The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has officially confirmed that the United Kingdom will host next year’s edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. It comes after this year’s winner, Ukraine, lost its right to host the competition, due to the ongoing war in the country.
UK Contest with a Ukrainian touch
In a press release, the EBU announced that the United Kingdom will take over the reins of hosting from Ukraine, which had hoped to host next year’s show. However, following event risk concerns and the ongoing war, the EBU decided to move the Contest for the safety of the event and those working on it.
However, Ukraine will play a large role in the Contest’s organisation, with members of both Ukraine’s and the UK’s national broadcasters working together to put on a show “in full support of Ukraine”.
Giving a statement, the Head of the Managing Board of UA:PBC, Mykola Chernotytskyi added:
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.Mykola Chernotytskyi, Head of Managing Board of UA:PBC
This is not the first time that the UK has stepped in to host the Contest on behalf of another country. In 1960, the Contest made its way to London after the Netherlands declined to host two Contests in three years. Similar occurrences also happened in 1963, 1972 and 1974.
Host city bidding process to begin in August
In addition to the announcement, the bidding process for host cities has also been revealed. From August, cities across the UK will be able to submit proposals to bring the Contest to their doorstep.
Several cities across the UK have already expressed an interest in hosting the Contest, including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol, Aberdeen, Sheffield, and Brighton. A provisional long-list is set to be released later in the summer.
Typically, host cities must be able to meet a number of requirements set by the EBU; for example, proximity to an international airport, as well as ability to host upwards of 10,000 spectators. However, for 2023, host cities will also need to be willing to highlight Ukrainian culture in their cities, with additional help from diaspora.
Speaking to the EBU, Director-General of the BBC Tim Davie, said that Ukraine will factor into all levels of the show, including the selection of the host city:
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.
The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity. The BBC will now begin the process to find a host city to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023.Tim Davie, BBC Director-General
United Kingdom’s Eurovision journey
Despite a recent slump in results, the UK is one of the most successful countries at the Eurovision Song Contest. Debuting at the second edition ever of the Contest in 1957, the United Kingdom has won the competition on five separate occasions. The most recent win for the UK was in 1997 with Katrina and the Waves, singing “Love Shine A Light”. The UK also holds the record for the number of second place finishes – currently at 16.
In 2022, the UK was represented by Sam Ryder with his song “SPACE MAN”. The performance managed to impress juries and televoters, and the UK finished in second place with 466 points, their best placing since 1998.
What do you make of the EBU’s decision? Which city in the United Kingdom do you wish to host the Contest? Are you looking to visit for the Contest? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below. Also, be sure to follow “That Eurovision Site” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as we gear up for Eurovision 2023!
News Source: EBU
Photo Credit: EBU