Liverpudlian treat for Eurovision fans
By Patrick Barnham
For the first time in the history of the Eurovision song contest UK audiences can tune into the world’s biggest singing competition to hear a Scouse commentary.
Paul Quinn, 32, from Dingle in Liverpool will co-present the ‘Scouse alternative commentary’ – alongside one of Liverpool’s best loved actresses and performers, Claire Sweeney – following a special talent search by BBC Radio Merseyside.
The pair will provide a unique take at the grand final of the biggest singing show on earth which takes place on Saturday 13 May. It’s the first time in 67 editions of the contest that audiences will be able to listen to commentary in a regional accent of the host city.
Paul was selected as the Voice of Eurovision after the seven week search that met thousands of people and had nearly 500 auditions. The station toured shopping centres across Liverpool and Merseyside, asking members of the public to record a 40-second demo in a specially created radio booth.
On finding out that he had been chosen, Paul said: “It’s brilliant and to have it here in Liverpool, is a once in a lifetime opportunity and who knows when it’s going to come back. To think, I can look back and say it was in Liverpool and I was the voice of it for BBC Radio Merseyside, people will think back and say remember when Paul Quinn was the Voice of Eurovision. It’s brilliant.”
The auditions were judged by an expert panel which included fellow Scouse singer, Sonia, who represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993, and independent media executive Phil Critchlow, CEO of TBI Media. Phil was made a Fellow of The Radio Academy in 2016 and was given a Lifetime Achievement award for services to broadcasting in 2018.
They picked Paul to be the Voice of Eurovision and join Claire Sweeney for this unique Scouse commentary because the judges loved Paul’s sense of Scouse in his audition and they were impressed that Paul talked passionately about Ukraine and his connections with the country.
Liverpool is hosting the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine who won the contest in Turin in 2022.
Proud Liverpudlian Claire, who had her first singing gig at the Montrose Club in her home City and played Linsey Corkhill in Brookside, has since gone on to perform in many musicals including Chicago and says: “I am thrilled to be involved with Eurovision this year in Liverpool. I am looking forward to working alongside the new voice of Eurovision for BBC Radio Merseyside. The Scouse alternative commentary is going to be a fabulous addition to the show. It’s going be such fun, I can’t wait.”
Andrew Bowman, Executive Editor at BBC Radio Merseyside says: “I’m so chuffed to have found an amazing Scouse Voice of Eurovision! We searched across Liverpool and Merseyside and hundreds of auditions – it was a tough decision for the judges but Paul will be boss at this. Eurovision and Liverpool is a match made in heaven – and we’ll capture the spirit of the City and the Contest with our unique Scouse commentary with Paul alongside the fabulous Claire Sweeney.”
You will be able to listen to the alternative Scouse commentary of the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday 13 May 2023 from 8pm on BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Red Button.