BBC confirms Eurovision 2021 hosting line-up as song contest rises like a phoenix

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The BBC has unveiled its Eurovision 2021 hosts, and some of the UK’s favourite queer talent is at the top of the roster.

Graham Norton will return to host the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 live from Rotterdam in the Netherlands on 22 May, while Ken Bruce will cover the contest on BBC Radio 2.

Meanwhile, singer-songwriter Chelcee Grimes will be joined by Rylan Clark-Neal and Scott Mills in London for coverage of the Eurovision semi-finals on 18 and 20 May.

Joining the hosts will be Amanda Holden, who will serve as the UK’s Eurovision spokesperson, meaning she will deliver the results of the nation’s professional jury vote live from London.

Graham Norton said he is “so excited” for the Eurovision Song Contest to return after the biggest event in the queer calendar was called off in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“After the past year we’ve had it’s exactly the kind of joy the world needs,” Norton said in a statement.

“The UK have a great entry with James Newman and ‘Embers’, it’s a banger and represents everything that Eurovision is. It’s arguably the best night of the year and I can’t wait – bring it on!”

Rylan Clark-Neal said: “There was a big Eurovision shaped hole in my life last year, so I am super excited to see what everyone brings to the table for 2021 – it’s the best time of the year!”

Chelcee Grimes – who is taking on Eurovision hosting duties for the first time – said the event is going to be “awesome”.

“I have always been a fan of Eurovision, and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to seeing all the weird and wonderful performances, as well as cheering on my mate James [Newman] who is waving the flag for the UK!”

The LGBT+ community was left heartbroken last year when the Eurovision Song Contest was cancelled due to the unrelenting threat of COVID-19.

In November 2020, organisers announced plans to ensure the contest could go ahead as planned for 2021 despite the pandemic.

As part of the plans, all participants will record a “live-on-tape” recording of their song that can be broadcast in the event that they cannot travel to Rotterdam to perform it live.

However, Eurovision organisers said at the time that they hoped all or most participants would still be able to travel to the Netherlands to sing their song live.

Eurovision bosses also introduced a host of rule changes last summer to ensure that the contest could go ahead as planned. Under the new rules, contestants will be allowed to use pre-recorded backing vocals for the first time ever in an effort to reduce the number of delegates travelling across Europe.