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Our Liverpool 2023 hosts: "A golden age of Eurovision"

12 May 2023 at 23:34 CEST
Our Eurovision Song Contest 2023 hosts attend the official press conference at Liverpool Arena. Chloe Hashemi/ EBU
Our hosts Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham and Julia Sanina have been welcoming us to the Semi-Finals all week. And now Graham Norton joins them to welcome us to the Grand Final of the 67th Eurovision Song Contest.
Our Eurovision Song Contest 2023 hosts attend the official press conference at Liverpool Arena. Chloe Hashemi/ EBU

Just before the jury show of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, the performances of which the juries of the 37 participating countries give their votes on, the 4 hosts of the Saturday night's show attended a press conference, to answer some questions from the media.

It's a Eurovision Song Contest like no other in 2023, with one country having had to step in to host on behalf of another. Our hosts are well aware of the challenge that the host broadcaster the BBC has been tasked with, with Alesha Dixon saluting the people on the ground who have made her role that bit easier to navigate:

"I couldn’t be prouder. I saw some comments yesterday which really made me smile - people saying how great the BBC is doing, that it’s a masterclass in TV. This year it’s taken on a new meaning, a deeper meaning. I feel so proud of everyone. Everything is tied to perfection and it makes our job so small." 

Graham Norton points towards the guest performances that we got to see earlier in the week at the Semi-Finals, through which the BBC got to tell the story of the country that they are hosting on behalf of, as well as the reasons why.

"It’s still a party and it’s still a huge celebration, but now it’s a party with such soul. I love that it’s got that extra layer this year. I watched the Semi-Finals and I cried at some of the numbers that we got. And you don’t get that all the time."

Long-time commentator of the Eurovision Song Contest for the BBC, Graham Norton, has a reputation for embarking on his commentary duties with tongue placed firmly in cheek. But he concedes that the Contest he's taking viewers at home through nowadays is very different to the one when he started in that job 14 years ago.

"I think we are going through a golden age of the Eurovision Song Contest. I really think the shows of the last few years have been great, with really good songs. I still make jokes, but you are finding humour in different things. You can’t laugh at the acts anymore. The show is making big stars now - take Måneskin, for example. And it’s a bunch of really great songs too."

And when it comes to big stars, we have one of our own hosting the main event on Saturday night - Ukrainian rockstar Julia Sanina! When Julia is asked if she would ever enter the Eurovision Song Contest with her own band The Hardkiss, however, she makes a frank admission!

"We tried to compete in 2016, but of course that year it was Jamala that won the competition. I won’t say no, I won’t say yes. But I’m more likely to do this now. I do love the Eurovision audience."

Julia's fellow host Alesha Dixon unfortunately makes no such admission when it comes to the question of whether her former band might have entered it...

Mis-Teeq with the bump and flex wouldn’t have been right for Eurovision!"

We would have had you here with open arms, Alesha! Now that the MC has arrived at the Eurovision Song Contest on different terms, Alesha is much more gushing about the experience she's currently enjoying.

"I’ve been blown away all week by the passion, the enthusiasm and the energy. It feels really special. I’ve truly been blown away."

Our Hosts for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 BBC

Actress Hannah Waddingham is new to the hosting experience, with Liverpool 2023 being only her second presenting gig, after the Olivier Awards she hosted earlier in the year. But Hannah can already draw parallels between hosting the Eurovision Song Contest and the awards ceremony for the world of British theatre.

"The winners and the losers, everyone makes the effort of their lives. Everyone here - we’re all just people trying to put on a massive, joyous show. All unified by music."

Or, as she puts it more succinctly:

"We’re hamsters in glittery jumpsuits, running around this big wheel."

Our Eurovision Song Contest 2023 hosts attend the official press conference at Liverpool Arena. Chloe Hashemi/ EBU

The versatility of Liverpool 2023's presenting lineup is clear to anyone that's already familiar with each host's work across different professions, or indeed to anyone tuning in to see them on Saturday night for the first time. But the versatility is also demonstrated when each one is asked the question about what they are most looking forward to about Saturday night's Grand Final.

Graham:

"I’m looking forward to announcing the winner!"

Hannah:

"I’m really looking forward to Sam Ryder and the magnificent group of people he has performing with him. I got a little emotional watching it earlier in rehearsals. I had to go off stage and take a moment."

Julia:

"The flag parade because it’s such a great opening, and it has lots of Ukrainian stars and Ukrainian songs."

Alesha:

"I'm looking forward to absolutely everything, and then to having a good party afterwards!" 

Our Eurovision Song Contest 2023 hosts attend the official press conference at Liverpool Arena. Chloe Hashemi/ EBU

Eveything you need to know about tuning in to the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 Grand Final on Saturday 13 May can be found right here.

Listen to all 37 songs of the Eurovision Song Contest via your favourite streaming services, and watch the official music videos on our YouTube channel:

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