Entertainment

Broadcaster eyes UK, not Ukraine as next Eurovision host


Members of the band Kalush Orchestra pose onstage with the winner’s trophy and Ukraine’s flags after winning the Eurovision Song contest 2022 on behalf of Ukraine. — AFP pic 

Members of the band Kalush Orchestra pose onstage with the winner’s trophy and Ukraine’s flags after winning the Eurovision Song contest 2022 on behalf of Ukraine. — AFP pic 

Friday, 17 Jun 2022 11:52 PM MYT

GENEVA, June 17 — War-torn Ukraine, which won this year’s Eurovision, will be unable to host next year’s contest, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said today, which is instead eyeing runner-up Britain as host.

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra last month won the world’s biggest live music event, and according to tradition, the country should host next year’s event.

But EBU said “given the ongoing war” since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February, it had determined it was impossible for the event to go ahead there.

“Given the current circumstances, the security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organise and produce the Eurovision Song Contest… cannot be fulfilled,” it said.

Instead, EBU said it would “now begin discussions with the BBC, as this year’s runner up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom.”

“It is our full intention that Ukraine’s win will be reflected in next year’s shows,” the EBU stressed.

“This will be a priority for us in our discussions with the eventual hosts.” The office of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the move.

“We would, of course, welcome the opportunity to work closely with Ukraine and the BBC to host it here in the UK,” his spokesman said.

“We will be committed to ensuring it overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity, as well as building on the ongoing partnership between our two countries.”

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Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the glitzy annual musical pageant with Stefania, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation following Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24.

While the trajectory of the war remains unclear, EBU said an early decision on moving the event was necessary.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most complex TV productions in the world with thousands working on, and attending, the event and 12 months of preparation time needed,” it said. — AFP



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