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In Depth: Is It Right For British Fans To Be Excited About Eurovision 2023 In The UK?

Is it right, or is it wrong that many British fans are excited over Eurovision 2023, given the current situation?

Ever since the EBU’s statement on 17th June that confirmed that Eurovision 2023 cannot take place in Ukraine the winning country of Eurovision 2022, due to the Russian invasion and subsequent war in Ukraine, there was a sudden wave of excitement about the possibility of Eurovision 2023 being hosted in the UK. While it is not officially confirmed, the EBU has expressed their desire to work with the BBC to host the 2023 contest, given that the UK was the runner up in Eurovision 2022. Following this, fans have been speculating with excitement over where in the UK the contest could be hosted. Outside the fandom, a range of councillors, mayors, MPs, and even the First Minister of Scotland have expressed their enthusiasm over hosting Eurovision 2023 in their respective city. However, in contrast to this, some fans have been suggested that it is inappropriate to be excited about Eurovision 2023, given the circumstances that have led to the contest being held outside Ukraine. Here we consider both sides of the argument look at whether it’s right for fans, namely British fans, to be excited about a potentially UK-hosted Eurovision 2023.

The Wrong Time To Be Excited?

There was always going to be a sombre undertone of Eurovision 2023, regardless of whether it was going to be hosted in Ukraine or not. By not hosting in Ukraine, although this is probably a sensible decision given the current circumstances, there is still a sense of sadness that the winner of Eurovision 2022 is not allowed to host the contest the following year. It is of course a sad outcome for the Ukrainian fans of the contest, who have been told this deflating news only a month after their country’s stunning win in Turin. All three Ukrainian winners of Eurovision (Ruslana, Jamala and Kalush Orchestra) expressed their disappointment over the EBU’s decision, and have asked them to reconsider. In addition, despite the situation, Ukraine very much wanted to host the 2023 contest, and the broadcaster worked hard to put forward a feasible proposal.

Given all this, it might seem insensitive that many fans’ immediate response to the EBU’s statement was to be excited over the prospect of the UK hosting Eurovision, despite this not being confirmed by the EBU or BBC. The prospect of the UK hosting Eurovision in 2023 comes at the expense of Ukraine, so its understandable why some fans feel that the enthusiasm is inappropriate.

If We Can’t Be Excited Now, When Can We?

On the other hand, the prospect of the UK hosting Eurovision in 2023 is exciting for many fans. While it is not confirmed (as of yet) that the UK will host, the EBU have already said that they will be having discussions with the BBC on this. Given that the UK has many options in terms of host locations, and with the BBC being a relatively wealthy broadcaster, it seems that all arrows are pointing towards a UK-hosted Eurovision in 2023. This would be the first contest hosted in the UK in 25 years, and for many British fans this would be the first contest hosted on UK soil in their lifetime. For the past couple of decades a UK-hosted Eurovision seemed like an abstract concept, as the UK would have to win to host, and years of poor results suggested that a UK win is not something that would happen anytime soon. The fact that the UK is now the prime candidate to host next year’s Eurovision, following their success in this year’s contest, is a cause for celebration in itself. The UK have earnt their current status as a potential host country, and British fans can be proud of this. Had the results been slightly different this year, instead we could be talking about Spain or Sweden hosting Eurovision, in which case the fans of those countries would still be excited about the prospect of Eurovision being hosted in their country in the same way that British fans are.

Another reason why fans can be excited for Eurovision in the UK is the positive reaction we have seen across the country in response to the hosting situation. While the contest has a reputation across much of the British population for being a joke and a waste of time, the majority of major UK cities have released some form of communication expressing their interest in hosting Eurovision 2023. The UK is spoilt for choice in terms of cities that can host Eurovision, with a range of internationally accessible cities with suitable arenas and hotel capacity. Some of which are previous Eurovision host cities (London, Birmingham), others that offer themselves as a potentially exciting new host cities (Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff, Belfast).

Tweet from Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, expressing her desire for Eurovision 2023 to be held in Glasgow.

UK 2023: An Opportunity For Unity

A concern that’s been raised by some fans is that the BBC will not host a contest on behalf of Ukraine, but rather a British-themed contest that would be expected following a UK win. It’s hard to gauge how the 2023 contest will look, how the BBC would approach it and what Ukrainian influence (if any) would be involved. Nevertheless, the majority of people supporting UK-hosted Eurovision 2023 have also highlighted that this should be reflective of Ukraine in some capacity. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has suggested that if the contest was held in London, it would aim to “honour the Ukrainian people, and also celebrate the very best of Britain” – it is likely that the contest would be held along these lines, and celebrate both the winning country of the previous year (Ukraine) and the host country (UK).

Statement from Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, on the prospect of London hosting Eurovision 2023.

Eurovision is and always has been a contact zone between cultures. A Ukrainian Eurovision hosted in the UK could maximize this, and create a sense of unity across the two countries and beyond. Therefore, despite the devastating circumstances, perhaps we should embrace the potential that Eurovision 2023 has, and allow fans to be (cautiously) optimistic and excited about what is to come.

Do You Think Fans Should Be Excited About Eurovision 2023 In The UK? Let Us Know Your Thoughts!

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