kingdom were to leave? I don't think that we would - for what reason - because we can't win? I do think that an exit would demonstrate resolve against increasingly bizarre actions by the European Broadcasting Union (the running order, often cited as a reason for counties succeeding or not, was decided by the producers this year) who appear to be taking lessons from that other unfailingly fair organisation, FIFA.

The United Kingdom contributes a huge amount of money - and audience share - to Eurovision. Could we use that clout to get the voting and general structure of the contest overhauled, lest we leave? Maybe. Alternatively, we could simply continue to enter badly written songs or get Jemini to sing for us again. At least this way, we could save ourselves the hassle of withdrawing as the EBU would probably chuck us out of their own accord.