Eurovision: Naga Munchetty questions fairness of contest
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Graham Norton, 59, hosts coverage of the Eurovision Final on BBC One this evening, live from Turin, Italy. The Irish broadcaster presides over the 66th song contest, taking viewers through every twist and turn of the night. Flying the flag for the UK is TikTok star Sam Ryder, who will perform his song, ‘Space Man’ in the Final. Despite the UK’s recent poor Eurovision performances, this year could be different as bookmakers are forecasting a good result.
However, the British party may be cut short as the favourites to win are Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine with their song ‘Stefania’.
The war-torn nation is tipped to pick up votes from the other 24 countries that have made it to the final.
Each Eurovision seems to be marred in some sort of controversy, with the contest’s 2008 edition followed by Sir Terry Wogan’s, Graham’s predecessor as Eurovision host, outburst about countries voting based on politics.
The Irish broadcaster resigned from the programme after 35 years of hosting the show.
Sir Terry claimed Eurovision was “no longer a musical contest” during a candid interview about the song contest before it was confirmed he was stepping down.
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He said: “Western European participants have to decide whether they want to take part from here on in because their prospects are poor.
“I don’t want to be presiding over yet another debacle.
“Russia was going to be the political winner from the beginning.
“I think it’s tremendously disappointing from the point of view of the United Kingdom.
“I’d like to think that the British music industry and [Eurovision organisers] the European Broadcasting Union will find some way of making the voting a little bit fairer.
He added: “At least the voting used to be on the songs.
“Now it is really about national prejudice.
“As far as the Eastern bloc countries are concerned, they are voting for each other.”
It is currently more than a decade since the UK made the top ten of the Eurovision final.
It has also finished last at the previous two bills, including last year when James Newman failed to win a single point.
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In his interview, Sir Terry shared his views on why the UK struggled to get votes from other nations.
He said: “You’ve got blocs voting. You’ve got the Eastern bloc, the Baltic, the Scandinavians are always voting for each other.
“We’ve got nobody to vote for us.
“I’m only the commentator really. I think the British music industry and the BBC really have to look at this and see how we can avoid this yearly debacle that is the Eurovision song contest.
“We’ve only got one neighbour. That’s Ireland and they always give us a vote.”
Eurovision Final airs on BBC One tonight from 8pm.
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