Wogan bows out of Eurovision with a vote for fun

Thu May 7, 2009 12:07pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By James Kilner

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Sometimes glitzy, often kitsch and always contentious, the Eurovision Song Contest is the very height of light television entertainment, Britain's veteran commentator Terry Wogan said on Thursday.

Moscow will host all 42 entrants next week for the 54th Eurovision Song Contest -- which attracts at least 100 million television viewers each year -- after singer Dima Bilan won for Russia in Belgrade last year.

"It's the world's greatest international television event," Wogan told Reuters by telephone.

The veteran broadcaster, radio and television personality was renowned in Britain for his tongue-in-cheek approach to commentating on the contest for the BBC.

"You could take it seriously as a production and that would be the right thing to do but you must also take it lightly. It's not a feast of fantastic music, it's light entertainment and it's fun."

But the 70-year-old Wogan, who has commentated on the Eurovision Song Contest since 1971, will not be traveling to Moscow for the competition this year. He will be replaced by TV chat show host Graham Norton.

"I decided that having done as many years as I have since about 1971, that it was time to make for the exit before somebody showed it to me," he said.

This year entrants from Portugal to Israel will compete at a stadium in central Moscow, built for the 1980 Olympics and nestled between a green mosque and Soviet highrise buildings.   Continued...

<p>General view of the stage during rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow May 6, 2009.REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin</p>