2023 is the year of the Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom and the BBC kicks things off this month with the first event in the season.
Presenters Rylan and AJ Odudu will welcome viewers to BBC Two and BBC iPlayer on January 31 (1900) for the Handover and Allocation Draw.
Taking place in host city Liverpool and in front of a live, invited audience this exciting event will determine which country will compete in which Semi-Final of the Contest when it takes place in May as well as deciding which Semi-Final the ‘Big 5’ (Spain, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy) and 2022 winners Ukraine will vote in .
A total of 37 countries will take part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 which the BBC is hosting in the United Kingdom on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine. Thirty-one countries will go into the draw for the Semi-Finals (May 9 and 11) with 10 from each semi-final progressing to the Grand Final on May 13. The ‘Big 5’ and Ukraine automatically qualify to compete in the Grand Final.
AJ and Rylan will conduct the live draw assisted by young people from a local Liverpool school and members of the Ukrainian community who have settled in Liverpool since the outbreak of the conflict
The programme will also see the Mayor of 2022 Host City Turin, Stefano Lo Russo hand over the official keys of the Eurovision Song Contest, known as the Insignia, to the Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson and will be the night the 2023 Contest’s unique look and slogan is unveiled. Audiences can also follow the event as it unfolds with live text commentary on the BBC News website live page. The BBC Two and BBC iPlayer programme will be made by ModestTV, Andrea Hamilton is Executive Producer.
Rylan said: “From being part of the UK delegation since 2018, Eurovision has become such a big part of my life. 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. It’s going to be an amazing year for Eurovision. I genuinely can’t wait.”
AJ Odudu said: “It’s so exciting to have the Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom in 2023. New and existing fans are in for an event like no other come May with spectacular live shows on the BBC and a city take over in Liverpool, all with British creativity and Ukrainian culture at its core . I can’t wait to kick things off with the draw later this month.”
January 31 also sees the launch of the BBC’s Eurovision podcast, Eurovisioncast, made by the team behind hit podcasts Newscast and Ukrainecast. Turning their attention to the biggest music contest in the world will be four hosts: Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw; Eurovision fan, BBC Breakfast’s Nina Warhurst; BBC News’ Eurovision Reporter Daniel Rosney and Radio Merseyside presenter, Liverpudlian Ngunan Adamu. Eurovisioncast will bring the inside gossip on plans and unique insights on the competition. Listeners will also hear from former contestants, those set to take part in the 2023 Contest and celebrity fans. The weekly podcast will be available on BBC Sounds from January 31 and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Merseyside.