Viewers will see the Eurovision ‘they know and love’, says Graham Norton

Graham Norton has said viewers will see “the Eurovision they know and love” when they tune into the grand final on Saturday night.

Irish presenter Norton, 61, will host coverage of the event live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, while Scott Mills and Rylan Clark will lead commentary on BBC Radio 2.

The inclusion of Israel’s contestant Eden Golan, who qualified for the final after a public vote, has sparked protests in Malmo, Sweden, where this year’s contest is being held.

On Thursday, thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters walked through the streets of Malmo, from Stortorget to Molleplatsen, to show their support for the people of Gaza and to condemn Israel’s participation in Eurovision amid the conflict.

Sweden Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final
Eden Golan will represent Israel in the final (Jessica Gow/TT News Agency/AP)

“But I must say coming home last night, the town didn’t seem kind of, you know, to be a big street party.

“But in the arena last night, I was there, and it was very much business as usual. You know, the crowds were going wild, songs… big reactions, it felt very much like any other Eurovision once you were in that arena.”

Asked by GMB presenter Richard Arnold if the competition’s organisers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), had been put in an “impossible position”, Norton said: “They have, but I think what’s interesting is the EBU made that decision to include Israel, but now it’s the viewers have decided they’re going to be in the grand final. The decision has kind of been taken away from the EBU.”

UK contestant Olly Alexander, who is the lead singer of pop band Years And Years, is this year hoping to impress with his song Dizzy in the final.

Eurovision 2024
Olly Alexander, right, rehearses his performance ahead of the final (Corinne Cumming/EBU/PA)

He said: “Because on telly, it’s so televisual, it’s like watching a music video or something.”

He later added: “I think when people tune into that grand final on Saturday night, they will see the Eurovision they know and love.”

Sweden hosts the competition following the victory of its singer Loreen in Liverpool last year, and it is also the 50-year anniversary of Abba giving Sweden its first win with their hit song Waterloo.

Irish entry Bambie Thug have also landed a place in the grand final, making them the first Irish finalist since 2018 following a vote for their performance of Doomsday Blue.

Norton said: “It’s like they’ve won already. So they got through and it’s the first time in ages, and actually they’re tipped to do very well. You know, probably top 10 I imagine.”

The grand final will be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 8pm on Saturday.

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