‘A gorgeous nod to the utterly fabulous Paul O’Grady’: Eurovision fans in tears as the late Liverpudlian star makes cameo with his dog in opening credits of semi-final
Eurovision viewers were in tears as they watched the late Paul O’Grady make a surprise cameo in the opening credits of the semi-final.
Paul, who shot to fame as trailblazing comic drag act Lily Savage before becoming one of the country’s best-loved presenters and DJs, tragically passed away in March aged 67.
But the TV favourite was remembered on Tuesday night as he appeared with his beloved dog in a Welcome to Liverpool film which followed a young boy from the north-west city who learned his hometown is hosting the 2023 Contest.
Paul starred in the video alongside Paul Hollywood, Ukranian Strictly dancer Nikita Kuzmin and King Charles and the Queen Consort.
Viewers watching at home became emotional when they saw Paul on their TV screens once more, smiling broadly whilst he mopped the floor with his pooch in the other arm.
‘I’m crying!’: Eurovision viewers were in tears as they watched the late Paul O’Grady make a surprise cameo in the opening credits of the semi-final
Loved: Paul, who shot to fame as trailblazing comic drag act Lily Savage before becoming one of the country’s best-loved presenters and DJs, tragically passed away in March aged 67
One wrote: ‘A gorgeous little nod to the great and utterly fabulous Paul O’Grady in the opening titles to Eurovision.’
‘So lovely to see Paul O’Grady in that opening and what an opening trailer that was. Amazing to see the King and Queen in it too and of course Ukraine the key part of it all,’ another fan added.
‘Seeing Paul O’Grady was very touching,’ a different viewer chimed, while others said they were ‘sobbing already’.
‘Paul O’Grady and kids in tracksuits holding hands. Sobbing already,’ one wrote.
‘Paul O’Grady in the opening sequence I’m crying’, added another viewer.
The Eurovision semi-finals will take place across two days and feature an array of performances, including from Eurovision legends and Ukrainian and British stars.
For the first time in the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest history, both semi-finals are being presented live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
Radio DJs Scott Mills and Rylan will bring UK audiences their colourful commentary, while Alesha Dixon, Julia Sanina and Hannah Waddingham host the semi-final at the M&S Bank Arena. Five acts will be sent home at the end of the show.
Crying: Viewers watching at home became emotional when they saw Paul on their TV screens once more, smiling broadly whilst he mopped the floor with his pooch in the other arm
Special: But the TV favourite was remembered on Tuesday night as he appeared with his beloved dog in a segment celebrating Liverpool, where this year’s competition is taking place
Talent: Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood, who was born in Cheshire, iced a cake
Poignant: Ukranian dancer Nikita Kuzmin, who is a favourite on Strictly, also appeared in the opening credits
Hosts: Alesha Dixon, Julia Sanina and Hannah Waddingham hosted the semi- final at the M&S Bank Arena
Performance: Norway’s Alessandra performs Queen of Kings during The Eurovision Song Contest
There is also a special commentary team on BBC Radio Merseyside, which will include Claire Sweeney and the winner of The Voice of Eurovision talent search, which is currently underway to discover new Liverpudlian talent.
This year’s Eurovision Grand Final has the Royal seal of approval. During a visit to the venue, the Liverpool Arena, the King told the UK entrant Mae Muller that he would be ‘watching with great interest’ and ‘egging her on’. ‘Thank you. No pressure,’ she joked.
At last year’s contest, held in Italy, the UK fielded its strongest entry for years with Sam Ryder’s Space Man, but no one begrudged the Ukrainians their victory with Kalush Orchestra’s ebullient Stefania.
For the grand final commentary on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, Graham and comedian Mel Giedroyc will take turns in the commentary box to bring those watching at home their unique and expert views on the 2023 acts.
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