Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 09:54 UK

Meet Eurovision host Jovana Jankovic

By Fiona Pryor
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Jovana Jankovic
Jovana Jankovic fronts a morning TV show in Serbia

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most-watched shows in the world - and is several hours of live television where anything can go wrong.

In the middle of the colourful acts, crazy dancing and controversial voting are the hosts who, year after year, are charged with keeping smooth control of the whole event.

Until the mid-1990s, presenting Eurovision was the preserve of the solo female host, when the ubiquitous double act - a man and a woman - took over.

This year's show in Belgrade, Serbia is the turn of TV presenter Jovana Jankovic and pop star Zeljko Joksimovic to play the happy couple.

For Jankovic, Serbia's equivalent of GMTV's Fiona Phillips, live television is not daunting as she fronts the country's daily breakfast show.

"I'm honoured to be the host and I'm really looking forward to the event," she says.

Successful musicians

The pair have been rehearsing for weeks and will continue to do so throughout the week of the contest.

In the run-up to Eurovision week, Jankovic admitted of the task ahead: "Everything looks very confusing."

"But I think we are working on everything, and as long as we're getting better everything will be good."

The pair have also been having English and French classes, as well as choreography classes.

The language tuition will help the pair negotiate their way through the long voting process, where the results have to be announced in both tongues.

Joksimovic, 35, is one of the most successful musicians in the Balkans and has been involved with Eurovision for many years.

Jelena Tomasevic
Zeljko Joksimovic wrote Serbia's entry this year for Jelena Tomasevic

In 2004 he represented Serbia and Montenegro in Istanbul, finishing second with Lane Moje.

Two years later his song Lejla finished third for Bosnia's Hari Mata Hari.

And this year he composed Serbia's entry, which is being performed by Jelena Tomasevic for the host country.

When asked why both she and Joksimovic were asked to host the show, Jankovic reels off a long list of must-haves.

"They told me before I was chosen that you needed to be good in your profession, to have charm and to know languages.

'Chemistry'

"They told me that but they always have one host who works regularly on television and who is very familiar with presenting shows and the other one who is a star in the host country.

"The most important thing is to be very charming and to have a good connection with people."

Zeljko Joksimovic and Jovana Jankovic
Joksimovic represented Serbia in 2004 and came second

Despite his successful singing career Joksimovic has very little presenting experience, but Jankovic clearly does not that think that will hinder him.

"I think the chemistry between the two of us is very good at this moment," she says.

"In March we did the second draw for the Eurovision Song Contest and we were preparing for the draw for two weeks. We had a great time together.

"After that we were meeting each other going for lunches. For the hosts it is most important that they know each other well," she adds.

Despite all the rehearsals and hosting experience, anyone who works in or watches television will say it can all go wrong on the night.

Asked if this worries her, Jankovic explains: "Well I hope that nothing will go wrong this time because we have 10 days of rehearsals.

"If something does though, we will see what happens and how we will react, I suppose."

The second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place on Thursday night and will be shown on BBC Three from 2000 BST.

The grand final is on Saturday 24 May and will be on BBC One from 2000 BST.


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