Eurovision: At least Graham Norton's a winner


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The Independent Culture

Ever since Sir Terry Wogan handed over the baton in 2009, there has never been any doubt that Graham Norton and the Eurovision Song Contest are a perfect match. Making his fifth appearance as BBC 1’s resident commentator – this year in the Swedish city of Malmo – Norton once again played the role of mischievous gatecrasher, taking delicious aim at the array of hopefuls, presenters and merry idiots on Saturday night.

While 2012 was all about “Poor Engelbert Humperdinck” this year’s ever-present Nortonism soon became “Poor Bonnie Tyler” as it quickly became apparent that the decision to entrust British hopes with a well-known singer from yesteryear had once again failed to cut the mustard. The veteran Welsh star, who performed the optimistic ditty “Believe In Me”, finished the evening 19th out of 26 – in fairness an improvement on Humperdinck, who memorably had to endure the humiliation of coming second from bottom.

As the vanquished Bonnie no doubt prepared to knock back another Cinzano and lemonade as the votes piled up in favour of Denmark, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, our host helpfully observed:  “I’m no Carol Vorderman, but I don’t think the UK can win now.” During the lengthy voting process, Norton would occasionally feel duty-bound to instil a sense of kitsch drama. “Azerbaijan could still do this,” he assured us, before Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest sealed victory.

Eurovision without Graham Norton? Surely that’s when we all finally switch off.