Eurovision 2024 Semi-Finals - Scott Mills, Rylan & Richie Anderson On What To Expect



30 April 2024 – The world’s biggest music competition returns this May as the 68th Eurovision Song Contest, one of the longest-running and most-watched non-sporting events in the world, is broadcast live from Malmö on the BBC.

On Tuesday 7 and Thursday 9 May, the Semi-Finals will be hosted by commentators Scott Mills and Rylan, live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Over on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, Richie Anderson will be taking the reins for the first time and leading the commentary on the airwaves.

As one of the ‘Big Five’ countries (United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France, Italy), the United Kingdom gains automatic access to the Saturday Grand Final, and as last year’s winner, Sweden are also guaranteed a place in the Grand Final.

In the days leading up to the big night, the BBC will also be providing coverage of the two Semi-Finals, and in a Eurovision first, the ‘Big Five’ countries and this year’s hosts Sweden, will be providing viewers with early preview performances at the Semi-Finals. Representing the United Kingdom, Olly Alexander will perform his song ‘Dizzy’ in full for the first time on the Eurovision stage during the first Semi-Final on Tuesday 7 May.

Ten countries from each Semi-Final will win a place in the Grand Final on Saturday 11 May, where 26 acts will perform for their country. But only one can be crowned the new Eurovision champion.

The BBC’s Eurovision Song Contest 2024 coverage is a BBC Studios Entertainment production, commissioned by Kalpna Patel-Knight, Head of Entertainment at the BBC. The Executive Producers are Andrew Cartmell and Lee Smithurst. The Creative Director for BBC Studios Entertainment North is Pete Ogden and Suzy Lamb is the Managing Director of Entertainment & Music at BBC Studios. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Ruby Kuraishe.

The Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Finals air on Tuesday 7 May and Thursday 9 May, at 8pm on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.

Interview with Scott Mills, Commentator on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

What was it like hosting Eurovision on home turf last year?

It was all that I’d hoped for and more, I loved that it was a week long festival in Liverpool. People were going along with their families enjoying days out, they had big screens everywhere, they had so much entertainment going on, so even if you didn’t have a ticket to the arena, you could go along and enjoy the Eurovision experience. It supersized the event and it was brilliant to be at home and have the whole of Liverpool embrace it, it was honestly a magical week.

Do you think hosting in Liverpool last year has bought a new found love of Eurovision to the UK?

Yes! I think it started with Sam Ryder when we came second in Turin in 2022, the fact that we did do so well, plus then taking on the role of host country on behalf of Ukraine, meant that Eurovision became so talked about that even people who had never watched Eurovision enjoyed it. For me, as a fan that’s great to see, there was definitely a new love for Eurovision and I think that will continue. The Semi-Finals are now on BBC One so it shows you that the audience is there and wanting more.

Have you been to Sweden before?

Yes! Sweden has hosted it twice in recent years, I was there the last time it was in Malmö in 2013, after Loreen first won with Euphoria in 2012, and then I was there again in 2016 when the competition was held in Stockholm. I loved Sweden so much I’ve been back on my own accord, once to Stockholm and one year I went to the Ice Hotel in the north of the country. Sweden is one of my favourite countries and I would have probably never had been there if it wasn’t for the contest.

What do you think about the UK entry this year?

I had a bit of say in selecting the song and I think Olly Alexander is a world class performer, and I think that just shows you how things have changed in recent years, the fact that someone of that calibre who has so many hits and No1 albums, wants to compete at Eurovision, shows how far we’ve come. We are behind Olly all the way, he is brilliant and the song is really fun. I am hoping for good things.

Other than the UK, do you have any personal favourites from this year’s entries?

I can’t really tell you my personal favourites because I have to keep impartial as a commentator, however in the run up the big event there are Eurovision pre-parties in Madrid and Amsterdam plus a recent one in London that Rylan and I hosted together.

The Eurovision hopefuls perform their songs, and so based on the crowd reactions you can gauge the fan favourites – it’s clear that Croatia with Baby Lasagna could be in with a good chance, the fans also reacted well to Joost Klein representing the Netherlands, but the act everyone was talking about was Nemo from Switzerland - it’s a big performance with ridiculously good vocals, well that’s what the fans are saying at the moment, but I couldn’t possibly comment!

What can we expect from the Semi-Finals this year?

The Semi-Finals this year once again are on BBC One with Rylan and I providing the commentary, which is super exciting. You are going to get amazing voices, brilliant staging and some of the most ridiculous things you’ve ever seen all in one show. Rylan and I spend a week together every year -we have done since 2017 -and it’s always brilliant fun. I’ve been hosting the Semi-Finals for 14 years, when very few people knew what they were, mainly because the UK gets an automatic pass through to the final. Many countries don’t even make it to the final, but they are so much fun, and so I’m really pleased more people know about it and get to see the Semi-Finals. Rylan and I are sending pictures to each other, of what we are going to wear and are already preparing our outfits!

Interview with Rylan, Commentator on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

What was it like hosting Eurovision on home turf last year?

It was amazing, so unreal to host Eurovision in the UK on behalf of Ukraine, however I’m looking forward to going to Sweden this year.

Do you think hosting in Liverpool last year has bought a new found love of Eurovision to the UK?

I hope so. The contest is incredible and hopefully more people from the UK will be up for the party this year.

Have you ever been to Sweden before?

I have! I went to the Melodifestivalen final in Stockholm last year, which is the Swedish selection show, ahead of Eurovision where Loreen was chosen to represent Sweden , so that was amazing to be at, especially as she went on to win Eurovision!

What do you think about the UK entry this year?

Olly is amazing, I love the track and I know he’s going to smash it.

Other than the UK, do you have any personal favourites from this year’s entries?

At this stage, I tend not to have any favourites, but normally during the week of Eurovision a few really start to stand out that you just can’t get out of your head.

Which past Eurovision artist would you most like to duet with?

I’ve duetted with Loreen before, but I’d like to do it again with a full production.

What can we expect from the Semi-Finals this year?

Everything you love from me and Scott, just in Swedish!

Interview with Richie Anderson, Commentator on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds

Just like that, Eurovision is back! What makes Eurovision so special to you?

Eurovision is my summer Christmas time. I spend the first half of the year looking forward to it and counting down the days. The whole thing just puts a huge smile on my face. I love that it’s such an accepting, fun and eccentric event that welcome everyone no matter what. The whole week building up to the grand final is just such a blast. It’s a real explosion of colour and happiness and I’ve been lucky enough to makes friends through this wonderful event. And let’s be honest all the songs are absolute bops!

Have you ever been to Sweden before?

No, this is my first time visiting Sweden. I’ve got my Swedish phrase book ready and I can’t wait to explore Malmö and sample the local food.

What do you think about the UK entry this year?

It’s such a feel good uplifting song, it jumps out of the radio. If you’re listening to it sitting down you can’t help but tap your feet and shake your shoulders. Olly has such a unique voice and a real stage presence. I think his performance could be a real moment and I can’t wait to dance to it on a night out!

Other than the UK, do you have any personal favourites from this year’s entries?

I think Switzerland and France have strong entries. Anybody who knows me, knows that I love a fierce, pop girl so I’ve got my eye on Georgia, Greece, Cyprus and Austria. I also have a soft spot for Denmark and Estonia who I recently introduced on stage at the London Eurovision Party.

How do you usually celebrate Eurovision?

I used to throw a Eurovision party and all my guests had to bring one food item from a participating country drawn at random before the party by me. There would be Karaoke before the contest starts, Eurovision themed obviously, and some fab drinks on the go - especially Bucks Fizz! I’ve worked the last three years at Eurovision for Radio 2 so my famous parties have been postponed.

What can we expect from the Semi-finals this year?

There’s some really strong acts competing this year and a real mix of up-tempo, ballads, serious and fun. Also, although we don’t have to worry about qualifying as we’re one of the Big Five, the UK will be performing live in full in the Semi-Finals. This has never happened before so we’ll get a sneak peek of what Olly’s got in store before the Grand Final!

What’s your favourite Eurovision song of all time?

Helena Paprizou’s “My Number One” which won for Greece in 2005.

Source BBC One

May 1, 2024 3:00am ET by Newsdesk  


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