Liverpool to host Eurovision Song Contest in 2023

The announcement was made by Graham Norton, the host of the BBC’s coverage, during The One Show on Friday night.

Sam Ryder
Sam Ryder

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

The international music show will take place at the Liverpool Arena, culminating in the grand final on Saturday May 13.

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

Liverpool, which is twinned with the Ukrainian city of Odesa, faced Glasgow in the final run-off after a list of 20 candidates was whittled down by the BBC and European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which produces the annual event.

Graham Norton, who hosts the BBC’s coverage, revealed the host city during a special edition of The One Show on Friday evening.

It also saw the EBU unveil the official logo for the 2023 contest containing the Ukrainian flag within a heart, reflecting that the show is taking place in the UK on behalf of the country.

For the first time, the two semi-finals on Tuesday May 9 and Thursday May 11 will also be show on BBC One as well as the iPlayer.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “While we came up against stiff competition from Glasgow, who deserve more than the nil points they have received on this occasion, 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.”

Eurovision 2023
A Beatles statue in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Prime Minister Liz Truss congratulated the city, tweeting: “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 added: “Huge congratulations to Liverpool.

“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.

“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.”

Ringo Starr mural
A mural of Ringo Starr, commissioned by Liverpool artist John Culshaw, is unveiled on the gable end of the Empress Pub on Admiral Street in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Kalush Orchestra, who won the 2022 contest for Ukraine, 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.

“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.”

Eurovision executive supervisor Martin Osterdahl said Liverpool is “synonymous with music and Liverpool Arena exceeds all the requirements needed to stage a global event of this scale”.

He added: “We have been very impressed with the passion the city has shown in embracing the Contest and their inclusive ideas for placing last year’s winners, Ukraine, front and centre when thousands of fans visit next May.”

The BBC said both cities had provided “incredibly strong bids” and each “proposed to reflect Ukrainian culture and music in their own unique way” but that Liverpool eventually won out.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Congratulations, Liverpool. Gutted for Glasgow, but no doubt you’ll do @Eurovision and Ukraine proud.”

BBC director-general Tim Davie added: “Liverpool is such an exciting, warm and vibrant city.

“It’s the undisputed capital of pop music and is celebrating the 65th anniversary of its twinning with the Ukrainian city of Odesa.”

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.

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