Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder reminded fans that next year’s competition will still be “Ukraine’s party”, following the announcement that it will be held in the UK in 2023.
The British singer said that her “heart was heavy” knowing that the world famous song contest could not be held in Ukraine, but added that the UK would be part of the group “Love Lovers”.
The organisers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), had previously decided that the event could not be held in war-torn Ukraine after the Russian invasion.
This was despite the victory of the Ukrainian entry Kalush Orchestra at this year’s competition in Turin, Italy.
“Hey guys, just some thoughts,” Ryder said in an Instagram video.
“It’s Ukraine’s party, we’re inviting them to throw it at our house.
“I know how much it means to Kalyush and the Ukrainian delegation that it will be held at home in Ukraine next year.
“I am not the only one whose heart is heavy to know that this cannot happen at this time.
He continued: “We know how to hold a party here in the UK and our enthusiasm is only evident from our focus on that sole purpose, which is to host an event celebrating Ukrainian culture, history and history. To be on hand to help wherever it is needed, and to stand in solidarity with music and the rest of the world shining a unified light.
Ryder’s message comes as several major UK cities, including London, Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool and Leeds, threw their hats into the ring to host Eurovision.
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The bidding process will begin this week, with the BBC and the EBU jointly making the final decision on which city will host.
Any winner will need a large event space, suitable accommodation and international transport links to competing countries and their delegations.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said his city was “ready and ready to step up” with a contest that “celebrates the people of Ukraine and showcases the best of Britain”.
Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig tweeted that a “world class music city” had experience hosting such major events and “trust we will make #eurovision this one to remember”.
Sheffield City Council was among the first to announce the bid, saying on Twitter: “We have told Eurovision that we would love to host… check out this space.”
South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard said the city was the “obvious choice” due to its international airport and the fact that it is twinned with the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
Leeds City Council said it made “total sense” for them to host next year as they will be the City of Culture for 2023.
Scotland’s two largest cities, Glasgow and Aberdeen, also announced that they would be ready to host the competition in 2023.
A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said the city is a “safe pair of hands” for the event after hosting Cop26 last November, while Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also tweeted backing the city hosting the first. Did: “I can think of a perfect spot (the) bank of the River Clyde!!”
Swindon Borough Council also weighed in, saying they were “flattering” to be considered online, but that they would not bid to honor hosting duties.
The 2023 contest will be the ninth time that Eurovision has taken place in the UK – more than in any other country.
Ukraine will automatically qualify for the Grand Finals along with the so-called big five countries – the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – who get a free pass because of their financial contributions to the event.
Eurovision’s executive supervisor, Martin Osterdahl, said: “We are extraordinarily grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023.
“The BBC has performed hosting duties for the other winning countries on the last four occasions.”
In a statement, BBC Director General Tim Davey said: “The BBC is committed to making this program a true reflection of Ukrainian culture while showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.”
UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “As a host, the UK will respect the spirit and diversity of the competition, and most importantly ensure that it reflects Ukraine’s recent Eurovision victory and Ukrainian creativity.”
At this year’s contest in May, Ryder topped the jury vote, before the Kalush Orchestra won overall after a symbolic display of public support, which lifted them to first place with 631 points.
They were the frontrunners since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February – which prompted organizers to ban the Russian entrant from competing.
It is unclear whether the BBC will have to fund the competition from its current license fee allocation or if it will be given more, although the issue is currently in talks with the government.