Ahead of this years contest in Rotterdam, the BBC have spoken with Graham Norton, who has been providing commentary for the United Kingdom since 2009.
How does it feel being able to go ahead with a live contest for Eurovision 2021?
“I’m so thrilled that Eurovision is back this year. Even if people can’t travel to the venue to celebrate the contest, I think the return of the show will be a real highlight for all the fans of the song contest.”
Did you miss it last year?
“It’s strange to think back to last year and how frightened and uncertain we all were. Although the contest didn’t happen in 2020, I took great comfort in the show that the Eurovision team put together. It was emotional, comforting and optimistic, which are really the qualities of the best Eurovision’s.”
Eurovision feels like the perfect tonic after the year we have had, why do you think that is?
“As the vaccines roll out and we see light at the end of the tunnel, the contest is a great opportunity for people to come together and celebrate. It is interesting that even after this difficult year, the songs aren’t endless maudlin ballads. It seems the spirit of this Eurovision is one big party!”
What do you think about the UK entry this year?
“James Newman has done a great job with the UK entry this year. Embers is such a striking image for where we are. All the friends and family we haven’t seen but the embers are still glowing ready to catch alight once again. Hopefully the Eurovision audience will embrace that idea and the song and we’ll do well!”
What is your favourite style of Eurovison songs?
“For me it is a combination of the song and the performance on the night. So many times, a song I haven’t really rated, will cut through on the evening and makes it mark on the audience. That’s what makes the contest exciting. There is no winning formula!”
This is the 65th Eurovision Song Contest, what makes the fans so loyal and passionate?
“The devotion of the Eurovision fans is truly inspiring. It is also very generous. They may have a favourite but they support every country. It is an event that reaffirms that nations can come together and compete without it becoming a toxic mess!”
What do you love about being a part of the Eurovision family?
“Becoming part of the Eurovision family has been a dream come true. I was a long-time fan of the contest and I hope that people know that while I may poke fun at some of the excesses and absurdities on the night, I’m doing it as someone who loves Eurovision.”
If you weren’t hosting the show, how would you be celebrating Eurovision?
“If I wasn’t hosting I imagine I would be at home cheering for my favourites surrounded by assorted European snacks and various empty bottles!”
Do you have any Eurovision traditions that you do?
“Before I became The BBC commentator I didn’t really have any Eurovision traditions, but now I always where a suit even though I’m not on camera and of course we raise a glass at song nine in loving memory of Sir Terry!”
Graham Norton will provide commentary at the Eurovision 2021 grand final, for the United Kingdom, on Saturday 22nd May at 20:00 GMT.