It’s an iconic moment that has spanned decades – and this year AJ Odudu will be the famous face handing out those scores on behalf of the UK for the Eurovision Song Contest.
The TV presenter and Strictly Come Dancing star will follow in the footsteps of celebs such as Fearne Cotton, Scott Mills and Amanda Holden to dish out those sought after douze points at this year’s competition. But she’ll also be making history as ella, instead of calling from London, she’ll be calling from Salford, right here in the north west.
The star, who hails from Blackburn, will become the first spokesperson to do so, with BBC Eurovision confirming this in a tweet which read: “Ciao Italia, this is SALFORD calling!” It might be weird for some fans not to hear London in Salford’s place but it’s definitely put AJ firmly in the Eurovision history books.
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But aside from making history in the world of European music competitions spanning some 66 years – just who is AJ Odudu? Here’s all you need to know before she graces our screens during tonight’s Grand Final.
She has a presenting career spanning more than a decade
As previous Eurovision spokespeople, such as Scott Mills and Fearne Cotton, prove – you need to be pretty good at presenting when you’re chosen to present those all important scores come the night of the Grand Final. Luckily for AJ, she has plenty of practice.
In a career spanning more than a decade, she has had jobs working for the BBC, Channel 4 and even Sky Arts, including co-presenting coverage from the 2012 Isle of Wight Festival, presenting ‘Big Brother’s Bit on the Side’ alongside Rylan Clark -Neal and Emma Willis, as well as ‘Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit on the Psych’.
She also hosted the 4Music program ‘Trending Live!’ alongside Jimmy Hill and Vick Hope between 2015 and 2019 and regularly presented the online Facebook quiz game ‘Confetti’ in March and April of 2019.
She even co-hosted ‘The Great Comic Relief Prizeathon’ alongside presenting legend Vernon Kay in March 2022 and a one-off revival episode of ‘The Big Breakfast’ in 2021. Plus, she’s the backstage presenter of The Voice UK and The Voice Kids .
She’s got a couple of music-themed accolades under her belt
So we know she can present – and she’s certainly presented her fair share of music-based programmes, but what else does AJ Odudu know about the world of music?
Well, in July 2021 she won the second series of Celebrity Karaoke Club on ITV2 and, since September of that same year, she was a contestant on the 19th series of Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with professional dancer Kai Widdrington.
In their first week alone, the couple topped the leaderboard with a score of 34 for their jive to ‘Gold Dust’ by DJ Fresh and topped it again twice more – one in week seven, with a score of 39 for their Charleston to ‘Don ‘t Bring Lulu’ and second (jointly) in the semi-final.
However, Kai and AJ were forced to pull out of the competition on December 17, just a day before the final, after she tore a ligament in her right ankle.
She competed in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins
AJ actually competed in the first ever Celebrity SAS program in April 2019, alongside Victoria Pendleton, Ben Foden, Heather Fisher, Jeff Brazier, Wayne Bridge, Sam Thompson, Andrea McLean, Jeremy Irvine, Dev Griffin, Louise Mensch and Camilla Thurlow.
She made it through to the end of the program but later revealed in interviews that she “needed therapy for three months” as a result of the ordeal.
You can catch AJ Odudu making history on the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, which starts at 8pm on BBC One tonight (Saturday, May 14).