Liverpool wins race to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in place of Ukraine

The UK was named the Eurovision Song Contest host nation after Sam Ryder came second in the 2022 contest (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
The UK was named the Eurovision Song Contest host nation after Sam Ryder came second in the 2022 contest (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

Liverpool has been confirmed to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year.

The international music show is being held in the UK after this year’s winner, Ukraine, was deemed unable to host because of the Russian invasion.

The city faced Glasgow in the final run-off after a list of 20 candidates was whittled down by the BBC and European Broadcasting Union, which produces the annual event.

The announcement was made by Graham Norton, who hosts the BBC’s coverage, on The One Show on Friday evening.

The final two cities battling it out were revealed last month following a seven-strong shortlist which also included Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester.

Ukrainian entry Kalush Orchestra triumphed at the 2022 competition in Turin, Italy, but the EBU later concluded the show could not be safely held in the war-torn country.

It was decided the UK would host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest, as Sam Ryder came second in the competition.

Applicant cities were asked to demonstrate how they would reflect Ukrainian culture, music and communities if they were to host on behalf of Ukraine.

This will be the ninth time the UK will have hosted the competition, more than any other country.

Prime Minister Liz Truss congratulated Liverpool on winning the race.

She tweeted: “Huge congratulations to Liverpool for having been selected as the hosts of @bbceurovision 2023.

“A welcoming city with a proud musical heritage, Liverpool will put on an unforgettable show which celebrates the rich culture and creativity of Ukraine.”

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan tweeted: “The city loves music and knows how to throw a party, so I’ve no doubt it will host a spectacular experience for the thousands in attendance and millions watching at home on the BBC.

“(Vladimir) Putin’s illegal war means the competition cannot take place in Ukraine, but Eurovision brings people together and, together with the Government, I am sure Liverpool and the BBC will honour the country’s culture and creativity with an event to remember.”

Kalush Orchestra said it could not wait to play in the home city of The Beatles.

The band said: “We are very pleased that next year’s Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Liverpool. Though we haven’t had the privilege of visiting yet, the musical heritage of the city is known all over the world.

Ukraine’s 2022 Eurovision entry Kalush Orchestra won the competition earlier this year (Eurovision 2022/PA) (PA Media)
Ukraine’s 2022 Eurovision entry Kalush Orchestra won the competition earlier this year (Eurovision 2022/PA) (PA Media)

“Playing in the same place that The Beatles started out will be a moment we’ll never forget! Although we are sad that next year’s competition cannot take place in our homeland, we know that the people of Liverpool will be warm hosts and the organisers will be able to add a real Ukrainian flavour to Eurovision 2023 in this city.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, paid credit to Glasgow - saying it “deserves more than the nil points they have received on this occasion” - but added “nowhere is more experienced or qualified, and nowhere throws a party quite like we do”.

“We want to put on a show that Ukraine would be proud of, and we have been working closely with Liverpool’s sister city of Odesa to ensure that this is their event as much as our own.

“Now the hard work begins. Putting on a show that will give millions a night they will never forget in one of the most turbulent and trying years for our continent is no mean feat.

“If anywhere is capable of it, it is the Liverpool City Region, with a little help from our friends in Ukraine.”