LONDON (AP) — The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will take place in the English city of Liverpool, the BBC announced on Friday, after Britain was asked to stage the event on behalf of the designated host country, the Ukraine.
The birthplace of the Beatles beat Glasgow, Scotland, the other British finalist. A total of seven British cities had applied to host the pan-continental music competition. The Eurovision 2023 final will take place on May 13.
Ukraine won the right to host the pop extravaganza when its entry, folk-rap ensemble Kalush Orchestra, won this year’s competition. Briton Sam Ryder came second.
Organizers concluded it was too risky to hold the event in Ukraine, so the 2023 contest went to Britain, which says the event will be a celebration of Ukrainian culture and creativity.
BBC director-general Tim Davie said Liverpool, “the undisputed capital of pop music“, would be “an incredible host”. British Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Twitter that “Liverpool will put on an unforgettable show that celebrates Ukraine’s rich culture and creativity.”
Kalush Orchestra said it was satisfied with this choice.
“Playing in the same place where the Beatles started will be a moment we will never forget!” the group said. “While we are sad that next year’s competition cannot take place in our country, we know that the people of Liverpool will be warm hosts and that the organizers will be able to add a real Ukrainian flavor to Eurovision 2023 in this city.”
Founded in 1956 to help unite a continent scarred by World War II, Eurovision has grown to include more than 40 countries, including non-European nations like Israel and Australia.
Organizers strive to separate pop and politics – banning overtly political symbols and lyrics – but global tensions have often imposed themselves on the contest. Russia were expelled from this year’s competition due to their invasion of Ukraine.
Follow all AP stories on the impact of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.