As the ninth act, which was James Newman for the UK, was about to appear, BBC presenter Graham Norton told Eurovision viewers to toast the late legendary broadcaster, Terry Wogan, who provided the radio commentary for the contest from the 1970s until 2008. Emotional viewers joined Graham in remembering Terry, who died aged 77 in 2016.
The reason the ninth song in the show is associated with him is because of some advice Terry gave Graham.
Speaking to BBC during a previous Eurovision build-up, Graham said: “For those who aren’t aware song number nine is famous because Sir Terry always warned me not to have anything to drink until that point.”
On Saturday, he paid tribute once again before the ninth entry, saying: “Song number nine – when we raise our glasses to the memory of Sir Terry Wogan who was, and always will be, the voice of Eurovision.
“But of course this year, song nine gives us another reason to raise a glass – to wish James Newman well.”
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Many viewers did indeed raise a glass to the late Eurovision icon.
Many took to Twitter to share photos of champagne glasses, with one writing: “Cheers Terry.”
Another said: “To Sir Terry,” while a third wrote: “The one thing that I always think when i watch #Eurovision is how much I miss terry Wogan presenting it, I always loved his commentary, it was the best.”
A fifth commented: “I miss Terry Wogan #Eurovision.”
“James Newman should be proud of himself,” one fan said.
Another added: “James you did us proud!!! Best of luck for a great placing! #Eurovision.”
James Newman himself joined the Twitter frenzy soon after performing, writing: “That was AMAZING.”
He later posted again to say: “Don’t forget to vote.”
Last year’s Eurovision was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the latest winner, from 2019, was Duncan Laurence, the entry for the Netherlands.
The Netherlands had not won the competition in 44 years, since Teach-In in 1975.
Sadly, Duncan had to pull out of this year’s competition just days ago following a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Duncan was due to return to Rotterdam to perform once again after 2019’s victory.
Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer of Eurovision, said: “We are of course disappointed, first of all for Duncan, who deserves a live performance on our very own Eurovision stage after his 2019 victory and the worldwide success of Arcade.”