The 2023 Eurovision Hosts Include "Ted Lasso"'s Hannah Waddingham
More details about The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest have been released, and the Eurovision presenters are . . . chef's kiss. Graham Norton will present the Grand Final on 13 May, which is being held in Liverpool, along with Ukrainian singer and frontwoman of The Hardkiss band, Julia Sanina. They will be joined by "Ted Lasso" star Hannah Waddingham, and "Britain's Got Talent" judge Alesha Dixon.
In addition to the main show, Norton will be joined by comedian Mel Giedroyc in the commentary box to offer witty insights on the performances, while Ukrainian broadcaster Timur Miroshnychenko will work alongside Liverpudlian presenter Sam Quek on the Eurovision livestream on YouTube. It will be a full-on Eurovision buildup, too, as two live semi-finals will be broadcast on the BBC on 9 and 11 May, presented by Waddingham, Dixon, and Sanina, with commentary from Rylan Clark and Scott Mills.
Fans took to social media to express their excitement at the lineup, particularly with Waddingham joining the Eurovision gang. "Hannah Waddingham presenting Eurovision is going to be one of the most powerful and iconic things to ever happen probably," wrote on Twitter user. Another added: "hannah waddingham hosting the eurovision???? we are WINNING TODAY".
It was announced on 25 July that the UK would be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023. After an impressive performance, Sam Ryder almost sang the UK to victory with his song "Space Man", but was beaten to the top spot by Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra. While the competition is traditionally held in the country that won the year before, the devastating war in Ukraine means it is not safe for the competition to take place in there.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 24 Feb., 2022 has been catastrophic. More than 8 million Ukrainians have fled the country since, making it Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II. Thousands of people have died in the year-long war, while President Vladimir Putin's brutal reign is ongoing.
Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra, who won the competition with the song "Stefania", sold their trophy for £712,000. The trophy was auctioned in a raffle on Facebook with the aim of raising money to buy drones for the Ukraine military.
While the Ukrainian culture minister, Oleksandr Tkachenko, argued that his country was ready to host Eurovision 2023 and said the European Broadcasting Union should "consider how to change the rules of Eurovision for the country that is fighting for independence and democracy", a compromise was reached.
Image Source: Getty/ Marco BERTORELLO
The UK will now be hosting Eurovision 2023 on Ukraine's behalf, and BBC director general Tim Davie has promised the show will be "a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity". Ukraine will automatically qualify for the Grand Final along with the "Big 5", which includes the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
The BBC had received interest from 20 cities to host the competition, but ultimately Liverpool won the bid and will welcome fans, acts, and support during May.