In a thrilling display, the actress, 48, wowed global viewers by flawlessly reciting the Eurovision contest’s rules in fluent French at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena. While her co-presenters, Alesha Dixon, 44, and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina, 32, relied on the English teleprompter, Hannah Waddingham stood out with her linguistic prowess.
Liverpool was indeed abuzz as Alesha and Ted Lasso’s Hannah brought glamor to host Eurovision, where 16 acts battled for a coveted spot in the grand finale.
Alesha, the Mis-Teeq singer, and Hannah, alongside Julia, made a show-stopping entrance onto the stage. Alesha wowed the crowd in a strapless black corset dress featuring mesh panels and a train. Julia caught the eye in a blue metallic jumpsuit with puffy sleeves and stitching down the legs. Meanwhile, Hannah flaunted her figure in a busty strapless yellow minidress that showed her legs.
Adding to the look, Hannah completed it with stylish yellow pointed heels.
Left impressed by Hannah’s abilities, surprised home spectators rushed to Twitter to heap her with praise, with one writing, ‘Hannah Waddingham speaking French, Maybe I’m not gay.’ Another wrote: ‘People train their entire lives to be as effortlessly charismatic and likeable as Hannah Waddingham #eurovision.’ Someone else said, ‘Watching the #Eurovision semi-finals, massive crush on Hannah Waddingham… she is just what I want to be when I grow up.’
An Australian viewer quipped, ‘Hannah Waddingham speaks French and I’m a little gayer than I was 5 minutes ago… #SBSEurovision.’ And one more concluded, saying, ‘I think I’m now in love with Hannah Waddingham. Beautiful, funny, great voice and she can speak French #Eurovision #EUROVISION2023.’ 2023 brought a notable change as the fate of Eurovision contestants lies solely in the hands of the public, with national juries having their say in the final on Saturday.
Thirty-one countries are participating in two semi-finals, and ten acts from each will advance to the grand finale.
Alongside last year’s winner Ukraine, the “big five” countries, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, automatically secured their spots in the final. The successful acts from Tuesday’s semi-final included Croatia, Moldova, Switzerland, Finland, Czechia, Israel, Sweden, Serbia, Portugal, and Norway. After being eliminated in Tuesday’s semi-final, Ireland’s representative for Eurovision 2023, Wild Youth, voiced their frustration online.
Frontman Conor O’Donohoe claimed their country “never had a chance.” The post has since been deleted, but a fan later shared the screenshot on Twitter. He wrote: ‘We did everything we could. Michael Kealy [RTE’s Eurovision Head of Delegation] was amazing. But the truth is they never give Ireland a chance. Sorry if we let you down, we tried best.’ However, the Eurovision 2023 grand final is hanging in the balance for Mae Muller, the 25-year-old representative of the UK.
Following this week’s dress rehearsals, Mae’s vocal coach has advised her to go on voice rest, putting her performance at risk. Keeping her fans informed, Mae took to Twitter on Wednesday, sharing a photo of herself donning a sign around her neck that humorously proclaimed ‘vocal rest.’ She looked disappointed with the news as she explained: ‘As someone who cannot stfu if their life depended on it I’m not doing well x. My vocal coach literally had to make me wear a sign to make me shut up I am so embarrassed omg.’