Eurovision: UK to host next year’s Song Contest

Sam Ryder arrives at Heathrow Airport in London after finishing second in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in ItalyImage source, PA Media

Image caption,

The UK’s Sam Ryder was pictured in a pink Kalush Orchestra hat, in a nod to this year’s Ukrainian winners

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in the UK next year after show organisers decided it could not be held in the winning country, Ukraine.

The ongoing war following February’s Russian invasion prompted the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to look for an alternative host.

The UK’s Sam Ryder came second this year, which prompted the EBU to open talks with the BBC last month.

Several UK cities have already expressed interest in hosting.

The UK has a number of places with suitable arenas, accommodation and international transport links, with London, Sheffield and Manchester already confirming that they will put in an official bid.

Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Birmingham, Aberdeen, London, Brighton, Bristol, Belfast and Cardiff could throw their hats into the ring.

“We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us,” said Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of Ukraine’s public broadcaster, UA:PBC.

The bidding process to decide which city will host will begin this week.

The BBC and the The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will consider all official approaches and will publish the longlist later this summer.

Tickets usually go on sale a few months before the contest, once the specific venue is chosen.

The date for the contest’s Grand Final hasn’t been announced yet but it usually happens in May.

Ukraine will automatically qualify for the Grand Final, as is usual for the winner, along with the so-called Big Five, which includes the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

They each go straight through to the final because of their financial contributions to the event.

UA: PBC will work with the BBC to develop Ukrainian elements of the show.

Mr Chernotytskyi added that although the contest will not be held there, it will be “in support of Ukraine”.

“I am confident that together we will be able to add Ukrainian spirit to this event and once again unite the whole of Europe around our common values of peace, support, celebrating diversity and talent.”

Reflecting Ukrainian creativity

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries both welcomed the news, while acknowledging the unwanted circumstances.

“Following a request from the European Broadcasting Union and the Ukrainian authorities, I’m delighted that the BBC has agreed to step in and host next year’s contest,” Ms Dorries said.

“I’m just sorry that due to Russia’s continued acts of bloodshed it has not been possible to host the event in Ukraine, where it should be.”

She added that the UK will “ensure it reflects Ukraine’s recent Eurovision victory and Ukrainian creativity”.

Mr Johnson tweeted that the UK would put on a “fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends”, and that last week he and Ukraine’s President Zelensky had agreed that the contest “must celebrate the country and people of Ukraine”

BBC director general Tim Davie added: “It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

“Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege.”

He said the broadcaster would make the event “a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity”.

Martin Österdahl, who oversees the Eurovision Song Contest, said: “We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023.”

Image source, AFP

Image caption,

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra went on to play at Glastonbury last month

The EBU have said the host venue should accommodate about 10,000 spectators, be within easy reach of an international airport and have enough hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, journalists and spectators.

Ukraine’s entrant Kalush Orchestra won this year’s contest in May in a symbolic show of public support, while Sam Ryder came second for the UK, the country’s best result since 1998.

Eurovision hosting facts

  • The UK has hosted Eurovision eight times – more than any other country
  • It has taken over hosting duties for other countries four times
  • It hosted for the Netherlands in 1960, for France in 1963, for Monaco in 1972; and Luxembourg in 1974
  • The UK last hosted in 1998, from Birmingham, after Katrina and the Waves’ win
  • Harrogate, Brighton, Edinburgh and London have also been host cities
  • Israel was the last country that declined to host, in 1980, having also won the year before

Katrina Leskanich, whose UK entry won the 1997 contest with her group Katrina and The Waves, told BBC 5 Live: “I think it’s an absolute privilege that the UK get to host it this year. It’s obviously going to be handled with sensitivity.”

She added that Eurovision is a “growing phenomenon”, which has also now reached the US, which has its own version of the contest. It was won in its first year by K-pop singer AleXa.

“People love it. It brings people together,” Leskanich said.

Normally, Ukraine’s win would mean it is hosting the competition next year, but the EBU insisted that would not happen due to the conflict there.

The announcement last month was met with disappointment by Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, who issued a statement “demanding to change the decision”. The Ukrainian broadcaster UA: PBC, also expressed disappointment.

But on Monday, Chernotytskyi, who is head of the managing board of the broadcaster, said in a statement: “The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will not be in Ukraine but in support of Ukraine. We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us.

“I am confident that together we will be able to add Ukrainian spirit to this event and once again unite the whole of Europe around our common values of peace, support, celebrating diversity and talent.”

The EBU acknowledged Ukraine’s initial disappointment, saying it “fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement” that the contest would not be taking place there.

“The decision was guided by the EBU’s responsibility to ensure the conditions are met to guarantee the safety and security of everyone working and participating in the event, the planning of which needs to begin immediately in the host country,” it added.

Read More

Affiliate disclosure: The links contained in this product review may result in a small commission if you opt to purchase the product recommended at no additional cost to you. This goes towards supporting our research and editorial team and please know we only recommend high quality products.

Disclaimer: Please understand that any advice or guidelines revealed here are not even remotely a substitute for sound medical advice from a licensed healthcare provider. Make sure to consult with a professional physician before making any purchasing decision if you use medications or have concerns following the review details shared above. Individual results may vary as the statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.