Seven UK cities have been officially announced to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield made the official shortlist announced this morning, but London missed out.
London was one of 20 cities that submitted an ‘expression of interest’ to host, with applicants demonstrating how they would reflect Ukrainian culture, music and community.
The UK has stepped in to host the singing competition after it was decided that Ukraine, who won this year’s competition, was not considered a suitable host due to ‘safety and security’ concerns.
Cities that bid were judged on several factors, including being able to host at least 10,000 people in one place, as well as having close access to an international airport.
The announcement was made on Friday morning by Scott Mills, who joined Eurovision Executive Supervisor Martin Osterdahl on Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 Breakfast Show.
The seven cities in line to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest have been officially announced but London does not feature
Mr Osterdahl said: ‘We’ve waited 25 years to host Eurovision in the UK, so are very excited.’
After the announcement, Mills said: ‘It’s huge, it’s a beast and it’s complicated as a programme.
‘But these are the cities that love to host this kind of competition, because of the time, the past experience of big international events and being able to host a festival of modern music.
Leeds (pictured) is one of the cities in line to host a Eurovision concert in 2023 but has never hosted the event before in the UK, despite eight times.
Liverpool (pictured) will hope it is chosen as the most suitable city to host the concert. Cities must have access to an international airport
Glasgow (pictured) is the only Scottish city to be announced on the shortlist despite interest from both Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
20 different cities expressed interest in bidding, including Manchester (pictured) who made it to the final seven
‘Next thing, as these cities go into the second and final phase, they have to give a little more information about their plans.
‘The final, final decision is made based on which cities and regions score the highest on the BBC’s criteria.’
Last year, Ukraine’s performance, which included the country’s rap and folklore, went down well with 7,000 spectators in the Pala Olimpico, Turin, who cheered the group on, waving several Ukrainian flags.
At the end of the performance, which included break-dancing, the group thanked everyone for supporting Ukraine.
The band’s song, ‘Stefania’, was written as a tribute to the frontman’s mother, but has been turned into a war anthem since the invasion of Russia on February 24.
‘Even if all the roads are destroyed, I’ll always find my way home’, written by frontman Oleh Syuk, is said to take on a special meaning in light of the war.
A six-member, all-male band received special permission to leave the country to represent Ukraine and Ukrainian culture at a music competition. One of the original members stayed to fight and the others planned to return as soon as the tournament was over.
Members of the Kalush Orchestra wore elaborate costumes, including long multi-colored fringed skirts, pink bucket hats and traditional patterns as they took to the stage.
Ukraine was the winner of this year’s Eurovision concert after Kalush Orchestra triumphed in Turin with their song Stefania.
The winners wore long dresses, including long multi-colored fringed ensembles, pink bucket hats and traditional patterns for the night.
It was a good night for Sam Ryder, whose ‘safety and security’ concerns in Ukraine prompted Britain to host next year’s Eurovision.
A two-stage selection process will now go into which city is best suited to host the famous concert, focusing on factors such as experience in hosting major events.
Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Swindon and Wolverhampton all expressed interest in hosting the event.
UK and Sam Ryder finished runner-up with the song Spaceman. Due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union ruled that the event must be moved and the UK will instead host the concert for a record ninth time.
Kate Phillips, the BBC’s director of unscripted content, said: ‘We would like to thank all the cities and regions that submitted bids to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. We have seven fantastic cities that we are taking to the next round.’
‘Congratulations to Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield – it’s great to see so many bids from across the UK.
‘We are committed to delivering a truly unique song contest that celebrates the wonderful Ukraine and champions British music and creativity in all its diversity.’
Ukraine will automatically qualify for the Eurovision Grand Final along with the so-called Big Five nations – the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – who will each get a free pass thanks to their financial contribution.
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 autumn.
In the wake of hosting the Commonwealth Games, Birmingham will now look to host another major tournament in the city.
Natalia Kogut and her 12-year-old daughter Melissa, who sang the Ukrainian national anthem in Downing Street for Prime Minister Boris Johnson in May, were university lecturers in Kyiv before the war and had been living in Birmingham since March.
Mrs Kogut, whose husband is still in Ukraine, said: ‘We would be very happy if Eurovision took place in Birmingham – the Ukrainian community is big here.
‘I’m often in Victoria Square on Saturdays, for meetings and where my daughter sings to support Ukraine.’
She said the Russian invasion was bitter as it meant the competition could not take place in her home country, but added that ‘the whole of the UK supports Ukraine more than any other country’.
‘I believe this should happen in the UK – and Birmingham in particular,’ she added.
Reacting to the news that Birmingham was on the shortlist, city council leader Ian Ward said: ‘We are delighted to be one of the seven shortlisted cities.
‘It is a sanctuary city, a city that has welcomed people from all over the world and made their home here.
‘We would love the honor of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine next year.’
Meanwhile Scottish Secretary Alastair Jack is supporting Glasgow to host the event. He said: ‘It is a great privilege for the UK to honor Ukraine by hosting Eurovision 2023.
‘I am supporting Glasgow to bring the competition to Scotland.
‘After the huge success of Cop26 we know our biggest city can deliver the biggest events in the world.’
How will the final decision be made?
Twenty cities submitted ‘expressions of interest’ to host, but only seven cities were selected.
Which cities have been selected?
Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield have reached the second and final stage of the selection process.
Missed any major contenders?
London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced London’s bid in July but the capital did not feature on the shortlist.
How will the host city be selected from the shortlist?
The final decision will be made on which city scores the highest according to criteria assessed by the BBC.
These include the right and sufficient space to host the competition, the financial commitment it can make and the strength of the cultural offering both on and off screen.
For the 2022 event in Turin, Italy, the criteria include the host city being able to accommodate at least 10,000 spectators as well as having a press center in place, as well as an international airport and ‘adequate’ hotel accommodation.
Will Ukraine play a role?
The winning host city has to prove that it can showcase Ukrainian culture and music.
The BBC said: ‘Ukraine is the winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, demonstrating how all the applicants will reflect Ukrainian culture, music and community.
Who decides the winner?
A joint decision will be made between the BBC, as the UK’s state broadcaster, and the European Broadcasting Union, which produces the programme.
When will the final decision be announced?
No date has been set but the EBU has said the announcement will take place in the autumn.
This competition is usually held in the month of May.