Swedish broadcaster SVT announced that comedian and TV presenter Petra Mede will host the Eurovision Song Conetst semi-final and final shows in May.
During a press conference streamed live on the internet by SVT – an event bound to perplex anyone who regards the Eurovision as an annual event to be endured only with a fully stocked drinks cabinet nearby – Mede answered questions from journalists.
Chat rooms, Twitter and a handful of water-coolers across Europe had played host to much pre-match speculation. In the end, those sensible discerning Swedes went with tried and tested talent . The reaction amongst fans (the British ones, at least) seemed positive bordering on the warm.
It’s great exposure for Mede who’s promised double (possibly even triple) the amount of time in-vision during each Eurovision show. (Previous years have seen hosting duties given over to two and for the past two years, three presenters.)
Clearly the Eurovision budget is much-reduced this year (or the ‘we’re spending less on this particular affair this year’ message still has some mileage). Even so, now that SVT have ditched the three-presenter format, the departure with recently held tradition could well help the contest have a considerably different feel over previous years.
Gone (thankfully) are the agonising ‘no really, its post-modern irony’ banter between the presenters. Gone too (presumably) is the overly-rehearsed, homogenised and lifeless script the show has suffered since .. the late 90s. Presenting alone will mean Mede has a bit more time available to host. That combined with exec producer’s hope for a more ‘intimate’ feel in the arena this year and the fact that the producers will choose the running order for the final show, might mean this year’s contest really does break with tradition and be a considerably better show.
The anointing of Mede as this year’s host sees the 42 year old join a Hall of ‘Fame’ of Eurovision presenters – as much part of the event as the EBU opening sting or the songs. Previous UK hosts include Terry Wogan and Ulrika Jonson (Birmingham 1997), adorable-but-faintly-tragic Katie Boyle (1960, 1963, 1968 & 1974), Angela Rippon (1977) and Jan Leeming (1982).
The Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Finals are on 14 and 16 May. The Final is on 18 May 2013.
The Thoroughly Good Blog does the unthinkable: fusing the worthy world of classical music with the superficial and inconsequential alternate universe of the Eurovision Song Contest. There’s a good reason for that, and that reason will be explained all in good time.