Take a look at the first part of the series where we find out where the Eurovision Song Contest hosts and hostesses of the past years are today.
2006 – Sakis Rouvas and Maria Menounos
After participating for more than 30 years in the contest, Greece finally won Eurovision thanks to Helena Paparizou. The 2006 song contest therefore took place in Athens in an arena which was also used during the Olympic games two years earlier. ERT chose Maria Menounos and Sakis Rouvas to host the two shows. The latter is of course well known for Eurovision fans as he has represented Greece in 2004 and again 2009. Born in 1972, Sakis released his first songs in early 1990s. He rapidly gained popularity in music scenes and many of his songs became hits in Greece. In 2004 he was internally chosen by ERT to represent the country at Eurovision after their initial plans of a pre-selection failed. He finished third and ‘Shake It’ was a massive hit in Greece. In 2009 Sakis was one again chosen internally and his Eurovision entry was chosen in a televised national final. This time, however, he finished seventh. Today Sakis is a dad for three kids and lately he has also been making a television series where he has interviewed everyday heroes among us.
Maria Menounos was born in USA where she grew up. When a teenager she participated beauty contests and later studied journalism. She worked for a local tv-channel reporting about entertainment news. As an actress she has appeared in several films and television series. Last year she was one of the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ contestants. During the rehearsals she broke two ribs and eventually finished fourth in the season.
2007 – Jaana Pelkonen and Mikko Leppilampi
True Fantasy. That’s what the 2007 song contest was for Finland. Jaana Pelkonen first entered the publicity in late 1990s when her voice was heard on a local radio channel. After that she changed to television where Jaana hosted a popular video gaming program as well as a daily afternoon show about popular music for youths. In 2005 she was hired by Yle to co-host Euroviisut and she kept hosting the pre-selection until 2011. She also was the commentator for the Finnish tv-viewers. After that she decided to seek for the parliament. She was elected and is now member of the National Coalition Party.
Mikko Leppilampi is a Finnish actor, tv presenter and singer. He starred a Finnish movie Helmiä ja sikoja in 2003 which was one of the most seen films that year. He soon became one of the most popular male actors in the country and continued starring films and musicals. Mikko has also given his voice to Marty in Madagascar films. In 2006 he released his debut album which remained his last to date. In Belgrade 2008 he announced the Finnish points in the Eurovision final. He has hosted Dancing with the Stars and his own talk shows over the past few years.
2008 – Jovana Janković and Željko Joksimović
RTS followed in the footsteps of ERT and chose one of their best succeeded Eurovision entrants to host the shows. This time it was Željko Joksimović who in 2004 finished second and later returned in 2012 coming in third place. In fact, in 2008 he was both, a host and a composer as the Serbian entry ‘Oro’ was penned by Željko himself. The following year he released his fifth studio album which, as expected, sold very well in the Balkans. At the moment he is touring around the Balkans, his latest single called ‘Ludak kao ja’ was released earlier this year.
Jovana Janković has been hosting many different shows on television ever since 2001. Already before getting to host Eurovision she worked for RTS which was also the host broadcaster for 2008 song contest. However, two years later she decided to leave RTS and was hired by another channel to host a daily morning show.
Jovana and Željko met at Eurovision and when the project was over they continued seeing each other and were officially a couple a few months later. They got married last year.
2009 – Natalia Vodianova, Andrey Malahov, Ivan Urgant and Alsou
As often said, in Russia everything is bigger and greater. So was the case at Eurovision, held in Moscow. The Russian broadcaster decided not to continue the norm of two hosts and hired even four people to share the job. However, they were not seen on stage simultaneously as Natalia and Andrey hosted the semi-finals and Ivan and Alsou the grand final.
Natalia Vodyanova is a Russian super model who nowadays lives in Paris. She has been on the cover of several countries’ Vogue and has worked for big brands such as Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Natalia is one of the many ‘Sochi 2014 Ambassadors’ who are the faces and key advocate of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games.
Andrey Malahov co-hosted the semi-finals together with Natalia. He is known as a tv-presenter, working for Channel One Russia. Since 2012 he has had his own talk show, airing every Saturday.
Ivan Urgant‘s parents were actors and so Ivan followed their footsteps and got involved in the show business. He has been acting on movies and hosted tv-shows. After getting to host Eurovision, he has also released his debut album. Ivan hosted the grand final together with Alsou who is the best known out of these all for Eurovision fans. Alsou represented Russia in Stockholm, 2000, with the song ‘Solo’ and finished second behind Denmark. In 2009 she made her acting debut in a movie and the following year she collaborated with many Russian female artists to write a lullaby in support to UNICEF’s project. Earlier this year she was in Baku shooting a music video for her new single while celebrating her 30th birthday.
2010 – Erik Solbakken, Haddy N’jie and Nadia Hasnaoui
Born in 1984, Erik Solbakken has worked for NRK since 2005. He hosted mainly the children’s programs on NRK’s kids channel. He was chosen to host the 2010 song contest together with Haddy and Nadia. This was the first time when a trio hosted all the shows. The next year Erik got to host the 2011 sports gala and this year he co-hosted the Norwegian Eurovision pre-selection, Melodi Grand Prix. He has also hosted a talkshow together with Hasse Hope after Eurovision and he continues working for NRK. In 2011 he also hosted the Eurovision Young Dancers.
Haddy N’jie’s career on television started as a journalist at NRK, before that she had hosted a youth program in 1990. Later she has hosted many shows, including the sports gala, a charity event and memorial concert for the victims of Utøya. Haddy has also released three solo albums, the latest one in 2010.
While Erik and Hasse hosted the shows mainly together, Nadia Hasnaoui hosted for example the voting on her own. This was no problem to this experienced hostess since the 1990s. On TV 2 she hosted several popular shows, including her own talkshow ‘Hasnaoui’. In mid-2000s she returned to NRK and hosted the Junior Eurovision in 2004. She has continued hosting programs on NRK after the 2010 Eurovision.
2011 – Stefan Raab, Anke Engelke and Judith Rakers
The host trio Stefan, Anke and Judith hosted the three Eurovision 2011 shows from Düsseldorf using very typical German humor. Anke Engelke managed to overshadow her colleagues and was many Eurovision fans’ favorite host. The comedian was born in Canada but later moved to Germany where her talents were discovered to host a children’s tv-show. Later on she has appeared on comedy shows, been a voice-over actor and hosted for example the European Film Awards. In 2012 she announce the German voting results in Eurovision and referred to the Azerbaijan’s poor human rights. Earlier this year she hosted the German pre-selection, Unser Song Für Malmö.
Stefan Raab can be thanked for Germany’s second Eurovision victory as he was creating the successful pre-selection format. He composed the 1998 and 2004 Eurovision entries and represented the country in 2000. He has created many television shows and hosted his own talkshow on ProSieben for several years. He is also the man behind Bundesvision, a some sort of a Germanys own Eurovision Song Contest. Right after the 2011 song contest he announced he would no longer be involved in Eurovision and therefore the revamped 2013 pre-selection was organized without him.
Judith Rakers is known for Germans as a news anchor on ARD. As a journalist she has also worked on radio and news papers. She has received many awards including ‘The journalist of the year’ and ‘Female media personality of the year’.
2012 – Eldar Gasimov, Leyla Aliyeva and Nargiz Birk-Petersen
Leyla Aliyeva (who has exactly the same name as the president of Azerbaijan) studied musics and plays violin and piano. She started working for Ictimai TV when it was formed in 2005 and is part of the Azerbaijani Eurovision delegation. This year she co-hosted the final of the Azerbaijani pre-selection.
At the age of 16, Nargiz Birk-Petersen worked as a reporter for the University’s English news program and later went to USA to study law while doing some gigs as a model. Nargiz also has a Danish citizenship as she is married to a Danish man. Lately she was involved in Baku’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The youngest of this trio was Eldar Gasimov who the previous year won the song contest with Nikki in Düsseldorf. He participated ‘Milli Seçim Turu’ aka the Azerbaijani pre-selection in 2011 and in the final it was announced that the jury had chosen him and another contestant, Nikki to represent the country. After the victory the duo separated and continued their own solo careers. Eldar released a new single after hosting the 2012 contest. Her latest single, in Russian, was released lately and can be listened here.