Next year’s Eurovision will still be “Ukraine’s party” despite being hosted in the United Kingdom, singer Sam Ryder has promised.
Ukraine won this year’s Eurovision by a landslide amid a wave of international support for the under-fire eastern European nation.
While President Zelenskyy initially promised to bring the competition to the besieged city of Mariupol, organisers quickly decided it would be impractical to host in a nation where a bomb could go off at any moment.
As this year’s runner up, Britain will host the competition instead but organisers are keen that the event still has a Ukrainian character to it:
“It’s Ukraine’s party, we’re just inviting them to throw it at our house,” Sam Ryder, who represented Britain this year, explained.
“I know how much it meant to Kalush and the Ukrainian delegation that Eurovision would be held at home in Ukraine next year.
“And I’m not the only one whose heart is heavy knowing that that can’t be the case at this moment in time.”
Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tweeted that:
“Last week President Zelenskyy and I agreed that wherever Eurovision 2023 is held, it must celebrate the country and people of Ukraine.
“As we are now hosts, the UK will honour that pledge directly – and put on a fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends.”
No agreement has yet been made about which British city will host the event but it will need the capacity to host some 10,000 spectators - meaning it is unlikely that it will return to the Yorkshire town of Harrogate which hosted it in 1982.
Glasgow, Belfast, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester are all strong contenders.
Main image: Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra, winners of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. Picture by: EBU/SARAH LOUISE BENNETT