Ahead of the 60th Eurovision Song Contest next month, Gaylife caught up with Graham Norton and Petra Mede, hosts of the anniversary show ‘Eurovision’s Greatest Hits’ which was held in London on 31st March, and will air on BBC1 later this month.
As part of the European Broadcasting Union’s celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, the BBC will be hosting a special concert showcasing some of the very best songs from the competition in Eurovision’s Greatest Hits, for broadcast on BBC One and countries across Europe and in Australia.
London’s Eventim Apollo Hammersmith will roll out the red carpet for this special anniversary event, which will feature an array of iconic performances from throughout the Eurovision Song Contest’s colourful 60-year history. The UK’s Eurovision presenter Graham Norton and ESC 2013 host, Sweden’s Petra Mede, will co-host the show, which, as well as featuring a number of both classic and contemporary acts, will also feature surprise guests and a show-stopping finale performance.
Are you looking forward to the 60th anniversary concert? Which acts are you most looking forward to?
Petra: Yes it’s going to be a lot of fun. The songs are going to be great. I love the Olsen Brothers.
Graham: I do like the Olsen Brothers too. We have also got the cream of the newer ones like Conchita. I think going into the 60th year, Conchita was the perfect winner. She really captured the spirit of Eurovision. People love her.
Do you love the quirky acts?
Graham: It is great as a commentator when someone is a quirky or funny act!
Petra: You have to take it seriously. In Sweden, we take it very seriously. We have six weeks to decide who will represent us. Eurovision absorbs the whole country.
Tell us about your own first memories of Eurovision.
Graham: I remember Dana winning! They were the Irish Abba! She put Ireland on an international stage. It seemed amazing at the time. I remember Dana sitting in her little dress with a water stream and village on the set.
Petra: I was four years old when Abba won. I was at kindergarten and the whole place went crazy. When I was 11, I became a lot more aware of the world around me and I really took it to my heart.
Any particular acts that stand out for you, maybe for the wrong reasons?
Graham: Sometimes people think it is a good idea but then it falls foul! I remember a turkey act for Ireland. When you saw the turkey exposed on the stage, we did have a good laugh.
Graham, do you think the British take Eurovision seriously?
Graham: Yes I do. There is a great sense of national pride on the night. There is always outrage if we don’t get the vote but Eurovision has such a fun and great spirit to it all.
Are you pleased to be working together?
Petra: Yes I was very star struck when I met Graham! Swedish TV is very influenced by the British and so for me to be invited by the BBC is crazy but fantastic!
Graham: It will be a lot of fun and I like the fact it is a European event, rather than a London-based event. It’s nice to have someone on stage with me.
Do you think the UK will ever win?
Graham: Yes I do. Germany has won it and so yes, I do think we will. The great thing about Eurovision is you can never second-guess it!
Do you hope Eurovision will go on for many more years to come?
Graham: I can’t imagine life without it. What’s great about this concert is everyone is a winner. It has been a huge part of their lives.
Petra: I hope so. There are so few TV shows that gather so many people together. Eurovision is one of those shows where everyone has an opinion.
And finally, if you could swap lives with one of the acts for 24 hours, whom would you choose?
Graham: I wouldn’t mind being Dima Bilan!
Petra: I’d love to swap with Johnny Logan. He is a legend and I love his songs. They are beautiful.
After a bit of digging around Gaylife managed to find out a little more about the show and some of the performers…
Reigning Eurovision Song Contest Champion Conchita Wurst, will sing ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’. Conchita went on to enjoy international superstardom following the most recent contest in Cophenhagen, Denmark, winning the competition with 290 points and giving Austria its first win since 1966.
Johnny Logan, who is best known as ‘Mr Eurovision’ and the only performer to have won the Eurovision Song Contest three times – twice as a performer (1980 and 1987) and once as a songwriter in 1992 – will perform a medley of the winning songs he performed at the competition – What’s Another Year from 1980 and Hold Me Now from 1987.
Danish duo The Olsen Brothers finished first in 2000 and will sing their winning entry Fly On The Wings of Love.
Loreen won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with a total of 372 points. Loreen will be performing her song Euphoria which, following the competition, went on to reach Numer 1 in the charts across Europe including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Loreen’s home country of Sweden.
The UK’s winning entry from 1976, Brotherhood Of Man, will perform their famous song Save Your Kisses For Me. Following the Eurovision Song Contest, the song became a major hit around the world, selling six million copies and made Number 1 in many countries and returned the group to the US Charts.
Dana International represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 in Birmingham and will take to the stage to perform Diva once again. Following the contest, Dana International released the winning song as a single in Europe and it became a hit, reaching number 11 in the UK charts and the top 10 in Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands.