Hannah Waddingham’s most iconic Eurovision 2023 moments: ‘The real Queen of England’

Hannah Waddingham Eurovision

Actor Hannah Waddingham captured the hearts of queers everywhere with her joyful, hilarious and iconic co-hosting of Eurovision 2023.

Sweden’s Loreen may have taken home the crown on Saturday (13 May) and made history as the first female two-time winner of the competition with “Tattoo” – but maybe, just maybe, the true winner is Hannah Waddingham.

The Ted Lasso star hosting ‘gay Christmas’ – or the Eurovision Song Contest, as it’s better known – has made her an indisputable internet sensation.

Waddingham, 48, has enjoyed a distinguished, two decade-long career on Broadway and the West End, before shining in HBO’s Game of Thrones as Septa Unella, and in Netflix’s Sex Education, where she plays Sofia, one of Jackson Marchetti’s (Kedar Williams-Stirling) mums. 

She is currently starring as Rebecca Welton in the third season of genuinely heartwarming Apple TV+ comedy-drama Ted Lasso.

Eurovision, however, has seen her name trend on Twitter and garnered her a host of celebrity fans, from Nigella Lawson to Carol Vorderman. Waddingham captivated viewers with her elastic facial expressions, her random dance moves and utter willingness to dive into the spirit of this deliciously queer celebration of campness and creativity.

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The internet’s newest ‘mother’ came, saw and ATE.

When Dutch podcaster and OUTtv host GJ Kooijman informed Waddingham of her ‘mother’ status at a Eurovision press conference on Friday (12 May), despite some initial confusion, the actor appeared thrilled to accept the title. 

Kooijman said: “My question is for Hannah who I think the internet has now legitimately called ‘mother’ – and I think we all agree.”

Waddingham hilariously jumped in to voice her confusion, saying: “Can I just ask if that’s a good thing?” After she was reassured by Kooijman and Eurovision co-presented and Drag Race UK judge Graham Norton that it is indeed a good thing, the actor said “thank you” with a beaming smile. 

Waddingham’s talent for accents and languages didn’t go unnoticed either, presenting the first semi-final on Tuesday (9 May) in flawless French and adding: “You see, Europe, some of us Brits do bother to learn another language.” Scream! 

She even learned a smattering of Ukrainian at the second semi-final from Ukrainian singer and co-host Julia Sanina.

After Austria’s performance on Thursday (11 May), Waddingham endeared herself to songwriters everywhere by calling for appreciation of their craft. Austria’s Teya & Salena’s earworm “Who the Hell is Edgar?” is about Edgar Allen Poe (and why ever not?) but also takes aim at music streaming sites. 

Waddingham said: “By the way, please let’s never forget that a song starts with a writer and a dream and look what they create for us all.”

She finished with “let’s hear it for the songwriters”, to rapturous audience cheers. 

Other notable – read, iconic – moments include the actor’s undeniable chemistry with co-host Norton, Sanina showing Waddingham how to flex her air guitar skills, and Waddingham’s propensity for boogieing at every available moment.  

And the outfits. Waddingham did not just slay, she laid waste with her Eurovision looks.

Her rainbow silk dress (entirely for the queers, let’s not lie) at the first semi-final and her primrose yellow strapless fishtail number at the second were merely the warm-up for her two grand final outfits – a slinky, shimmering plum gown and a bejewelled, blush pink look with feathered sleeves.

But as one fan wrote: “Hannah Waddingham could steal the show dressed in a f**king bin bag with twigs in her hair. Just LOOK AT HER.” Word.

Hannah Waddingham and host Graham Norton interact during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2023. (OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Beloved chef Nigella Lawson – forever immortalised by Ella Vaday’s Snatch Game impression in season three of Drag Race UK – is now a Waddingham stan.

Lawson tweeted on Sunday (14 May): “Missed #Eurovision2023 because was on the road/in the air, and only just catching up now. Just need to say I love Hannah Waddingham with every cell in my being.

“But then, who doesn’t?”

Another fan is former Countdown presenter and the incisive political commentator we didn’t know we needed Carol Vorderman, who posted: “Can I just vote for Hannah Waddingham to be on everything on the telly at all times please?”

She followed her tribute with the words “utter goddess”. 

Fans have even called her the “real Queen of England” and frankly, we cannot disagree. 

Hannah Waddingham for queen, prime minister and ruler of the universe.

You can catch up with all the happenings at the Eurovision 2023 grand final here.