The United Kingdom will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 due to the ongoing war in Ukraine preventing the 2022 winners from being able to stage the huge entertainment event.
Eurovision 2022 was won by Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra after an overwhelming public vote in support of the nation’s entry and rave reviews for the performance by fans. Usually, the winning nation takes responsibility for hosting the next event, but on this occasion, the UK, who came second with Sam Ryder’s Spaceman, have stepped in to play host as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues.
It is understood a number of major cities in the UK have already expressed an interest in hosting the event including Manchester and London, but no decision has been taken with the European Broadcasting Union yet on where Eurovision 2023 will be staged. The venue chosen must accommodate around 10,000 spectators and be within easy reach of an international airport. There also needs to be significant accommodation available for delegates, artists and journalists who travel from across the continent.
Oleh Psiuk, lead singer of the Kalush Orchestra, thanked the UK for “support of our country” and said he was sad it couldn’t be held in Ukraine this time, but hoped it would “celebrate our beautiful, unique culture”. He also said he hoped Ukraine might win again so that they could host the event in 2024.
The UK Eurovision performer at 2022 Sam Ryder told the BBC: “The main thing is that we throw an amazing event that celebrates Ukraine – and one thing’s for sure, we know how to throw a party here in the UK.”
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A BBC spokesperson said the event will be a “a co-production of the host broadcaster and participating members of the EBU”.
Adding: “There are a number of funding options to be explored that will contribute towards delivering a fantastic event and great value for licence fee payers.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted to reiterate that the event would be as much about Ukraine as it would the UK, despite its geographical location. He said the UK would “put on a fantastic contest on behalf of Ukrainian friends.”
Ukraine will automatically qualify for the grand final of the contest in 2023, alongside the so-called Big Five nations who provide the majority of the funding to the EBU, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
No date has been set for the event yet, but it is expected to take place in May 2023. No tickets are on sale as of yet, but details are expected to follow in the near future.