Saturday 23 February 2019

Finland’s Saara Aalto could do very well at Eurovision – Graham Norton

The UK will be poised and ready with singer-songwriter SuRie at the Eurovision final on May 12.

Graham Norton
Graham Norton

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Graham Norton has said former X Factor star Saara Aalto could do well for Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest, meaning she could be big competition for UK entry SuRie.

Norton, who will commentate on the live musical extravaganza for the 10th year running from Lisbon, Portugal, said the standard of this year’s entries is “really high”.

He said: “Everyone’s favourite right now is Israel and it is terrific, but I think Saara Aalto for Finland might do very well.”

However, the presenter said he fully believes that singer-songwriter SuRie is a “safe pair of hands” with the song Storm, which he described as a “terrific anthemic floor-filler”.

Aalto, who was the runner-up on The X Factor in 2016, will perform Monsters for her home country and, according to Scott Mills – who will present the semi-finals – Eurovision fans are “very excited” about her.

“I’ve heard that she’s going to do a ridiculous performance, probably involving some monsters, which everybody is very excited about,” Mills added.

SuRie, real name Susanna Marie Cork, will represent the UK with Storm after being voted for by viewers during the BBC’s You Decide televised event.

Rylan Clark-Neal, who will co-host the semi-final episodes with Mills, said the UK’s entry has made an impact already.

He said: “I met a few other entries who were unknowingly humming along to Storm – and if other countries are subconsciously singing our song then we have a good song!”

This year’s competition will take place in Lisbon after Portugal won last year for the first time with Amar Pelos Dois, performed by Salvador Sobral.

SuRie will have her work cut out for her, as UK entrants have largely failed to finish in a high-ranking position in recent years, and a number of times have come in last place.

The last time the UK won Eurovision was in 1997 with Katrina And The Waves’ Love Shine A Light, and the UK has not finished in the top 10 since 2009 with Jade Ewen’s It’s My Time.

Last year, former X Factor star Lucie Jones helped the UK achieve its highest points haul in eight years, 111, for her performance of Never Give Up On You in Kiev, Ukraine, coming in 15th place.

The Eurovision semi-finals will take place over two episodes on BBC Four on Tuesday May 8 and Thursday May 10, and will see 37 countries battling it out for a spot in the final.

The UK, along with the other members of the so-called “Big Five” – France, Germany, Italy and Spain – is traditionally guaranteed a spot in the final, along with the host nation, and so will not take part in the semi-finals.

Ten countries from each of the two semi-finals will make it through, and the final 26 acts will perform at the Eurovision final on May 12, which will air on BBC One.

“You can never predict what is going to happen,” Norton said of the grand finale.

“It is normally only obvious who might win on the night itself and sometimes it is only when the voting starts that it becomes clear.

“What keeps Eurovision so exciting is that anything can happen!”

– The Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals will air on May 8 and May 10 on BBC Four at 8pm, and the Eurovision Song Contest final will air on May 12 on BBC One at 8pm.

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