The presenters of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest have said it is “so much more than a competition” as Liverpool prepares to host the final.
Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon, who is hosting along with actress Hannah Waddingham, Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina and presenter Graham Norton, said holding the competition on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine gave it a “whole new meaning”.
She said: “It’s so much more than just a competition. It’s very important. We feel that sense of responsibility, to do it with joy, love.”
Sanina said the contest was a “big deal” for those watching back in her home country and they were “very grateful” to the UK for hosting on Ukraine’s behalf.
Waddingham, who stars in American comedy-drama Ted Lasso, said: “We have to always balance the joy and the love with what Julia just said.
“You know, people voting from the bomb shelters hits me more than anything and there’s the reason I wanted to get involved.
“Meeting the horrific things that we know are going on, and I don’t want us to shy away from that, but meeting it with love and joy and music and all our hands holding each other up and holding each other together.”
Sanina, speaking at the BBC media launch on Wednesday, said it was her first visit to Liverpool.
She said: “The first thing that I saw were so many Ukrainian flags and Ukrainian slogans all over the city centre and that makes me feel so, first of all speechless, and then heartwarming.
“Very friendly people and friendly city and I’m sure that Liverpool can rule the party and can make this party a Ukrainian party as well.”
The three female presenters met for the first time on Wednesday and joked they were ready to form a new girl group.
“So you’ve got three giddy fan girls, right here.”
Norton appeared for the media launch via video link and in a reference to an unstable internet signal, joked: “This is peak Eurovision right here.”
He added: “I don’t know what it’s going to be like having it in the UK, I still can’t quite get my head around that it’s going to be in the UK, that it’s going to be in Liverpool. I don’t know what it’s going to feel like.”