Eurovision 2023: Handover and semi-final allocation draw to be held in Liverpool
The “official keys of Eurovision” will be handed over to Liverpool in a BBC TV broadcast on 31 January.
The Mayor of Turin, where last year’s song contest was held, will travel to Merseyside for a handover ceremony hosted by Rylan and AJ Odudu.
It will also be when participating countries find out which semi-final they will compete in through an allocation draw.
This year’s competition will take place in the second week of May.
The BBC also announced young people from a local Liverpool school, as well as members of the Ukrainian community who have settled in the city since the war began, will be involved in the allocation announcement.
Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the UK automatically get a place in the final because of how much they pay to enter. The remaining 31 acts will sing in two semi-finals first with 10 countries from each show qualifying.
Image source, Getty Images
The United Kingdom is hosting May’s competition on behalf of Ukraine after organisers ruled it couldn’t be held there because of the ongoing war despite its act Kalush Orchestra winning the 2022 contest.
Normally the country that wins puts on the event the following year, but it was offered to the BBC as Sam Ryder came second..
Both Liverpool City Council and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will contribute £2m each to the cost of staging the world’s most-watched live music event.
Further funding will come from the government, the BBC and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is thought to be in the region of about £10m.
Last year the city of Turin in Italy spent £10m on events outside the arena, claiming it “was a success well beyond our expectation” as the hospitality industry made it back seven times over.
Image source, Liverpool City Council
A new BBC Eurovision podcast, Eurovisioncast, will also launch on 31 January, made by the team behind the successful Newscast and Ukrainecast podcasts.
The broadcaster said it will “bring the inside gossip on plans and unique insights” and will be available on BBC Sounds and aired on BBC Radio 5 live as well as BBC Radio Merseyside.
The handover ceremony will be in front of a live, invited audience and broadcast on BBC Two from 7pm.
“It’s going to be an amazing year for Eurovision. I genuinely can’t wait,” Rylan said. “I’m so excited to be presenting the handover and allocation draw which symbolises the start of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023; the year in which the United Kingdom hosts Ukraine’s party.”
Around 160 million viewers watched 2022’s broadcast around the world but AJ Odudu believes “new and existing fans are in for an event like no other come May”. She said it will showcase “British creativity and Ukrainian culture at its core”.
The Eurovision grand final will take place on 13 May.