Featured Music

Eurovision Song Contest 2023: Liverpool Beats Glasgow to Host

It was a close call, but Liverpool won the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 bid after playing upon its rich musical legacy

Last Friday, the Eurovision fanbase went into meltdown at the announcement that Liverpool will be the next host of the Eurovision Song Contest. There was strong competition from Glasgow, Scotland, who put in a solid bid, but it wasn’t enough to snatch the event.

Eurovision Song Contest
Reactions to the news (Sky News)

In the run-up to the announcement, each city needed to put in a bid. The city teams needed to catch the eyes of the jury, who in this case was the BBC and the Eurovision Broadcasting Union. Liverpool snuck in their mid at the very last minute, with an impressive and powerful video highlighting their cultural achievements throughout history. It also touched upon Liverpool’s open-minded and welcoming spirit.

The BBC’s Director General, Tim Davie, was quick to make a statement: “Congratulations to Liverpool. They will be an amazing host for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Liverpool is such an exciting, warm and vibrant city. It’s the undisputed capital of pop music and is celebrating the 65th anniversary of its twinning with the Ukrainian city of Odesa. I know the people of Liverpool will welcome Europe – and the rest of the world – with open arms, and in partnership, we will create something truly special.”

Now that we know the host city, we also received some much-needed detail on the week-long event itself. Graham Norton announced that the competition will take place at the M&S Bank Arena during the second week of May – which is unexpectingly early, considering the late announcement. The Semi Final 1 will take place on the 9th May 2023, Semi Final 2 on the 11th May, and the glitzy Grand Final will be broadcast on the 13th May. For the first time in decades, all three shows will be broadcast on BBC’s main channel, BBC One and the iPlayer.

The Eurovision Song Contests Executive Supervisor, Martin Österdahl, is delighted with the announcement, and shares his confidence in the BBC’s hosting skills: “Liverpool is the ideal place to host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine.” He continued: “The city is synonymous with music and Liverpool Arena exceeds all the requirements needed to stage a global event of this scale. We have been very impressed with the passion the city has shown in embracing the Contest and their inclusive ideas for placing last year’s winners, Ukraine, front and centre when thousands of fans visit next May.”

The arena (Sky News)

The last contest was held in 2022, in Turin, Italy, after rock-and-roll sensations, Maneskin snatched the crown a year earlier. But in Italy, Ukraine were triumphant thanks to Kalush Orchestra, who won the hearts of the viewers. However, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, organisers had huge safety concerns, which ultimately meant that the UK will host in Ukraine’s honour. Although controversial, it remains the right thing to do – especially considering Brit, Sam Ryder, came a close second with the pop banger, Space Man.

Since the announcement was made, fans have been scrambling on travel websites in an attempt to get hotels and flight tickets in Liverpool. In hours, hotels were fully booked and some smaller B&Bs and AirB&Bs have raised their prices to over £20,000 – in some extreme cases. However, the city council are discussing plans for a huge camping field to become available, as well as a cruise ship, in the hope that more fans are able to secure affordable accommodation. Tickets for the Song Contest itself are not available at the moment. But, traditionally, they are released online shortly after the host city is announced. Although, be mindful that demand is high, so it’s best to keep an eagle eye on official ticket sites.

Featured Music

Is Eurovision Coming to Your City in 2023?

The UK could host Eurovision for the first time since 1998

Ever since Ukraine won 2022’s Eurovision Song Contest back in May of this year, there has been widespread speculation as to whether Kyiv could host the singing competition due to the ongoing war with Russia. Finally, the European Broadcasting Union has broken its silence and it’s very possible that the UK will host in 2023.

Rumoured Eurovision Venue
The rumoured Glaswegian venue (From Daily Record)

The EBU has pretty much confirmed that Ukraine is unable to host the contest, due to safety concerns. The EBU released a public statement addressing its thought process, “At least 10,000 people are usually accredited to work on, or at, the Eurovision Song Contest including crew, staff, and journalists. A further 30,000 fans are expected to travel to the event from across the world. Their welfare is our prime concern,” it said, referencing the conflict. “It is therefore critical that decisions made in relation to such a complex live television event are made by broadcasting professionals and do not become politicized.” The decision follows a pattern in the music industry, whereby no international musical acts are scheduled to visit Ukraine in 2023.

As the news broke, this year’s winners, Kalush Orchestra voiced their distress to Metro, “I’m very disappointed because we had hoped to host it in Ukraine,” said Oleg. ‘It’s very important to help our country at the moment.” He continued, “We help as much as we can. I have a volunteering organisation, one of my musicians is fighting on the front line, and we’re also raising donations and money from the ticket sales, and we send it all to Ukraine.”

Since March of this year, Ukraine has been defending itself against neighbouring Russia, which launched a full-scale military invasion of the peaceful nation. Over the course of the year, Russia has seen a unified condemnation of its actions from international governments, the private sector and the sports and the entertainment industry. And the Eurovision Song Contest is no exception.

The news that the UK could host the competition has even reached Number 10 downing street. A spokesperson hinted that if the UK were to host, it needed to reflect “Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity, as well as building on the ongoing partnership between our two countries”. However, Nadine Dorries, the UK’s minister for culture deflated the excitement. Her tweet read, “Spoke to @Otkachenkoua this afternoon to discuss the Eurovision Song Contest. We remain 100% supportive of our friends in Ukraine being given the opportunity to host Eurovision next year and demonstrate to the world the enduring richness of Ukrainian culture and creativity.” Dorries continued, “We call upon the @EBU_HQ to review their decision and to ensure that Ukraine’s proposals are given full and proper consideration. They won it, they quite rightly want to host it. Slava Ukraini.”

Eurovision 2023
Rumoured presenters of Eurovision 2023 (From

Despite the government’s dousing enthusiasm for the UK to host, it hasn’t stopped the bookies from putting forward their predictions for next year’s contest, who have named Glasgow as the favourite! The Scottish city is closely followed by Birmingham, London, and Cardiff, which all meet the requirements set out by the European Broadcasting Union.

For many, hosting Eurovision seems like a burden and a waste of taxpayers’ money. For others, it’s an opportunity to showcase the UK’s dominance on the world stage. It’s no secret that Eurovision is a politically driven competition. And with a conflict on the continent, Britain has the opportunity to show Europe its ability to step up and support a country in need.

Featured Music

Eurovision: It’s Coming Home? UK’s Entry Second Favourite to Win

Can we break the “Nul Points” Eurovision curse?

It has been years since the UK has had a strong competitor in the Eurovision Song Contest. But miraculously, 2022’s entry looks like it’s in with a chance as bookies have positioned him second favourite to win!

The UK's eurovision Entry
Sam Ryder at the Eurovision Press Conference – from Huffington Post

Sam Ryder found fame in lockdown through Tik Tok. His luscious blonde locks and incredible voice mean he certainly stands out from the crowd. In just a few years, Sam has amassed over 100 million likes on the platform, with videos reaching over 55 million views alone. British fans are hoping that this incredible social media presence will help carry Sam through to victory.

The song, ‘Space Man’, is quite good. It’s an uplifting ballad, using space as a metaphor for feeling lost. Although the lyrics are a bit corny, Sam’s winning charisma and mind-blowing vocals are enough to give viewers a hairs-standing-on-end moment. In an interview with Eurovision World, a well-known fansite, Sam commented on the pressure of representing a country that has performed notoriously bad in recent years, “I am not putting any sort of pressure on my shoulders. I just want to enjoy it and breathe in all the good moments.” He continues, “the main thing that singing and performing does for me is that it brings me joy… Happiness! And if that translates to my people at home then that’s just a blessing and a massive win for me personally.”

Sam’s positivity is infectious. But, can it come across on stage? “I was a fan of the competition before and I’ve been so enthusiastic about it since I was a kid. I used to watch it with my parents growing up and then with my friends and throw Eurovision parties. That was enthusiasm, that was joy, that was happiness! And now I have the opportunity of doing it so why would I let something like fear tarnish and get in the way of something that has already proved to be such an amazing and rewarding experience?”

2009 was our last decent shot at winning. With composition from Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by US songwriting legend, Dianne Warren, the timid Jade Ewen stood a good chance at snatching the prized trophy. But it wasn’t meant to be. Although, the UK did finish in a respectable 5th place, with 173 points.

Eurovision’s favourite this year is Ukraine. Ukraine tends to perform well in each contest due to their winning formula of combining talent with cultural flares. This year, Ukraine has dusted off the same old record, and it’s working. However, Eurovision fans are sceptical. They’re concerned that their position as ‘bookies favourite’, is attributed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in which thousands of people have lost their lives.

Although Eurovision producers insist that the contest isn’t political, officials are unable to regulate the individual intentions of each viewer. If people want to vote out of sympathy, they can. Having said that, Ukraine’s act Kalush Orchestra has a great track with an appealing sound.

Ukraine's eurovision Entry
Ukraine’s Eurovision Entry – Eurovision Press Release

Reserve your judgement and tune into a Eurovision show this week. Who knows, you may just find yourself a guilty pleasure.

Tuesday 10 May, 21:00 CEST: Eurovision Song Contest, First Semi-Final

Thursday 12 May, 21:00 CEST: Eurovision Song Contest, Second Semi-Final

Saturday 14 May, 21:00 CEST: Eurovision Song Contest, Grand Final 🏆


The Slavic Song Contest: the home of kitsch Eurovision classics

The Return of Eurovision

It’s that time of the year again. While half of Europe roll their eyes, the other half rub their hands together because the wonderfully weird and controversial Eurovision Song Contest is returning. For some, it’s a joke, but for others, mainly Slavic countries in Central/Eastern Europe, Eurovision is a serious competition with some serious benefits.

This year’s grand final, which is the competition’s 66th year, will be held on May 14th and hosted by last year’s winner, Italy.

Eurovision 2022Rock and roll band Måneskin helped seal the deal for the Italians, and in just under a year, they’ve taken the world by storm. Fronted by gender-fluid Damiano David, Måneskin have rocketed to the top of the Global Spotify charts with their Tik-Tok viral sensation, ‘Beggin.’ They have presented at the Grammys, been nominated for Brit Awards and even performed on Saturday Night Live. Eurovision’s potential for up-and-coming artists has never been stronger.

But in Eastern Europe, there is less of a priority for individual worldwide domination, but rather, a focus on creating acts that celebrate culture, history, and tradition. And for this reason alone, these Slavic nations have created some of the most iconic and memorable moments in Eurovision history.

Positive nationalism?

But why is this the case? It’s best to look at modern history. The 1990s were a decade of immense change for Europe. 1989 marked the fall of the Berlin Wall, and with it fell Communism. This ideological shift opened up countries from the Eastern Bloc to Western Europe. One of the many doors that opened as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union was the Eurovision Song Contest.

After being stifled for decades under communism, the contest allowed countries in the East to reclaim their identity, culture and pride while also presenting their nation to interested tourists from the west. Some nations succeeded, and some failed, in spectacular fashion. Here is a pit-stop tour of Slavic Europe through a Eurovision lens.


One of Eurovision’s most memorable moments came from Poland’s 2014 entry by Donatan and Cleo, with a saucy track called ‘We are Slavic.’ The performance infuses modern pop-rap with Polish folk aesthetics. The video became the most-watched video in Poland that year and has been watched by over 50 million people on social media.

Seductively washing clothes and massaging wooden sticks, the performance was considered by many as pornographic and sexist. But by others, it was considered tongue and cheek — poking fun at the stereotypes of Slavic culture. Lyrics include:


We Slavs know how vodka affects us

I always eat everything my mom puts on the plate

This is the turbulent blood

This is the call to brawl

We Slavs know how to sculpt our bodies

Blood full of testosterone

Strength, weight, and crafty bluff […]

We do what no one else does

Stealing cars from all over the world


Regardless of your take, it is an undeniable classic.


When it comes to selling your culture, no country does it better than Ukraine. In 2016, Ukraine won the contest with Jamala’s historical ballad, ‘1944.’ The track was an incredibly powerful narrative of the deportation of Crimean Tatars in the 1940s by the Soviet Union at the hands of Joseph Stalin. Jamala drew upon her family history and Crimean Tartar heritage when giving her captivating performance.

The ambiguity of the lyrical content means that it can be attributed to other tragedies, past and present. Because of this, Jamala faced being removed from the contest due to its rules against having songs with political messages. Fortunately, ‘1944’ was allowed to compete, allowing Ukraine to tell its story to an audience of over 100 million viewers.

In last year’s contest, Ukraine put forward another belter. Electronic band, Go_A performed their up-tempo track ‘SHUM,’ meaning ‘Spring’ — in Ukrainian. The track was well received by an electronic loving Europe. Their music video, which was released a few months before the contest, was successful in drumming up hype ahead of the competition. The concept of the video featured Chernobyl and the disturbing beauty that engulfs the town of Pripyat, which lies north of Kyiv. Again, this is a classic example of how Eastern Europe utilises their own stereotypes and connotations — turning them into incredible art.

But sometimes, there are no words.



Serbia’s songs are often a mixed bag. But Konstakta is this year’s dark horse. It is the classic formula that works so well for Balkan countries; a catchy folk-inspired melody, with some simple but effective on-stage gimmicks. Serbia is one of the few countries that embrace their native language, relying on authenticity for a positive reception.

Occasionally, the Balkan states can throw you a curveball. In 2021, Serbia passed the baton to Hurricane, a three-piece girl band with a high energy track called ‘Loco Loco’ – which can only be described as three minutes of pure mania.

Despite out-of-time choreography, pitchy vocals and an erratic song structure, Hurricane scored surprisingly high, placing above some of the favourites in the competition. One component of the ranking is that they were entertaining. But more critically, Hurricane embodies a specific genre of music that is famous throughout the region: Turbo- Folk.

Turbo-Folk is a subgenre of pop, with its origins in Serbia. The stars tend to be tall, glamorous women with big hair and revealing clothing. The labels and performers tend to be associated with nationalists and gangsters, giving the artists a dangerous but exciting image.
But this style of music is not exclusive to Serbia and the Western Balkans; it has parallel genres across Central and Eastern Europe, such as Chalga in Bulgaria, Manele in Romania and Disco Polo in Poland. This folk take on pop music is what Eurovision is all about: a catchy song, a sprinkling of culture and a big dose of fun.

When Eurovision was created in 1945, its purpose was to unite a continent ravaged by war. It was meant to celebrate talent, culture and music in a way that isn’t toxic and overtly nationalist. Yes, Eurovision is a bit trash, a bit kitsch and cheesy, but who cares? As war rages in eastern Ukraine, the message of Eurovision is more pertinent than ever.
It’s time for Europe to spend an evening together, celebrating each other through 39 strange songs — not taking ourselves too seriously along the way.