The hosting line-up for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest has divided opinion online after being announced by the BBC on Wednesday, with some fans branding the presenters a ‘random bunch’, ‘inexperienced’ and ‘underwhelming’.
Presenting the Grand Final on May 13 to a global audience of 160 million will be king of the commentary box Graham Norton, alongside Ukrainian singer and frontwoman of alternative band The HARDKISS, Julia Sanina.
They will be joined in the Liverpool Arena by Emmy Award-winning actress and Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham and singer-songwriter and Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon.
While most are pleased with the return of Graham, some fans are concerned there will be less of his witty coverage from the commentary box if he is tied up with presenting duties.
The BBC said Graham will be sharing the box with comedic actress and former Great British Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc, who it is believed will help cover for him while he is on stage presenting.
Iconic: Presenting the Grand Final on May 13 to a global audience of 160 million will be Eurovision legend Graham Norton
Emmy Award-winning actress, Hannah Waddingham, (left) and singer-songwriter, pop star and TV presenter, Alesha Dixon, (right), will be joining the line-up of Eurovision presenters
Eurovision hosts revealed: (L-R) Sam Quek, Mel Giedroyc, Rylan, Julia Sanina, Graham Norton, Hannah Waddingham, Alesha Dixon, Scott Mills, Rylan and Timur Miroshnychenko
But many fans have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment over the announcement of some of the other hosts – and questioned whether so many were needed.
One wrote: ‘So much choice when it comes to brilliant, experienced presenters and they go with this random bunch… Graham Norton aside, this feels like a fumble.’
Another said the choice of Dixon felt ‘so random’ while one fan added: ‘Never heard of Julia Sanina or Hannah Waddingham.’
One quipped: ‘No scousers or northerners in the (national) presenter or commentary line up? Cancel it. Defund the BBC.’
Another shared a picture of the late Terry Wogan and wrote: ‘To think, it used to only need one presenter!’
Another said: ‘So BBC licence payers are paying for nine presenters when Terry Wogan used to do it.’
One said the new presenters were ‘not of Terry Wogan standard’.
Mr Wogan presented the song contest from 1971 to 2008, and both hosted and commentated the Grand Final in Birmingham in 1998.
For the first time in the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest history, both Semi-Finals will be live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with radio DJs and Eurovision experts, Scott Mills and Rylan Clark bringing UK audiences their colourful commentary.
Presenting the two live Semi-Finals on May 9 and 11 from Liverpool will be Julia, Hannah, and Alesha.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian broadcaster Timur Miroshnychenko will be the Eurovision Correspondent in Liverpool, appearing in VT inserts during the live shows plus giving live insights from Ukraine’s commentary box.
The hosts of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest have divided opinion online after being announced by the BBC on Wednesday, with some fans branding them a ‘random bunch’, ‘inexperienced’ and ‘underwhelming’
Ukrainian singer, composer and frontwoman of The HARDKISS alternative band, Julia Sanina, will join Eurovision host Graham Norton for the Grand Final
Alongside Liverpudlian presenter Sam Quek, he will front the Opening Ceremony live stream on the official Eurovision Song Contest YouTube Channel.
There will also be a special commentary team on BBC Radio Merseyside, which will include Claire Sweeney and the winner of The Voice of Eurovision talent search, currently underway to discover new Scouse talent.
While some were critical of the hosts after they were revealed on Wednesday, others seemed more excited.
One wrote: ‘My 16-year-old self would go nuts if someone told me that Julia Sanina will host Eurovision.’
Another said: ‘YES @hanwaddingham! So much more excited for Eurovision now!’
One more added: ‘Another early morning win for me: Graham Norton hosting Eurovision and Mel Giedroyc filling in on coms when he’s on stage.’
Much-loved: For the first time in the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest history, both Semi-Finals will be live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with radio DJs and Eurovision experts, Scott Mills and Rylan bringing UK audiences their colourful and insightful commentary
More to come: There will be a special commentary team on BBC Radio Merseyside, which will include Claire Sweeney and the winner of The Voice of Eurovision talent search, currently underway to discover new Scouse talent, (stock image)
A big announcement! Graham Norton announced The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 would be held in Liverpool during an appearance on The One Show back in October
Battling it out: Liverpool, pictured, was selected over Glasgow to host the ceremony
Another fan added: ‘Hannah Waddingham hosting Eurovision is one of the largest slays ever witnessed in the history of mankind.’
Back in October, Graham appeared on The One Show on Friday to reveal where in the UK the event would take place after Liverpool and Glasgow were named the final two cities in the running .
Comedian Graham said: ‘The city that will host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 is… Liverpool.’
Ukrainian entry Kalush Orchestra triumphed at the 2022 competition in Turin, Italy, but the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which produces the annual event, decided the show cannot be safely held in the country following Russia’s invasion.
The group said in a statement: ‘We are very pleased that next year’s Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Liverpool. Though we haven’t had the privilege of visiting yet, the musical heritage of the city is known all over the world.
‘Playing in the same place that The Beatles started out will be a moment we’ll never forget!
‘Although we are sad that next year’s competition cannot take place in our homeland, we know that the people of Liverpool will be warm hosts and the organisers will be able to add a real Ukrainian flavour to Eurovision 2023 in this city.’
Hannah Waddingham fans: Twitter went wild for the announcement on Wednesday
After the announcement, Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: ‘While we came up against stiff competition from Glasgow, who deserve more than the nil points they have received on this occasion, nowhere is more experienced or qualified, and nowhere throws a party quite like we do.
‘We want to put on a show that Ukraine would be proud of, and we have been working closely with Liverpool’s sister city of Odesa to ensure that this is their event as much as our own.
‘Now the hard work begins. Putting on a show that will give millions a night they will never forget in one of the most turbulent and trying years for our continent is no mean feat.
‘If anywhere is capable of it, it is the Liverpool City Region, with a little help from our friends in Ukraine.’
Director-general of the competition’s UK broadcaster, the BBC, Tim Davie, said of Liverpool’s win: ‘Congratulations to Liverpool.
‘We’ve had some incredible bids to be host city of the Eurovision Song Contest and I’m thrilled that Liverpool, the undisputed capital of pop music, and full of its energy and enthusiasm is going to host the event in 2023.
‘Of course, it should be the Ukrainians hosting, but I’m sure we’ll do justice to them, the wonders of Ukrainian culture, and in partnership, we’ll create something that’s truly special.
‘So, many, many congratulations. It’s been a tough competition but you’ve deserved the win and we’re all thrilled.
‘I look forward to the preparations and a very special event in 2023.’
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