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Commentators: The national hosts of Eurovision

14 May 2017 at 09:00 CEST
Sweden in the commentary booth Femke de Laat
Viewers at home can only imagine what is going on backstage at the Eurovision Song Contest. However there is help at hand in the form of the Eurovision commentators.

Commentators have a very important role in guiding the viewers through the Eurovision Song Contest. Some of them, like the ones in Germany, Ireland, Austria or Spain have been doing this job for years and their audiences know them very well.

Popular Irish TV personality Graham Norton provides commentary for the BBC in the United Kingdom and Eurovision scriptwriter in 2010, 2013 and 2016, Edward Af Sillén, is doing the same for Sweden. He's in good company this year though as he's joined by winner of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest and presenter of the 2016 show, Måns Zelmerlöw. We met them during the last dress rehearsal of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.

Edward has been providing commentary for Sweden since 2009. "I’ve always had different partners doing the job with me, which is great because I always get new energy." When asked if it is difficult to work with different people he replies: "Usually my work at home is writing scripts and directing, where I have to learn someone’s tone and personality so I can write for them, so no it's not difficult. It is a team effort, we watch the rehearsals together and we both react. I want viewers to hear about Måns' personal experience and opinions about the Eurovision Song Contest." The booths are small so it's a cosy setup in the commentator areas. "You absolutely need to get on with your colleagues. Thank God for Måns, we’ve been friends for over 7 years."

Måns has both won the Eurovision Song Contest and presented it. What's next? "There’s still one more thing. I still want to be singer-songwriter!” The pair worked well together in Kyiv and had fun along the way. "Edward is a genius, so I feel very safe with him and we’re having so much fun in this booth," he added.

Commentating may seem to be a different experience from presenting but there are many similarities. "It feels a lot like hosting in a way, now everybody knows my voice and Edward is an expert at writing. We also have kind of the same sense of humour as well," said Måns. "For us, a commentator is kind of a host. This is another way of hosting again but for the Swedish viewers, the national hosts," said Edward.

What's Måns Zelmerlöw’s focus as a commentator? "I think you need a balance, you need to give a lot of information about the artists and songs, but there are so many songs, you need a little fun in between as well." 

Måns and Edward were happy to be back in Eurovision again. Would they be willing to return again next year? "Absolutely," they both reply. "We've had a lot of fun." 

Thank you to Måns and Edward for taking the time to speak to