Molly Smitten-Downes to represent UK at Eurovision
Little-known singer-songwriter Molly Smitten-Downes is to represent the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest.
The 26-year-old will carry British hopes in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May with her song Children of the Universe.
The pop singer has already had a taste of the limelight after having a UK top 10 hit in 2008 with Sash on the song Raindrops (Encore Une Fois).
Her selection comes after Bonnie Tyler and Engelbert Humperdinck struggled for the UK in the past two contests.
Tyler came 19th out of 26 countries in 2013, while Humperdinck finished 25th the previous year.
Smitten-Downes, who is known simply as Molly on stage, said: "To represent the United Kingdom in such a huge competition, not only as a singer and performer but as a songwriter is an unbelievable honour. I hope I can do us proud."
A BBC statement described Children of the Universe as "an anthemic, uplifting track specifically written with live performance in mind".
Smitten-Downes, from Leicestershire, enjoyed a brief appearance in the charts five-and-a-half years ago when she sang on an updated version of German DJ Sash's 1997 smash Encore Une Fois.
The 2008 version reached number nine in the UK.
Smitten-Downes followed that by lending her vocals to the track I Will Learn to Love Again from Swedish producer Basshunter's 2009 album Bass Generation, which reached number 16 in the UK.
She then embarked on a career with her own material. An experienced performer, she has supported such acts as Jake Bugg, Tinie Tempah, Labrinth and Chase and Status.
After submitting her tracks to BBC Introducing, she gained support from BBC local radio in the East Midlands before being spotted by the corporation's Eurovision producers.
"BBC Introducing provided us with an extraordinary range of talent to explore and in Molly we found the perfect combination of contemporary songwriting and real vocal quality," said BBC executive producer Guy Freeman.
"Her enthusiasm for the project is infectious and I'm sure that she'll gain huge support on the journey to Copenhagen."
The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in the Danish capital on 10 May.