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Rylan Clark-Neal replaced by Sara Cox in last-minute Eurovision presenter change

The beloved presenter has been taken ill

Eve Crosbie

Rylan Clark-Neal has been forced to pull out of covering this year's Eurovision Song Contest due to illness.

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The presenter, 32, was due to provide commentary on Tuesday and Thursday's semi-finals alongside Scott Mills and Chelcee Grimes for the BBC

However, Sara Cox has revealed that Rylan is "unwell" and so will be taking his place.

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Sara, 46, announced the last-minute change on her BBC Radio 2 show on Monday evening, saying: "I'm really excited, I've got a new little job this week. I will be co-hosting the Eurovision semi-finals on BBC Four tomorrow night and Thursday night.

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"Rylan is unwell, so obvs we wish him better," she explained, adding that she'll be "stepping into Rylan's sparkly tux" for both shows.

She added that she was looking forward to "rekindling the flames" with Scott Mills, who she commentated the 2011 and 2012 Eurovision semi-finals alongside. 

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Sara Cox will be taking Rylan's place and commentate the semi finals alongside Scott Mills and Chelcee Grimes

Due to the ongoing travel restrictions, the semi-final presenters will remain in their home countries and provide their commentary remotely.

Meanwhile, Graham Norton will present the final live from Rotterdam, where this year's competition is taking place. 

Rylan had previously expressed his delight about being involved in this year's contest, telling the Metro: "There was a big Eurovision shaped hole in my life last year, so I am super excited to see what everyone brings to the table for 2021 – it's the best time of the year!"

MORE: Rylan Clark-Neal reveals real reason he quit This Morning following Eamonn and Ruth's shock exit

Representing the UK at this year's competition is BRIT award winner James Newman. The singer-songwriter was originally the UK's 2020 entrant, but last year's competition was cancelled due to the pandemic. 

Speaking about his entry song, Embers, he told Newsbeat: "I feel like everyone wants a party and to have some fun so when I was writing, that's what I had in my head. I wanted something people can dance to, even if it's just in their kitchen."

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