The UK announced Tuesday that the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest would be held in either Liverpool or Glasgow, after Britain was chosen to stand in as host country due to the war in Ukraine.
Seven cities had originally been vying to make the final shortlist of two, with the winner to be announced “within weeks”, the BBC which will produce the event said.
Ukraine had been due to host the contest after Ukrainian folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra in May won the Eurovision crown in Turin, on a wave of support for their country following Russia’s invasion.
Britain’s entrant Sam Ryder came second with his quirky song “Space Man”.
Despite protests from President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which runs Eurovision, ruled that Ukraine could not guarantee the safety of the more than 10,000 people involved in the production and a further 30,000 fans expected to attend.
The government in Kyiv agreed to a UK-hosted event with a strongly Ukrainian flavour.
Eurovision is the world’s biggest live music event, taking in performers from across Europe and Central Asia as well as Israel and Australia.
In line with Eurovision rules, Ukraine is still guaranteed a place in the 2023 grand final along with the EBU’s “top five” countries: Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said on Twitter the Scottish city had “the right ingredients to deliver a Eurovision the world will remember”.
Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson, meanwhile, tweeted: “Nowhere throws a party quite like us.”
The city in northwest England that was home to The Beatles was ready to “put on a show — for Ukraine, the UK & for Europe”, she added.
The UK has previously hosted the contest eight times, including four times in London.
The last time was in Birmingham in central England in 1998.