The first semi-final for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest took place on Tuesday evening, lighting up Liverpool Arena with spectacular performances from the likes of Loreen, Noa Kirel and Pasha Parfeni.
The spectacle was hosted by Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon, Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina, with the trio delighting their audience with their brilliant chemistry and showmanship.
Hannah, who’s widely known for playing Rebecca Welton in the highly-acclaimed comedy series as well as her role in Game of Thrones and her West End credits, proved an especially huge delight among fans.
One moment in particular left viewers applauding the Emmy Award winner, when she appeared to throw shade at BGT’s Amanda Holden while showcasing her French-speaking skills.
Near the start of the programme, Hannah, 48, was standing on stage with Alesha, 44, and Julia, 32, when she started to speak in French to explain how the night was going to work.
‘Et maintenant, j’ai le plaisir de le faire en français. Il y a quinze candidats mais seulement dix places pour la grande finale de samedi,’ she said, which translates to mean: ‘And now, I have the pleasure of doing it in French. There are 15 candidates but only 10 places for the grand finale on Saturday.’
After she had finished her segment in French, Hannah added: ‘You see Europe, some of us Brits do bother to learn another language. Just saying,’ as the audience clapped.
Laughing, Alesha chimed in to add: ‘Thank goodness for Hannah!’
Several people watching the programme immediately pointed out on Twitter that this statement appeared to be a dig at Amanda, 52.
In 2021, Amanda was chosen to announce which countries the UK had allocated points to during the Eurovision grand finale.
At the time, she said: ‘Good evening. Bon Soir. Goedenavond. That is “good evening” in French and Dutch, although I’ve got absolutely no idea which is which.’
Several people criticised her for her remark, including actor Tristan Gemmill, who wrote at the time: ‘The lowlight of the evening wasn’t the nul points, but Amanda Holden demonstrating perfectly why Europe thinks we’re an arrogant nation with a grossly overrated sense of our own importance, and why no one will ever vote for us. What a staggering misread of an audience that was.’
Actor Samuel West also tweeted: ‘A brilliant idea, post-Brexit, for Amanda Holden, the British jury representative, to remind everyone how ignorant we are of other people’s languages.
‘And we wonder why we have nul points #Eurovision.’
Of those who connected the dots to conclude that Hannah might have been shading Amanda, one tweeted: ‘Hannah Waddingham flexes how she can speak French and makes a comment that I think is supposed to be interpreted as shade towards Amanda Holden.’
Hannah Waddingham throwing shade at Amanda Holden already?! I love her so much!!!! #Eurovision
HANNAH WADDINGHAM SHADING AMANDA HOLDEN
Finally catching up with Eurovision & Hannah Waddingham owning it by suddenly dropping into French with a great London accent & brilliantly timed joke at the same time! Also note Alesha Dixon cackling away like she understood what Hannah was saying in French! pic.twitter.com/9TgZvxpB3b
Hannah Waddingham speaking French, I was not prepared pic.twitter.com/kwKTS0sjpT
“Some of us Brits bothered to learn languages” just said Hannah Waddingham after introducing the first #Eurovision2023 #Semifinal and then another dig at understanding French. Love it!!!
‘Hannah Waddingham throwing Amanda Holden under Le bus, quality shade,’ another quipped, as someone else wrote: ‘”See Europe, some Brits DO bother to learn another language”. Hannah Waddingham being just a tad iconic.’
‘Love her. The shade. #Eurovision,’ one person simply put.
The second Eurovision semi-final is due to air on Thursday at 8pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
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