Glasgow and Liverpool express delight at final Eurovision shortlist decision

Figures in Glasgow and Liverpool have expressed their excitement as the cities were announced as the final two in contention to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year.

The cities were selected after Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester were removed from the list to host the music event in place of Ukraine.

Announcing the news on Tuesday, Phil Harrold, the chairman of the BBC’s host city selection committee, said: “Thanks to all seven cities across the UK who have demonstrated the enthusiasm and passion for Eurovision that exists right across the UK.

“We were incredibly impressed by the quality and creativity of all the city bids in what was a highly competitive field.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is a very complex event and Liverpool and Glasgow have the strongest overall offer; we will continue our discussions with them to determine the eventual host city.

“We are determined to make the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest one that both reflects the winning position of Ukraine and is also an event that all of the UK can participate in.”

Responding to the news that Liverpool is in with a chance of hosting the hugely popular song contest, Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson said she was “absolutely delighted”.

In a tweet she wrote: “Absolutely delighted #Liverpool has made the final two for the #Eurovision2023 shortlist.

“Nowhere throws a party quite like us. The people, communities & businesses of our city are ready to put on a show – for Ukraine, the UK & for Europe.

“Eurovision in Liverpool. Imagine.”

Scottish culture minister Neil Gray expressed his delight at the news that Glasgow is also still in the running.

He said: “We are delighted that Glasgow has made the final selection to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

“The Scottish Government will continue to engage with Glasgow Council as they progress their final bid.”

Further discussions will now take place with officials from Glasgow and Liverpool and the host city will be announced “within weeks”, the BBC have said, with the final decision a matter for the BBC in conjunction with the EBU.

Ukrainian entry Kalush Orchestra triumphed at the 2022 competition in Turin, Italy, but the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which produces the annual event, decided the show cannot be safely held in the country following Russia’s invasion.

In August a list narrowed down from 20 UK cities who initially submitted an “expression of interest” was released by the BBC, with applicants across all four countries demonstrating how they would reflect Ukrainian culture, music and communities.

Of the seven cities named in August, six were in England, one in Scotland, with Belfast failing to make the cut for Northern Ireland.

Speaking after the announcement of the final two cities, Martin Osterdahl, the executive supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest, said the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) are “confident” Glasgow and Liverpool are the “best-placed” cities to host Eurovision 2023.

Osterdahl said: “The EBU would like to warmly thank all the seven British cities that put so much effort and enthusiasm into their bids to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine.

“We very much appreciate their co-operation and the quality and creativity of all the bids received.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is the most complex TV production in the world, with very specific logistical requirements to accommodate around 40 delegations and thousands of crew, volunteers, press and fans.

“We’re confident our final two cities are the best-placed to meet this challenge and look forward to continuing our discussions to choose the one which will stage the world’s largest music event next May.”

Glasgow’s OVO Hydro arena, Scotland’s largest entertainment venue, has tweeted that if the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest was held in the city it would be “an amazing experience for the huge global community of fans, with Ukraine at its heart”.

We are incredibly proud that #Glasgow has made it to the final (two) of the @Eurovision hosting process,” the OVO Hydro account wrote.

“#Eurovision in Glasgow would be an amazing experience for the huge global community of fans, with Ukraine at its heart.”

A post on Liverpool City Council’s official Twitter account said: “Liverpool is very proud to make the final two on the Eurovision shortlist,” followed by a variety of colourful heart emojis.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said Glasgow has “got what it takes to go all the way” and become host of Eurovision next year.

Speaking after the announcement, Jack said: “It’s an honour for the UK to host Eurovision 2023 and pay tribute to the culture and creativity of Ukraine.

“Glasgow has got what it takes to go all the way.

“Famous around the world for its brilliant music and welcoming spirit, with a track record in delivering global events, we know our biggest city would put on a fantastic show.”

Meanwhile Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan tweeted: “Congratulations to Glasgow and Liverpool on making the @BBC#Eurovision shortlist and commiserations to the unsuccessful cities who did a tremendous job in putting themselves forward. Can’t wait to see which city comes out on top. Good luck!!”