The UK is officially hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, it’s been announced.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is responsible for organising the major programme, announced earlier this year that 2022 winners Ukraine would be unable to host.
Folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra were the victors in May, after performing their track Stefania in Turin, Italy – coming ahead of second place champion Sam Ryder of the UK.
Under normal circumstances, one of Ukraine’s major cities would therefore host the competition – though due to the ongoing war in the country, this sadly won’t be possible.
The BBC has now formally agreed to host the contest, and of course, this isn’t our first rodeo – but it has been a while since the Eurovision party bus last came to UK shores.
So just how many times have the UK hosted – and which city could we be off to in 2023?
Here’s all you need to know.
When did the UK last host Eurovision?
The Eurovision Song Contest was last held in the UK in 1998, following Katrina And The Waves’ victory in 1997 with Love Shine A Light.
On that occasion, the contest took place at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, hosted by Ulrika Jonsson and Sir Terry Wogan.
That year, the contest was won by Israel’s Dana International with the song Diva, while the UK’s act Imaani, and her song Where Are You, finished in second place.
How many times has the UK hosted Eurovision?
The UK is no stranger when it comes to hosting the contest, having welcomed Eurovision to its shores no less than eight times.
Some were due to UK victories, while others involved stepping in when other countries were unable to host.
Their previous Eurovision hosting gigs were as follows:
- 1960 – London
- 1963 – London
- 1968 – London (following Sandie Shaw’s win in 1967)
- 1972 – Edinburgh
- 1974 – Brighton
- 1977 – London (following Brotherhood of Man’s win in 1976)
- 1982 – Harrogate (following Bucks Fizz’s win in 1981)
- 1998 – Birmingham (following Katrina And The Waves’ win in 1997)
Although the UK has won the contest five times, they did not host after Lulu’s win in 1969.
That honour went to the Netherlands, who were one of four countries who tied for the trophy the year before.
Where in the UK could the 2023 contest be?
It’s too early to say where in the UK the contest could take place, as the BBC has confirmed it is still looking for a host city.
London might sound like an obvious choice, but it’s previously been suggested that organisers might give the capital a miss in favour of one of the country’s other major cities.
Both Manchester and Welsh capital Cardiff have previously been mentioned as potential hosts.
Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and Wolverhampton are all said to be keen to throw their hat in the ring for the honour, too.
The rumour mill seems to favour Glasgow in Scotland – with suggestions among fans that the OVO Hydro could end up playing host to the annual pan-continental event.
What does the venue have on in May 2023? Well, nothing too prohibitive, it seems.
The venue has the Magic Mike arena tour listed for April 25, Andre Rieu on May 27 and Ozzy Osbourne: No More Tours from June 2-4, but currently nothing else in the month of May.
The Hydro would also be an apt choice given it was used in the filming of Will Ferrell’s Netflix movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
Although it’s worth noting that wherever the contest takes place might need to be free from earlier on in April to allow time for the stage to be constructed ahead of rehearsals.
Wherever is selected to be home for the contest, the BBC said in a statement that it would ensure 2022 winners Ukraine were properly reflected throughout the event.
Director-General Tim Davie said: ‘The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture, alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.
‘The BBC will now begin to find a host city to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023.’
It’ll be a while before we know which city has been selected, so watch this space.