'A huge honour': Graham Norton announced as host of Eurovision Grand Final

'A huge honour': Graham Norton announced as host of Eurovision Grand Final

GRAHAM NORTON has said it is 'a huge honour' to have been chosen to host the Grand Final of this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

The Irish comedian and broadcaster has been commenting on the competition for British broadcaster BBC since 2009.

However, Norton will now take centre stage in front of a global audience of 160m for the 2023 Grand Final in Liverpool.

Speaking after today's announcement, Norton said he felt 'a big responsibility' to 2022 winners Ukraine, who were unable to host this year's event due to the conflict in the country.

"It's no secret how much I adore Eurovision, I truly believe it's the greatest show on earth and every year that I'm involved it's a huge honour," he said.

"This year is even more special and I personally feel a big responsibility to make our Ukrainian colleagues proud."

Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham, singer and presenter Alesha Dixon and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina will take charge of the two semi-finals on May 9 and 11.

The trio will then join Norton at the Liverpool Arena for the final showpiece on Saturday, May 13.

'I couldn't resist'

However, fans of Norton's unique Eurovision commentary style need fear not.

As well as hosting the Grand Final, the Irishman will divide his time between the stage and the commentary box as he and comedian Mel Giedroyc take turns commentating on the event.

"Alongside presenting the Grand Final to the world, I just couldn't resist the opportunity to get back into the commentary box for those watching in the UK!" added Norton.

Norton with his Eurovision Grand Final co-hosts, from left, Julia Sanina, Hannah Waddingham and Alesha Dixon (Image: BBC)

British actress Waddingham, who won an Emmy for her role as Rebecca Welton in Ted Lasso, said she felt privileged to join the line-up.

"There's something really special about Eurovision which is why I've been an avid fan for years — from the camaraderie of all the acts backstage, to the epic scale of the show," she said.

"It's one of the world's greatest music festivals, but this year, perhaps more than ever, it is such a great honour to be standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, a country which has carried itself with such strength and unity.

"It is my great privilege to join Eurovision this year of all years."

Ireland will be represented in the first semi-final on May 9 by Wild Youth with their song, We Are One.