After Ukraine’s win at this year’s contest, many are wondering if the country will be ready to host next year
A close race at this year’s contest in Turin resulted in a victory for Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra after they received a staggering 439 points in the public vote. But for a country torn apart by war and still fighting its invaders, is it realistic that they’ll be ready to host such a major event only a year on?
President Zelensky has been adamant that the country will not pass the baton to someone else. “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision!” he wrote on Twitter. “For the third time in its history. And I believe it won’t be the last time. We will do everything to ensure that one day the participants and guests of the Eurovision Song Contest will receive Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt!”
Winners Kalush Orchestra echoed the President’s sentiments, telling press: “If the President said it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. We’ll host Eurovision in a newly rebuilt and happy Ukraine.”
The practice of the winning country hosting next year’s contest was adopted back in 1958. However, there have been instances over the years where the winning countries have been unable to host, often for economic reasons. It may be that Ukraine can’t stage the contest in 2023, whether because the war is still continuing, the destruction to major cities is too great, or the financial burden is too great. If this is the case, then who will host in their place?
It’s believed that the most likely candidates to host in place of Ukraine would be the UK. Not only was Sam Ryder the runner-up in 2022’s contest, winning the jury vote, but the UK has actually stepped up to host for other countries a few other times over the years, staging contests in London, Edinburgh and Brighton on behalf of France, the Netherlands, Monaco and Luxembourg.
It could also be that another one of the ‘Big 5’ step up to host. Germany, France, Italy and Spain are the contest’s greatest financial contributors, along with the UK, and the contest may also be hosted on one of their stages – Spain in particular is a likely candidate, having come third in the 2022 competition. Germany has also hosted for another country before, staging the event after the contest was won the previous year by Switzerland.
Photo credit: EBU / CORINNE CUMMING