Music

Eurovision 2023: Sam Ryder says ‘birthplace of pop’ Liverpool great pick to host

As Liverpool is confirmed as the host city for Eurovision 2023. Sam Ryder says “the main objective” is to throw a great party for Ukraine.

The BBC 2022 Eurovision team: L-R Rylan, AJ Odudu, Sam Ryder, Graham Norton, Scott Mills.

The BBC's 2022 Eurovision team: L-R Rylan, AJ Odudu, Sam Ryder, Graham Norton, Scott Mills. Picture: BBC

As Liverpool was announced as the host for Eurovision 2023, last year’s UK representative Sam Ryder praised the city’s musical history and urged organisers to “do the best job for Ukraine”.

Ryder sent his good wishes after Liverpool was confirmed as the location for Eurovision 2023, beating fellow finalist Glasgow. The song contest will run from May 13 next year, and will be beamed across Europe.

Revealing the decision on The One Show, the BBC’s Eurovision commentator Graham Norton said: “Pop that in your calendar” and paid tribute to Sam Ryder for taking “off the curse of Eurovision.”

Last year’s Eurovision song contest saw the UK come second to Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, who had left their families behind in their war-torn homeland to compete in Turin, Italy. They were ultimately crowned Eurovision winners by a European public keen to stand with the people of Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

As fighting continues to rage in Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union – which produces the annual event – asked the UK to step in and host next year’s event on behalf of the winners.

Ryder said he was delighted to see the event come to the UK, but the most important thing was to put Ukraine at the very heart of Eurovision 2023.

“We need to show the world that we are the best party planners on the planet,” he told The Big Issue. “And I really think we know how to do that. We’re so good, in the UK, at doing that. So let’s do the best job for Ukraine.”

Ryder said that Liverpool’s musical heritage as the home of the Beatles made it the perfect place for the song contest.

“It’s almost like the birthplace of pop music as we know it. And that’s incredible,” he said.

Having been moved by getting to know the members of the Kalush Orchestra and hearing about their experiences, Ryder offered to help in any way he can to make the Eurovision experience special for them. He said he hopes to get involved in 2023. “I don’t want to be presumptuous whatsoever,” he said. “But I’ll keep it open in my diary.”

The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be the ninth time the UK has hosted the event, more than any other country.

A full exclusive interview with Sam Ryder will be available in The Big Issue magazine next month to coincide with his new album There’s Nothing But Space, Man!.

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