The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be staged in either Glasgow or Liverpool, the BBC said Tuesday (Sept. 27), after Britain was asked to hold the event on behalf of designated host country Ukraine.
Scotland’s biggest city and the birthplace of The Beatles were named the two finalists from seven U.K. cities that applied. The BBC which will broadcast the contest, said a final decision will be made within weeks. Ukraine won the right to host the glitzy pan-continental music competition when its entry, folk-rap ensemble Kalush Orchestra, won this year’s contest in May. Britain’s Sam Ryder was second.
With Russia’s war against Ukraine showing no sign of slowing down any time soon, Eurovision organizer the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has said “the security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organize and produce the Eurovision Song Contest” would make it too difficult to host the event in Ukraine next year.
“We are determined to make the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest one that both reflects the winning position of Ukraine and is also an event that all of the U.K. can participate in,” said Phil Harrold, chairman of the BBC’s host city selection committee.
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 such as Israel and Australia.
Organizers strive to keep pop and politics apart — banning overtly political symbols and lyrics — but global tensions have often imposed themselves on the contest. Russia was kicked out of this year’s competition because of its invasion of Ukraine.