Eurovision 2023: 7 UK cities make shortlist to host song contest in place of Ukraine

·Contributor
·3-min read
Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2022, but were deemed unable to host Eurovision 2023 due to the war with Russia. (Getty)
Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2022, but were deemed unable to host Eurovision 2023 due to the war with Russia. (Getty)

Seven UK cities are in the frame to host Eurovision 2023, after a list of potential hosts was whittled down to a shortlist including Glasgow, Liverpool and previous hosts Birmingham.

On The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2, Scott Mills paid a visit alongside Eurovision's executive supervisor Martin Österdahl and confirmed that Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield have made the final shortlist to host the prestigious event.

Read more: Which UK city will host Eurovision 2023?

Mills said: "Some people kind of rubbish the Eurovision Song Contest, but it's huge. It's a beast. It's big and it's complicated as an event to put on.

"But also, it's cities that have the passion to put on a contest like this because of past experience with huge international events and being able to host a celebration of modern music."

The shortlisted cities must now give more detail on their bids, which will be assessed against the BBC's criteria ahead of a final announcement in the autumn.

Sam Ryder finished in second place at Eurovision in 2022, reversing the UK's recent trend of failure at the event. (Getty)
Sam Ryder finished in second place at Eurovision in 2022, reversing the UK's recent trend of failure at the event. (Getty)

The UK has been given the opportunity to host Eurovision in May 2023 after the country's second place finish at the 2022 event.

The competition's winner, Ukraine, was deemed unable to take up the traditional hosting duties due to the ongoing invasion by Russia, despite president Volodymyr Zelensky's determination to do so.

Read more: Bill Bailey reveals secret weapon to win Eurovision

In a statement, organising group the European Broadcasting Union said: "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 was subsequently announced that the job would be passed on to the UK, following singer Sam Ryder's second place finish with the song Space Man behind Ukrainian rap group Kalush Orchestra.

The UK has hosted the contest a record eight times already, but hasn't welcomed Eurovision to these shores since it came to Birmingham in 1998 – the year after Katrina and the Waves won.

Dana International of Israel won Eurovision in 1998 when the event was last held in the UK. (Getty)
Dana International of Israel won Eurovision in 1998 when the event was last held in the UK. (Getty)

20 cities submitted formal "expressions of interest" for the role of host this time around, with the likes of Aberdeen, Belfast, Brighton, Bristol and Darlington missing out on the formal shortlist.

Cardiff had previously indicated a willingness to bid, with newsreader Huw Edwards open to fronting the event, but later pulled out of the race.

In the wake of the news that the UK would host Eurovision on Ukraine's behalf, Ryder posted on his social media page to affirm that "it's Ukraine's party, we're just inviting them to throw it at our house".

Read more: Eurovision legend Lulu discusses her career in showbiz

He added: "I know how much it meant to Kalush and the Ukrainian delegation that Eurovision would be held at home in Ukraine next year, and I’m not the only one whose heart is heavy knowing that can’t be the case at this moment in time.

"But, what I would love to say to anyone watching this from Ukraine, is that we know how to throw a party here in the UK and our excitement is outshone only by our focus on that one sole objective – to hold space and to be on hand to help wherever needed, to host an event that celebrates Ukrainian culture, history, and music."

Watch: Sam Ryder sums up the UK hosting Eurovision 2023