It’s official: the Eurovision Song Contest will not be held in London.
A shortlist of potential host cities was unveiled on Friday morning and, as had been widely expected, the U.K.’s capital city has been left off.
Instead, the seven U.K. cities left to battle it out to host the contest are Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield. The news comes as U.K. public networks make an effort to decentralize broadcasting away from London.
📢 It's OFFICIAL. Seven UK cities – Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield – are on the shortlist to host the #Eurovision Song Contest 2023 🎤
Read more ➡️ https://t.co/X5EQdRZA2k pic.twitter.com/qkLUiSjwPX
Cardiff was also in the running to host but withdrew earlier this month, citing the fact that their largest venue, the Principality Stadium, would have had to cancel a “significant number” of events.
Traditionally, the 2023 contest should have been held in Ukraine following their win at this year’s contest but due to the ongoing war in Ukraine the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the contest, deemed it too much of a security risk.
Instead, the competition will take place in the U.K., which came in second place, likely with an infusion of Ukrainian culture.
The dispute over whether Ukraine would host or not has meant, however, the U.K. have been left with less time than usual to organize the contest and the largest venues in all the shortlisted cities all have pre-arranged events during the traditional six-week window in April/May the contest is held.
They include “Magic Mike” at the Leeds First Direct Arena on April 29, Celine Dion at the Glasgow OVO Hydro on April 2-3 and Rob Beckett & Josh Widdicombe at the Manchester AO Arena on April 14.
It is unclear whether the winning city will have to cancel pre-planned events at their chosen venue or will find a way to re-organize them.