When the late Terry Wogan retired from his 35-year tenure as speaker for 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 match. Any doubts that Norton couldn’t fill Wogan’s footsteps were quickly dissipated in a cloud of confetti.
Norton will be in the commentary booth again this year for the BBC’s final big report (May 14).
Meanwhile Rylan Clark and Scott Mills have held their ground and presented the semifinals this week (May 10th and 12th).
Norton has been known to scoff at the length of the four-hour finale and for noticing “someone dressed up” to announce the results of each participating country. Hopefully he’s kinder to Sam Ryder, the UK entry for 2022.
Let’s recall some of Norton’s most violent phrases:
“This is Marmite if everyone hated Marmite.” – on Germany’s performance “I Don’t Feel Hate” by Jendrick (2021)
“Less Destiny’s Child. More Destiny’s inappropriate aunt.” – on Serbia’s performance of pop trio Hurricane (2021)
“Now it’s time for the flag ceremony. It’s a new tradition. It’s a way of making 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 part when she stopped the music.” – on Slovenia’s performance faking a technical error (2018)
“If you’re going to get someone to dress up as a gorilla, at least get yourself a decent outfit. It looks like old car seats sewn together.” – on Italy’s contribution “Occidentali’s Karma” (2017)
“The producers put the running order together, and given that no second-place song ever won, I don’t think they put much thought into it. I’m 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 never need 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 Finnish results reader’s surprise rap (2014)
“Oh thanks, it’s so much fun! It’s like the gay wedding I’ll never have! It went in my wine!” – in response to Eurovision presenters showering him with confetti in his special commentary booth (2014)
“If you just joined 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 sensitive elderly, now might be the time to move them to the utility room.” – Comment before Cezar’s shrill strobe performance of It’s My Life for Romania (2013)
“This will scare you – she’s a dedicated experimental jazz musician. She can do extraordinary things with her voice… not pleasant, but extraordinary.” – Introducing Albania’s Eurovision contestant Rona Nishliu with “Suus” (2012)
“He looks like a nice boy who’s gone astray, doesn’t he?” – via Eric Saade’s performance of Popular for Sweden (2011)
“They drink quite a lot. It’s almost as if they think they won’t perform again.” – about the UK’s backing dancers (2010)
“The bad news is that you will see Albania. She’s only 17 so please keep that in mind. Where was her mother? Why didn’t she step in and say no?” – on Albania’s performance of Carry Me in Your Dreams performed by Kejsi Tola (2009)
The grand finale of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place on Saturday 14 May at 8pm on BBC One. Here’s everything you need to know about the competition.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/eurovision/eurovision-graham-norton-commentary-b2078941.html Eurovision: Graham Norton’s wildest commentary moments