59 of the best Graham Norton and Sir Terry Wogan’s Eurovision commentary jokes and one-liners of all time

'It’s been a wonderful, wonderful evening. I mean, not musically of course, but in terms of spectacle…'

One of the best aspects of Eurovision has always been the witty commentary, whether it was provided by the late, great Sir Terry Wogan or by Graham Norton, who took over for his countryman in 2009.

In their respective times they both added a delightfully biting edge to the competition, making fun of performers or empathizing with the viewers at home during the latter stretches of the sometimes gruelling hours-long telethon.

To get you in the mood for the song contest's 2023 edition - hosted in the UK's own Liverpool, no less - here are 60 of the finest lines from the two commentators.

Terry Wogan

  • “I don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a major musical event. I love the Eurovision Song Contest and it will continue long after I’m gone. Just please don’t ask me to take it seriously.”
  • “This skit must have seemed like a tremendous idea at the time, but actually it’s covering a commercial break for Finnish television. And if you don’t mind me expressing an opinion, I’d prefer the commercials.”
  • On 2006 heavy-metal winners Lordi: “Every year I expect it to be less foolish, and every year it is more so.”
  • “I’m trying to remind myself of Serbia and Montenegro’s song. What in hell’s name was it? 109 points? I wouldn’t have given them one.”
  • During the 2002 show: “I don’t know about you, I’m going to have a stiff drink.”
  • Introducing the 2007 broadcast: “Who knows what hellish future lies ahead? Actually I do, I’ve seen the rehearsals.”
  • “It’s supposed to be bad. And the worse it is, the more fun it is.”
  • “It’s been 29 years since the Netherlands won the Eurovision Song Contest. After this performance, make that 30.”
  • On the UK’s 1995 effort: “It’ll either win by a mile or it’s the Diadora League next year.”
  • On France’s 2006 entry: “That’s the same song the French have been singing since they hung the washing up on the Maginot Line."
  • When the Swedish points announcer struggled with countries’ names in 2008: “It’s not easy this. You have to move your lips and it’s not easy. Are you related to the Director General of Swedish television?”
  • On Belgium’s 2003 entry: “They’ve got four languages in Belgium… and they’re singing in an imaginary one. The very essence of Eurovision.”
  • “Spain is next, with a song called ‘Bloody Mary’. That reminds me, I haven’t touched a drop yet.”
  • “Every year I go to see it and every year I say: ‘Isn’t it terrible? It’s worse than last year!'”
  • “It’s been a wonderful, wonderful evening. I mean, not musically of course, but in terms of spectacle…”
  • “That was France. Gosh, wasn’t that awful?”
  • On the interval performance in 2009: “I’ve seen this. This goes on for quite some time, so if you fancy making yourself a stiff drink, or putting the kettle on, or walking the dog, this is the time to do it.”
  • On Iceland’s 1990 entry: “This has been typified as a Eurosong… they do a little walking and bounce about a bit.”
  • With 24 out of 25 songs performed: “Hold on. Be strong. Just cling to the wreckage. It will be over soon.”
  • On a backstage skit in 2007: “Is this supposed to be funny? No, of course not – it is the Eurovision Song Contest. What’s the matter with me? Can we please watch the commercials? Why are these green room moments such an unmitigated disaster?”

Graham Norton

  • “You keep thinking this will make sense in a moment. But no.”
  • On the leather trousers on one act: “It must be like a paddling pool in there.”
  • On Poland’s 2014 entry: “‘We are Slavic girls, we know how to use our charming beauty, now shake what your mama gave you.’ It’s essentially a feminist anthem.”
  • “It’s a grey, damp night outside, so there is a slight smell of wet dog in the arena.”
  • On Norway’s entry in 2015: “He said he did something terrible as a boy. We don’t know what it was. It might have been write this song.”
  • On Albania’s 2012 entry: “She’s a devoted experimental jazz musician. She can do extraordinary things with her voice… not pleasant things, but extraordinary.”
  • On the fashion sense of 2015’s Georgian entry: “Her outfit does involve some roadkill. I fear some Georgian crows were harmed in the making of this act.”
  • On a slightly slower transition with two hosts: “This is mellow to a fault.”
  • On hosts Portugal after they performed in 2018: “I’m not sure we’ll be returning to Lisbon next year.”
  • On Albania’s 2015 entry: “OK… That’s three minutes we’ll never get back, but look at it this way: We’ll never have to hear that song again.”
  • On the opening in 2018: “Now it’s time for the flag ceremony. It’s a new tradition. It’s a way of making the show just that little bit longer.”
  • When the host spoke to members of the audience: “Nothing has gone wrong. This was planned.”
  • “This year’s theme is celebrating diversity. Let’s see who they’ve chosen to host. Oh. It’s three white men.”
  • On Hungary’s 2016 entrant: “If it doesn’t work out for him, he’s always got his Hotel Management degree. I feel he’s going to use it.”
  • On a Hungarian performance: “Don’t worry, he hasn’t brought his mother’s ashes on stage. It is, in fact, a mini milk churn. Who knew. Oh, and in case you are wondering, there hasn’t been a stage invader. She is a fully trained dancer. She is meant to be there.”
  • On Spain’s 2018 act, a real-life couple: “They’re deeply in love, and one day they’ll regret that.”
  • “They’re dressed like posh hospital workers from the future.”
  • “The song is called ‘Alcohol is Free’. Ironic to sing that in Sweden, where it’s anything else. You have to sell your car to get a pint.”
  • “If you think my job’s easy, check out the guy pretending to play the saxophone for three minutes.”
  • “I think you’d describe those trousers as ‘unforgiving.’”
  • When the 2014 host suggested older viewers may not understand hashtags: “Don’t patronise me Nikolaj. I’m 51, not dead!”
  • On Slovenia’s 2018 entry, which faked a technical glitch: “I liked the bit when she stopped the music.”
  • On the name of Hungary’s 2015 entrant: “Her name was unpronounceable so she decided to go by her nickname, which is Boggie. She could have called herself anything. Trixie-bell, Floo-Floo, but no. Boggie.”
  • On Italy’s 2017 performance: “If you’re going to get someone to dress as a gorilla, at least get a decent outfit. That looks like couple of old car seats sewn together.”
  • On Russia’s 2012 effort: “It’s an unusual Eurovision this year. There are lots of songs that are really quite good and brilliantly sung. This is not one of those.”
  • “My one tip is, don’t start looking at his eyebrows, you won’t be able to stop.”
  • “The last few years the semi-finals have weeded out some of the Eurovision lunacy… but not this year.”
  • On a strobe-filled metal performance: “If you’re watching with pets or sensitive older people, maybe now’s the time to put them in the utility room.”
  • On Britain’s chances a few years ago: “Give them a nudge, every vote counts… Oh, I do hope we get some votes tonight.”
  • On Belarus as it gave scores: “Minsk looks lovely. Is that a coach station?”