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Mika: who is Eurovision 2022 host, why is he presenting contest - why did Sophie Ellis-Bextor turn down role?

Mika is a familiar face to UK audiences - but how did the singer end up hosting the Eurovision 2022 event in Italy?

Eurovision fans will be glad to see the contest back once again, but viewers will notice a familiar face on stage.

This year’s event, beaming from Turin, Italy, is hosted by singer-songwriter Mika alongside Italian presenter Alessandro Cattelan and Italian singer Laura Pausini.

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But just how did the British singer come to host Eurovision in Italy?

Here’s everything you need to know about Mika.

Singer-songwriter Mika is hosting this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. (Credit: Getty Images)

Who is Mika?

Mika is a Lebanese-born British singer-songwriter who shot to fame after the release of his 2007 debut album ‘Life in Cartoon Motion’.

The 38-year-old is well-known in the UK and across the world for his massive hit ‘Grace Kelly’.

The song hit number one in the UK, where it stayed for five weeks in early 2007.

Mika also saw success with subsequent releases ‘Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)’ and ‘Love Today’.

In the following years, he collaborated with singer Ariana Grande on ‘Popular Song’ and went on to appear on TV.

He was announced as a judge on The X Factor Italy in 2013, becoming the first foreign mentor on the show.

Prior to this, he featured as a judge on the French version of The Voice.

Why is Mika hosting Eurovision?

Although not born in Italy, Mika has lived in the country since 2013.

Alessandro Cattelan, Laura Pausini and Mika are hosting Eurovision 2022. (Credit: Getty Images)

His ties to the country run deep and his popularity is big in the country.

Speaking to The One Show about his Eurovision hosting gig, Mika said: “I learnt to speak Italian just because I got this opportunity to go and do The X Factor in Italy.

“I learnt in a couple of months, luckily my Italian is better now, the ironic thing about this whole thing is that I’m gonna do Eurovision, the biggest TV show Italy has ever had to put on, and the whole thing is in English.”

Who else is hosting Eurovision with Mika?

Mika will host the Italian edition of the contest alongside Italian presenter Alessandro Cattelan and Italian singer Laura Pausini.

Alessandro is a famous television presenter known in Italy for hosting The X Factor.

Laura Pausini is a renowned singer who was the first Italian female artist to win a Grammy Award.

Why did Sophie Ellis-Bextor turn down Eurovision role?

Mika might not have been the only recognisable face to UK audiences.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor was originally due to have a place on the UK’s jury panel.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor was due to take part in the UK’s Eurovision jury this year. (Credit: Getty Images)

The jury, made up of six musical experts from each country, vote spereately on the performances from the public, with the jury and public votes weighted equally in the final results.

But one bizarre rule prevented her from taking part this year.

Speaking to Radio Times, Sophie revealed that her newborn spotted her from heading to Turin as a judge.

The ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ hitmaker said: “I had a very small baby that I was still feeding, and they wouldn’t let me bring it along.

“I’m pretty sure the baby would have been impartial but, you know what, I think part of what I like about Eurovision is that it has very much got its rules… it’s kooky.”

Sophie also joked that the rule that juries must remain quiet during performances would have been difficult for her, saying: “I thought, ‘I can’t watch Eurovision in silence’.”