SCOTT MILLS, who is presenting the BBC’s semi-final coverage, is hoping X might mark a higher place on the leaderboard for UK hopeful Lucie Jones.
“Having the live TV experience from her X Factor days is a big deal,” says Scott, who’ll be hosting alongside Mel Giedroyc this week.
“Over half of the countries now put forward acts from their version of X Factor or The Voice.
“It prepares you for a startling experience.
“The stage is huge, there are a lot of rehearsals and on the night you’ve got to find the right camera and engage with the audience. With a couple of hundred million people watching, you can’t freeze. And I think big Saturday night talent shows on prepare you well for singing well, live.”
Scott has been tasked with playing his own part in Lucie’s efforts, taking across the dress she’ll perform in on Saturday.
While he reckons it’s a “lovely song”, Scott says that, as usual, he can’t wait to see some of Eurovision’s trademark weird and wonderful entries.
Prime among them is favourite Francesco Gabbani from Italy, who has taken stage monkey business literally.
“For what seems to be no reason at all he suddenly has someone in a gorilla costume up on stage dancing with him.
“I wanted to find out why and I was told that, bizarrely, the connection is that the song is loosely based on a book by British zoologist Desmond Morris, so they thought a gorilla was appropriate. The Romanian act is a quite hideous mix of rap and yodelling and there’s a guy called Slavko Kalezik, from Montenegro, whose gimmick is that he has a metre-long ponytail which he likes to whip people with.”
Other oddities include Azerbaijan’s entry, which features a man standing on a ladder wearing a horse’s head and Sweden, whose singer and dancers will be on treadmills.
But Scott’s dark-horse tip is Bulgaria’s entry, Beautiful Mess, from teenager Kristian Kostov.
Aged 17, he is the first entrant born in the 21st Century.
“I still love the whole Eurovision thing,” adds Scott. “It’s a chance to get lost in a high camp bubble of fun for a week.”
The semi-finals will be screened live on BBC4 on Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm. The Grand Final, hosted by Graham Norton, is on Saturday on BBC1, also at 8pm.
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