Eurovision: 50 of Terry Wogan and Graham Norton's most scathing quotes

Monday, 7th May 2018, 12:08 pm
Updated Monday, 7th May 2018, 12:35 pm

This Saturday marks the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, with the Portuguese capital of Lisbon on hosting duties.

The best part of Eurovision has always been the pithy commentary, whether from the late, great Sir Terry Wogan, or from Graham Norton, who replaced his compatriot in 2009.

They have both given the contest a delightfully acerbic edge, poking fun at the expense of those onstage, or sharing the despair of the hours-long telethon with viewers at home.

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Here are 50 of the best quotes from the two commentators to get you in the spirit.

Terry Wogan

On 2006 heavy-metal winners Lordi: "Every year I expect it to be less foolish, and every year it is more so."

Introducing the 2007 broadcast: "Who knows what hellish future lies ahead? Actually I do, I've seen the rehearsals."

On Iceland's 1990 entry: "This has been typified as a Eurosong… they do a little walking and bounce about a bit."

(Photo: BBC)

On the UK's 1995 effort: "It’ll either win by a mile or it’s the Diadora League next year."

"Every year I go to see it and every year I say: 'Isn't it terrible? It's worse than last year!'"

On Belgium's 2003 entry: "They’ve got four languages in Belgium… and they’re singing in an imaginary one. The very essence of Eurovision."

"It's supposed to be bad. And the worse it is, the more fun it is."

On France's 2006 entry: "That's the same song the French have been singing since they hung the washing up on the Maginot Line."

"I don't make the mistake of thinking it's a major musical event. I love the Eurovision Song Contest and it will continue long after I'm gone. Just please don't ask me to take it seriously."

When the Swedish points announcer struggled with countries' names in 2008: "It's not easy this. You have to move your lips and it's not easy. Are you related to the Director General of Swedish television?"

"Spain is next, with a song called 'Bloody Mary'. That reminds me, I haven't touched a drop yet."

(Photo: BBC)

During the 2002 show: "I don't know about you, I'm going to have a stiff drink."

"It's been 29 years since the Netherlands won the Eurovision Song Contest. After this performance, make that 30."

"This skit must have seemed like a tremendous idea at the time, but actually it's covering a commercial break for Finnish television. And if you don't mind me expressing an opinion, I'd prefer the commercials."

"That was France. Gosh, wasn't that awful?"

With 24 out of 25 songs performed: "Hold on. Be strong. Just cling to the wreckage. It will be over soon."

On the interval performance in 2009: "I've seen this. This goes on for quite some time, so if you fancy making yourself a stiff drink, or putting the kettle on, or walking the dog, this is the time to do it."

"I'm trying to remind myself of Serbia and Montenegro's song. What in hell's name was it? 109 points? I wouldn't have given them one."

On a backstage skit in 2007: "Is this supposed to be funny? No, of course not – it is the Eurovision Song Contest. What's the matter with me? Can we please watch the commercials? Why are these green room moments such an unmitigated disaster?"

"It's been a wonderful, wonderful evening. I mean, not musically of course, but in terms of spectacle..."

(Photo: BBC)

Graham Norton

On Albania's 2015 entry: “OK… That’s three minutes we’ll never get back, but look at it this way: We’ll never have to hear that song again.”

"It's a grey, damp night outside, so there is a slight smell of wet dog in the arena."

When the 2014 host suggested older viewers may not understand hashtags: “Don’t patronise me Nikolaj. I’m 51, not dead!”

"My one tip is, don't start looking at his eyebrows, you won't be able to stop."

On Britain's chances a few years ago: “Give them a nudge, every vote counts... Oh, I do hope we get some votes tonight.”

“This year’s theme is celebrating diversity. Let’s see who they’ve chosen to host. Oh. It’s three white men.”

On Poland's 2014 entry: “‘We are Slavic girls, we know how to use our charming beauty, now shake what your mama gave you.’ It’s essentially a feminist anthem.”

(Photo: BBC)

"You keep thinking this will make sense in a moment. But no."

"They’re dressed like posh hospital workers from the future.”

When the host spoke to members of the audience: "Nothing has gone wrong. This was planned."

“The song is called ‘Alcohol is Free’. Ironic to sing that in Sweden, where it’s anything else. You have to sell your car to get a pint.”

"The last few years the semi-finals have weeded out some of the Eurovision lunacy... but not this year."

On Norway's entry in 2015: “He said he did something terrible as a boy. We don’t know what it was. It might have been write this song.”

"If you think my job's easy, check out the guy pretending to play the saxophone for three minutes."

On Albania's 2012 entry: “She’s a devoted experimental jazz musician. She can do extraordinary things with her voice… not pleasant things, but extraordinary.”

Eurovision host: "It's really interesting to see people's emotions when they win."Graham Norton: "It's not that interesting though, is it?"

(Photo: BBC)

On Italy's 2017 performance: "If you're going to get someone to dress as a gorilla, at least get a decent outfit. That looks like couple of old car seats sewn together."

On Russia's 2012 effort: “It’s an unusual Eurovision this year. There are lots of songs that are really quite good and brilliantly sung. This is not one of those.”

On Hungary's 2016 entrant: "If it doesn't work out for him, he's always got his Hotel Management degree. I feel he's going to use it."

On the fashion sense of 2015's Georgian entry: "Her outfit does involve some roadkill. I fear some Georgian crows were harmed in the making of this act.”

On a Hungarian performance: "Don't worry, he hasn't brought his mother's ashes on stage. It is, in fact, a mini milk churn. Who knew. Oh, and in case you are wondering, there hasn't been a stage invader. She is a fully trained dancer. She is meant to be there."

On the name of Hungary's 2015 entrant: “Her name was unpronounceable so she decided to go by her nickname, which is Boggie. She could have called herself anything. Trixie-bell, Floo-Floo, but no. Boggie.”

(Photo: BBC)

Eurovision hosts: "There is so much love in the room tonight." Graham Norton: "Not for you."

On Germany's 2016 entrant: "Maybe I'm just old and grumpy but there isn't a single thing about this woman that doesn't annoy me. Here's Jamie-Lee, making Björk seem great."

After a lengthy ballad in 2015: “You still there? It’s over. It really is over!”

"Ooh, some dodgy notes in there. I wonder if there's something going wrong technically. Or maybe, he's just not great."

When it was announced there were 14 songs still to go in 2016: "She says that as if it's a good thing!"

On some scantily clad backing dancers: “It is quite a good song, but you won’t notice because you’ll be distracted by the… oh, let’s call them dancers.”

"She claims to be the only yodeller in Romania. Probably because the others don't talk about it. That's the first rule of yodelling club."

"It's got everything; a pop tempo, a disco beat and two half naked men splashing about in a paddling pool."

On the Danish points announcer: "It’s obviously dress-down Saturday in Denmark."

The Eurovision Song Contest 2018 is on BBC One on Saturday at 8pm.

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