UK to host Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 on behalf of Ukraine

Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra pose onstage with their trophy and Ukraine's flags

The UK will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023, it has been confirmed.

Next year’s contest will be held in a UK city on behalf of Ukraine, which was ruled out from hosting “with deep regret” by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) due to “safety and security issues” caused by the war with Russia.

It was announced last month that the UK, which placed second at this year’s Eurovision, had been asked take over as host during the ongoing conflict.

Eurovision organisers said representatives will work with the BBC to incorporate Ukrainian elements into the show.

A host city bidding contest will begin this week, and mayors, councillors and MPs from several UK cities have already indicated that they intend to bid, including Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Swindon and Wolverhampton.

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, tweeted that “London is ready and willing to step in”, while Bev Craig, leader of Manchester city council, confirmed that Manchester would also be bidding.

The official long-list of potential host cities will be released later this summer.

With the UK not having hosted the Eurovision Song Contest since 1998, social media was flooded with what can only be described as joyful gay panic.

Eurovision organisers have said that because of the country’s 2022 win, Ukraine will automatically qualify of the grand final alongside the Big Five; the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision executive supervisor, said in a statement: “We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023.

“The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions.

“Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year’s contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe’s most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year’s winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event.”

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