Hannah Waddingham has been acclaimed for her performances in stage musicals like Spamalot and Kiss Me, Kate and won an Emmy for her portrayal of the AFC Richmond–owning Rebecca Welton on Ted Lasso. Now, the British actress can add "Eurovision cohost" to the list of gigs for which she's earned plaudits.
During last week's semifinals of the song competition, which is taking place in Liverpool, England, Waddingham not only showed off her own vocal range but also impressed viewers by reciting the contest's rules in fluent French.
As The Guardian journalist Josh Halliday wrote on Friday, "Forget who lifts the famous Eurovision microphone trophy, the real winner has already been crowned." Waddingham will continue her duties Saturday when she cohosts the competition's finals with Alesha Dixon, Julia Sanina, and Graham Norton.
PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Hannah Waddingham, cohost of 2023's Eurovision
Waddingham will be doubly pleased about her good reviews considering she told EW back in March that she was surprised to be offered the hosting job given her lack of experience as a TV host.
"I was shocked when they asked me, because I'm not a presenter by any means and I don't pertain to be," she said. "It's so exciting. Coming from theater, it's a big deal for us. Everyone always has Eurovision parties, so I was so thrilled that they asked me."
Dominic Lipinski/Getty 2023 Eurovision cohost Hannah Waddingham
Traditionally, the competition is held in the home country of the previous year's victor. Because last year's winning song, "Stefania," performed by Kalush Orchestra, was the Ukrainian entry, the show's organizers were forced to hold the contest elsewhere, eventually choosing the city that produced the Beatles.
Waddingham told EW that she was particularly honored to host this year's contest given the circumstances surrounding the 2023 event.
"I have had my heart broken about the Ukraine and the fight that they are putting up. How magnificent they've been as a country," she said. "So to be involved in it this year, when we are standing firmly shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, honestly, it's a deep, deep honor to be joining that show this year of all years."
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.