When the late Terry Wogan left his 35-year tenure as the voice of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, many fans thought hope was lost for Britain.
But then Graham Norton popped up on our screens with his sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek comments. It felt like the perfect combination. Any doubts that Norton wouldn’t be able to follow in Wogan’s footsteps were quickly dissipated in a cloud of confetti.
This year Norton will once again be in the commentary booth for the BBC’s big final report (May 13).
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Meanwhile, Rylan Clark and Scott Mills have held their ground and presented the semifinals this week (9th and 11th May).
Norton has been known to poke fun at the length of the four-hour finale, noting when “someone dressed up” to announce the results of each participating country. Hopefully he’ll be kinder to Britain’s 2023 candidate Mae Muller.
Let’s recall some of Norton’s most violent lines:
“It would be Marmite if everyone hated Marmite.” – on the German performance “I Don’t Feel Hate” by Jendrick (2021)
“Less Destiny’s Child. More Destiny’s Inappropriate Aunt. – on the Serbian performance of the pop trio Hurricane (2021)
“Now it’s time for the flag ceremony. It’s a new tradition. It’s a way to make the show a little bit longer.” – on the length of the opening ceremony (2018)
“He came back with a song called ‘That’s How You Write A Song’… Ironically, the song isn’t great.” – on Norway’s Achievement (2018)
“I liked the moment when she stopped the music.” – on Slovenia’s performance faking a technical defect (2018)
“If you’re going to get someone to dress up as a gorilla, at least get yourself a decent outfit. It looks like a bunch of old car seats sewn together.” – to the Italian contribution “Occidentali’s Karma” (2017)
“The producers put the order together, and considering no song has ever won second place, I’m guessing they didn’t put much thought into it. Sorry for France, the artist is Lisa Angell, the song is ‘N’oubliez Pas’ which means ‘don’t forget’. Unfortunately I’m afraid we will.” – on France’s performance in the Grand Final (2015)
“He said he did something terrible when he was a boy. We don’t know what it was. It could have been writing this song.” – on Norway’s contribution “A Monster Like Me” (2015)
“OK… That’s three minutes we’ll never get back, but look at it this way: we’ll never have to hear that song again.” – on Albania’s performance of “I’m Alive” (2015)
“Well that wasn’t embarrassing at all, well done.” – Response to the reader’s surprise rap of Finnish Results (2014)
“Oh thanks, it’s so much fun! It’s like the gay wedding I’ll never have! It’s gone in my wine!” – in response to Eurovision presenters showering him with confetti in his special commentary booth (2014)
“If you just walked up to us and thought, ‘Oh, Denise van Outen let herself go’, no, this is Cascada representing Germany” – on Cascada after their performance of Glorious (2013)
“If you’re watching with pets or vulnerable elderly, maybe now is the time to move them to the utility room.” – Commenting ahead of Cezar’s high-pitched, strobe-filled rendition of “It’s My Life” for Romania (2013)
“It will strike fear into your heart – she is a dedicated experimental jazz musician. She can do extraordinary things with her voice… not pleasant things, but extraordinary things.” – Introducing Albania’s Eurovision entry Rona Nishliu with “Suus” (2012)
“He looks like a nice boy who fell in love with the wrong group, doesn’t he?” – via Eric Saade’s performance of Popular for Sweden (2011)
“They drink quite a lot. It’s almost like they think they’ll never perform again.” – on the backing dancers of Britain (2010)
“The bad news is that you are about to see Albania. She’s only 17 so please keep that in mind. Where was her mother? Why didn’t she come in and say no?” – on Albania’s performance of Carry Me in Your Dreams by Kejsi Tola (2009)
The grand finale of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place on Saturday 13 May at 8pm on BBC One. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s song list.