Now that the shortlist for host cities has been whittled down to two, there is much speculation as to who will host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, which will be held in the United Kingdom. Graham Norton, the BBC commentator for Eurovision since 2009, had been speculated by some as a contender, but confirmed on Wednesday September 28th that he was not interested in doing so. Speaking to hosts of radio show This Morning Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, Norton said that he didn’t want to give up commentator duties, Radio Times reports.
Additionally, Norton asked Willoughby and Schofield if they were interested in hosting themselves, and said that he would be willing to briefly appear onstage before “running back to [his] rabbit hutch” and resuming commentary.
The United Kingdom will host Eurovision 2023
After Ukraine’s victory in 2022 with “Stefania”, it was revealed that due to the ongoing Russian invasion they would be unable to safely host the 2023 edition. The United Kingdom quickly stepped up. They were the best contender to take over hosting duties, as they had finished second in the 2022 contest with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man”, and have a history of hosting when other countries are unable to. The 2023 edition will be the ninth time the contest has been hosted in the United Kingdom.
With Norton out of the running to host, other speculated hosts include DJ Scott Mills and Love Island winner Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu. This Morning host Willoughby also suggested Rylan Clarke-Neal, a model who has been in various cover bands throughout his career and also appeared on Celebrity Love Island.
Norton declined to suggest who else he thought might host the program in his place, but did say of the possible host cities that “they’ll [both] look great on camera, they both have a big musical tradition, so, you know, either one. May the best city win.” Glasgow and Liverpool were announced as the final two potential host cities earlier this week.
Graham Norton’s Eurovision History
Norton took over hosting duties in 2009, after the departure of Terry Wogan. He is well-known to Eurovision fans worldwide, as he has been featured in the contest; most notably in 2014, when the Danish hosts surprised him in his commentator’s booth for a brief interview. He is also more respectful of and enthusiastic about the contest than his predecessor, and is seen by some as one of the faces of Eurovision in the U. K. Norton is also known for his long-running talk show The Graham Norton Show, appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, and for having written several books. He appeared as himself in the 2019 movie Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga.
The United Kingdom at Eurovision
Despite a recent slump in results, the UK is one of the most successful countries at the Eurovision Song Contest. Debuting at the second edition ever of the Contest in 1957, the United Kingdom has won the competition on five separate occasions. The most recent win for the UK was in 1997 with Katrina and the Waves, singing “Love Shine A Light”. The UK also holds the record for the number of second place finishes – currently at 16. In 2022, the UK was represented by Sam Ryder with his song “SPACE MAN”. The performance managed to impress juries and televoters, and the UK finished in second place with 466 points, their best placing since 1998.
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News Source: Radio Times
Photo Credit: Pajiba