PM and past winners congratulate Liverpool as it is named Eurovision host city

The city that produced The Beatles fended off competition from Glasgow during the final stage of the selection process.

Eurovision 2023
Eurovision 2023

Former Eurovision champions, the Prime Minister and the mayor of Liverpool have congratulated the city after it was chosen to host the 2023 song contest.

The international music show will take place at the 11,000-capacity Liverpool Arena next May, culminating in the grand final on Saturday 13, after the city fended off competition from Glasgow.

Glasgow had been the bookmakers’ favourite but the city that gave birthed to The Beatles, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Gerry And The Pacemakers eventually won out.

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

After the result was announced by Graham Norton live on The One Show on BBC One, Prime Minister Liz Truss tweeted: “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.”

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.”

Katrina Leskanich, from Katrina And The Waves, the last UK entry to win Eurovision with their song Love Shine A Light in 1997 simply tweeted, “Woohoo” and “Congratulations Liverpool”.

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.

The EBU also unveiled 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.

And for the first time, the two semi-finals on Tuesday May 9 and Thursday May 11 will also be shown on BBC One, plus the iPlayer.

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.

“(Vladimir) 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.”

Eurovision 2023
A Beatles statue 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.”

The Mayor of Ukrainian city Odesa, which is twinned with Liverpool, Gennadiy Trukhanov Lalso reacted to the news.

“It is a matter of great pleasure to know that the bid of Liverpool, our sister city, to host the Eurovision Contest in 2023 is successful,” he said.

“Your city is worthy of that as it embodies the colourfulness and brightness of entire Europe.

“You definitely know how to make the world dance and sing along with you.

“Next year all musical roads of Europe will lead to your city, and we are happy that not only Eurovision contest will decorate Liverpool, but the city itself will adorn the event too.

“All of Odesa is looking forward to literally hearing from you!”

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.”

Presenters Norton, Scott Mills and Rylan Clark, who have each commentated on the contest in previous year, all also shared their excitement on Twitter.

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.

Kalush Orchestra, Eurovision winners from Ukraine (Yui Mok/PA)
Kalush Orchestra, Eurovision winners from Ukraine (Yui Mok/PA)

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.

Liverpool, which has been a Unesco City of Music since 2015, is synonymous with The Beatles and has a rich music heritage.

In 2008 it hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards and it is also home to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

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