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Meet Rylan, the new BBC Semi-Final co-commentator

08 May 2018 at 13:26 CEST
Rylan Clark-Neal, the BBC's new Semi-Final co-commentator BBC
The commentators are the voice of the Eurovision Song Contest. They speak to the 200 million people who tune in from all over the world. Our colleagues at the BBC spoke with self-confessed superfan Rylan Clark-Neal, the new Semi-Final commentator for UK viewers, to learn more about his love for Eurovision and to find out where he will be during the Grand Final.

Rylan Clark-Neal, born in 1988, finished fifth on the ninth series of The X Factor in 2012 and won the United Kingdom's Celebrity Big Brother 11 in 2013.

"I just love the fact that it’s the world coming together and it’s always got a good message behind it. Even though it’s a competition and its got competitive elements to it, everyone that I’ve met who’s competing seems more bothered about competing rather than winning. That’s really nice because even though they all want to win, it doesn’t feel as though people are against each other. It feels like everyone is together having the same experience," Rylan explains.

Ahead of this year's contest, Rylan spoke with several of this year's contestants:

When asked about his all-time favourites, he has a hard time choosing: "I love Sertab Erener with Everyway That I Can – that was an absolute tune. I think Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw and Loreen were also amazing. There are so many that I could list off!"

Has Rylan already decided upon his favourites for this year's contest? "I really like Benjamin from Sweden with Dance You Off, and Equinox from Bulgaria with Bones."

British commentators, like the late Terry Wogan and Grand Final commentator Graham Norton, are known for their cheeky commentary, aiming to combine the seriousness of the contest with some typical British humour. "I am looking forward to having a laugh and some fun and being a bit cheeky, as well as seeing what people bring to the stage." Rylan can't help but feel for the acts that don't qualify tonight: "It’s got to be awful to have gotten this far and performed at the Semis and not get through."

While some Semi-Final commentators have to travel back home to see the Grand Final on television, Rylan has the opportunity to stay in Lisbon. "I cannot go to Eurovision and not stay for the Grand Final! I’m looking forward to cheering SuRie on from the front," he concludes.

Rylan will provide commentary during the Semi-Final together with Scott Mills on BBC Four. Commentary during the Grand Final, broadcast on BBC One, will be provided by Graham Norton.