Liverpool will host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the BBC has announced.
It beat off Glasgow to win the chance to host the show, with the grand final taking place on 13 May 2023.
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won this year’s contest but organisers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), ruled it would be unsafe to host next year’s contest in the country.
The UK’s Sam Ryder came second, with the BBC stepping in to offer to host the contest instead.
The BBC’s Graham Norton, who commentates on the event on behalf of the UK, revealed the announcement live on The One Show.
In a statement, the EBU said Liverpool, which is twinned with the Ukrainian city of Odesa, “was chosen following a strong city bid process that examined facilities at the venue, the ability to accommodate thousands of visiting delegations, crew, fans and journalists, infrastructure, and the cultural offer of the host city in reflecting Ukraine’s win in 2022, amongst other criteria.”
The head of the Eurovision Song Contest, Martin Osterdahl, added the city was the “ideal place” to hold the competition next year, and that Liverpool’s arena “exceeds all the requirements” to put on the show.
Kalush Orchestra, reacting to the announcement, 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.”
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan also congratulated Liverpool after the announcement, saying: “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.”
Thoughts will now turn to planning the mammoth event, which consists of three live shows and countless rehearsals, and how it will be paid for.
Eurovision is usually paid for by the host broadcaster, the host city, and the government of the host country.
The BBC, which is the UK’s host broadcaster, has been forced to make cuts over the next few years, and the government is being faced with its own financial crisis, and it is not yet clear how the up to £20m bill will be footed.
Liverpool City Council has said it will begin putting its plans into action, working with Ukrainian artists and creating an education programme.
Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson said: “I’m over the moon that Eurovision is coming to Liverpool!
“We knew that we faced strong competition from Glasgow, but we also knew that we had a great bid underpinned by the expertise of our award-winning Culture Liverpool team and supported by all our brilliant partners.
“This is a massive event and the eyes of the world will be on us in May, especially those of our friends in Ukraine.
“Now begins months of work to put on the best party ever. Ukraine – you have my promise we will do you proud.”