Eurovision announces ‘major changes’ for 2023 contest

The UK will host Eurovision 2023 on behalf of Ukraine due to safety concerns

The Eurovision Song Contest has announced “major changes” to its voting system ahead of the 2023 event in Liverpool.

The contest, which will this year be hosted in the UK on behalf of previous winners Ukraine, has announced that non-participating countries outside of Europe will now be able to vote online for their favourite act.

The “Rest of the World” will effectively count as a voting nation, with all votes combined and converted into a set of points.

Although the grand final of the contest will still be decided with a combination of a jury and a public vote, the semi-final results have also been changed ahead of 2023.

The semi-final results will now be decided solely by viewers’ votes, rather than the previous system of a combined jury and public vote.

This year saw Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra win the top spot of the Eurovision Song Contest, with the UK in second place, the highest it has placed in decades.

Following the contest, however, Eurovision faced calls to scrap its jury system after allegations of cheating, after organisers detected “irregular voting patterns” from six countries during the second semi-finals.

Flemish broadcaster VRT alleged that six countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, and San Marino – “had agreed to vote for each other”.

It was not mentioned whether this incident was the driving force behind the shake-up of the voting system in 2023.

Martin Österdahl, Eurovision’s executive supervisor, said in a statement: “Throughout its 67-year history, the Eurovision Song Contest has constantly evolved to remain relevant and exciting.

“These changes acknowledge the immense popularity of the show by giving more power to the audience of the world’s largest live music event.

“In 2023 only Eurovision Song Contest viewers will decide which countries make it to the Grand Final and, reflecting the global impact of the event, everyone watching the show, wherever they live in the world, can cast their votes for their favourite songs.

“By also involving juries of music professionals in deciding the final result, all the songs in the Grand Final can be assessed on the broadest possible criteria.

“We can also maintain the tradition of travelling around Europe and Australia to collect points and ensure a thrilling voting sequence with the winner only revealed at the very end of the show.”

Liverpool will be the host city for Eurovision in 2023 after beating a shortlist of seven UK cities to host, including Birmingham and Manchester.
Despite placing first in the 2022 contest, it was decided that Ukraine was unable to host next year due to the ongoing war with Russia, who was banned from participating in this year’s contest.

The BBC has said the 2023 finals will be a celebration of Ukraine, focusing on its culture and history.