Johnny Weir is a Eurovision superfan and it’s paying off
“This competition has inspired me for many years,” he said. “I actually took some of the songs and performed them on the ice.”
Weir will host and provide commentary for the semi-finals and finals, streaming exclusively on Peacock in the United States.
He used to work with NBC, Peacock’s parent company, providing commentary for figure skating competitions. Weir slips into his Eurovision duties, which begin on Tuesday.
“I know for some people putting a figure skating commentator on the Eurovision Song Contest might be a weird leap, but it’s absolutely easy, organic,” he said. “I’m such a huge fan that I’m just going to party all the time with everyone at home.”
The annual competition pits singers, who must perform live, from participating countries against each other and has become a global phenomenon.
Viewers from participating broadcasters can vote for their favorite song, but not for their own country. There is also a jury of professionals. The votes of the professional juries and the viewers are then combined to be taken into account in the performers’ score.
Famous past winners include band ABBA and singer Celine Dion.
Weir loves the pageantry, politics and showmanship of Eurovision.
He said he thinks one of the most poignant moments in this year’s competition will come from folk rap group Kalush Orchestra, who represent Ukraine currently struggling against Russian occupation.
“I think the message Ukrainian artists send is that we are here, we are strong, and we are Ukraine,” Weir said. “They play traditional Ukrainian instruments with traditional Ukrainian costumes.”
“The song was originally created for the [one of the ]mother of the artist,” he added. “And it has now become a song that means so much to all of Ukraine and to every Ukrainian mother going through these dark times.”
Although this is a European competition, Weir promises Americans watching will find a competitor to cheer on.
He said he was partial every year when entering Norway because he “is Norwegian by blood”, while also shooting for Iceland and, this year, Ukraine.
Weir has been following the competition from the start and says he will try to resist the urge to sing along.
“They turn off my mic during performances, so maybe I can sing,” he laughed.
The first semi-final is Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET. The second semi-final is Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, followed by the grand final at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday,