The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Hannah Waddingham stole the show at Eurovision

The ‘Ted Lasso’ star has grabbed the headlines after hosting the competition

Hannah Waddingham went viral after hosting the Eurovision Song Contest. (Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
3 min

Hannah Waddingham, star of the hit show “Ted Lasso,” stood on the Eurovision Song Contest stage during the semifinals on Thursday with her fellow hosts and was expected to share, in English, the rules for the competition.

She chose French instead.

After Waddingham fluently ripped her way through the rules, the crowd erupted in applause. Under the glitzy lights of the musical extravaganza in Liverpool, England, Waddingham laughed and smiled.

“Honestly, Hannah, I could listen to you do that all night,” said fellow host Alesha Dixon.

Waddingham quipped: “My French teacher would be so proud.”

For the second time, Swedish singer Loreen was named the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest on May 14. Her pop song "Tattoo” beat out 25 other countries. (Video: Reuters)

The moment surely made the internet proud, too, as Waddingham has become something of a viral star from the contest. She wowed crowds with her spontaneous singing. She’s become a “national treasure” to some and a “mother” to others. A journalist even asked her about her plans for “world domination.” Though Sweden won this year’s competition, it’s Waddingham who walked away with the internet’s trophy. Now, some Eurovision fans are begging for the “Ted Lasso” star to host the competition every year.

“She is just delightful,” said Bally Singh, a radio host from Wolverhampton, England. Singh has been a fan of Waddingham since he started watching “Ted Lasso.”

“She’s such a brilliant ambassador for British people,” Singh said. “She gives off this warm, loving energy.”

Fans picked her as the competition’s true winner, saying she’s everything to them. And her use of the French language was quite amusant.

“This is Hannah Waddingham’s world,” tweeted Scott Bryan, TV critic and broadcaster for BBC Sounds. “We’re just living in it.”

Waddingham’s presentation skills earned high marks, too. She showed off her slick dance moves and made comical facial expression all throughout the Eurovision competition.

Though Waddingham was surprised to receive the gig in the first place. She told Entertainment Weekly in March that she didn’t think she had enough TV hosting experience.

“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.”

Waddingham’s career has centered around stage, television and movie productions. She won an Emmy for her role on Apple TV Plus’s “Ted Lasso” as soccer club owner Rebecca Welton. Before that, she appeared on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Netflix’s “Sex Education,” and in the 2012 film adaptation of “Les Misérables.” Before her more recent hits, Waddingham was a stage actress on London’s West End and on Broadway, performing in “The Wizard of Oz,” “Spamalot” and more.

Later this year, she will be appearing in an Apple TV Plus holiday special called “Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas,” recorded at the London Coliseum.

Waddingham has seen the praise from Eurovision viewers and seems to be enjoying it. At a news conference for Eurovision, Dutch podcaster GJ Kooijman said that Waddingham was the internet’s newest “mother.”

Waddingham, confused, asked, “Can I just ask if that’s a good thing?”

When Kooijman told her it was a “really good thing,” Waddingham smiled and said, “Okay, just checking.”