Eurovision 2023: Shortlist of UK host cities revealed

·4 min read
Eurovision 2023 Shortlist of UK cities revealed - Luca Bruno /AP
Eurovision 2023 Shortlist of UK cities revealed - Luca Bruno /AP

Liverpool, Glasgow and Birmingham are among the UK cities shortlisted to host the 2023 Eurovision song contest in the UK.

The full list of the seven host cities is:

  • Birmingham

  • Glasgow

  • Leeds

  • Liverpool

  • Manchester

  • Newcastle

  • Sheffield

London and Darlington are among the cities who applied to host the event, but ultimately missed out on making the shortlist.

Glasgow is the early odds-on favourite to win the bid, with bookmakers setting the odds at 4/5. Birmingham is second on the list of odds at 7/4.

After the shortlist was announced, Kate Phillips, the BBC's director of unscripted content, said: "We would like to thank all of the cities and regions that submitted bids to host next year's Eurovision Song Contest. We have seven fantastic cities who we are taking through to the next round.

"Congratulations to Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield - it's exciting to see such a breadth of bids going through from across the UK.

"We are committed to delivering a truly unique Song Contest that celebrates wonderful Ukraine and champions British music and creativity in all its diversity."

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "With Ukraine unable to host next year's contest as it continues to defend itself against Russia's senseless aggression, we are determined to deliver a competition which reflects Ukraine's rich culture and creativity.

"I wish all the bidding cities the best of success and know no matter which one is chosen it will be a fantastic event to make both the UK and Ukraine proud."

13 cities applied to host the event, but fell short of making the shortlist. They include: London, Darlington, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Brighton, Leicester, Derry and Sunderland.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "It's got to be Glasgow!"

Reacting to news Birmingham was on the shortlist, city council leader Ian Ward said: "We are delighted to be one of the seven shortlisted cities."

"This is a city of sanctuary, a city who has welcomed people from around the world and made their home here."

"We would love the honour of hosting, on behalf of Ukraine, the Eurovision song contest next year."

Mr Ward, who has been an avid watcher of Eurovision "since the 1980s", added: "Now we're shortlisted, we'll look to kick on from this and proceed through to the next round.

"But we've just hosted what has widely been acclaimed as possibly the best ever Commonwealth Games.

"So we have demonstrated, as a city, that we can do these huge multi-venue events at short notice in a way few other locations can.

"We are definitely up for the challenge, and we want to make this a celebration of Ukraine."

Eurovision 2023: Shortlist of host cities revealed - MARCO BERTORELLO /AFP
Eurovision 2023: Shortlist of host cities revealed - MARCO BERTORELLO /AFP

South Yorkshire's Mayor Oliver Coppard said: "Crack open the bucks fizz, Eurovision are making their minds up - and the only correct choice is Sheffield and South Yorkshire!

"I've previously said that Sheffield seemed the obvious choice to host next year's Eurovision Song Contest, you'd have to be a spaceman not to.

"But I will say it again - we have the venues, the heritage, the track record and the passion that Eurovision deserves in such an important year for the contest, that would be held in solidarity with our friends and partners in Ukraine."

Sheffield city councillor Martin Smith, economic development and skills policy committee chair, said the bid team "planned to work with our Ukrainian communities and partners, bringing cultures together in solidarity".

'Give those who host refugees priority tickets'

Britain was asked to host the contest after the winner of the 2022 iteration Ukraine announced it would not be able to host the competition due to the war in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian entry, Kalush Orchestra, won the competition in Turin, Italy, this year and it is traditional that the winning country hosts the event the following year.

It will be the ninth time Eurovision has taken place in the UK - more than any other country.

Announcing the move, Tim Davie, the director-general of the BBC said: "It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege."

"The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity."

Ukraine will automatically qualify for the Eurovision grand final alongside the so-called big five nations - the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - who each get a free pass because of their financial contributions to the event.

On Friday, UK-based think tank and charity British Future called for Ukrainian refugees and their UK host families to be given "priority tickets" to Eurovision 2023.

The host city is expected to be announced by the autumn.