Turin hands over the keys of Eurovision to Liverpool in grand ceremony
Written by First Choice Radio on 31 January 2023
The international music show will take place at the 11,000-capacity Liverpool Arena in May, culminating in the grand final on May 13
The official keys of the Eurovision Song Contest have been handed from the previous host city Turin to Liverpool in a grand ceremony which celebrated Ukraine.
Mayor of Turin Stefano Lo Russo and the mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, sealed the handover, known as the Insignia, with a handshake.
The international music show will take place at the 11,000-capacity Liverpool Arena in May, culminating in the grand final on May 13, after the city was chosen to host the competition on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine due to the Russian invasion.
During the ceremony, which was broadcast on BBC Two, Mr Lo Russo said to Ms Anderson: “A little bit of advice – enjoy the event, include everybody, engage the whole city, be proud for such an incredible international stage for you, for Ukraine and for peace.”
She thanked him for his kind words, adding: “For me, it started on Sunday when we met and you talked about all the wonderful impact that Eurovision has had on your city.
“I’m really proud to be able to host Eurovision for Liverpool but especially proud to do it on behalf of Ukraine.”
The event held at St George’s Hall in Liverpool was presented by Rylan Clark and AJ Odudu, who also revealed which countries would compete in which semi-final for the song contest.
A total of 37 countries are set to take part in Eurovision this year, with Ukraine automatically qualifying as 2022’s winners as well as the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – who each get a free pass because of their financial contributions to the event.
It was announced that the 15 countries who will be performing in the first semi-final on May 9 include Ireland, Serbia, Latvia, Norway, Portugal, Croatia, Malta, Sweden, Moldova, Switzerland, Israel, the Netherlands, Finland, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, semi-final two on May 11 will see Armenia, Cyprus, Romania, Denmark, Belgium, Iceland, Greece, Estonia, Albania, Australia, Austria, Lithuania, San Marino, Slovenia, Georgia and Poland go head to head.
The ceremony, which featured a colour scheme of blue and yellow in honour of Ukraine, opened with welcome speeches to the audience by Mr Lo Russo, Ms Anderson and Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan.
In a video message, the Mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, said: “I wish that Eurovision in Liverpool, the legendary city of music, will be remembered as a great musical and cultural event. We’ll be watching and cheering.”
He added: “I believe that the next Eurovision will be held in Ukraine.”
Famous Ukrainian faces also expressed the importance of Liverpool hosting on behalf of the war-torn country in a video montage.
Among those was Eurovision commentator Timur Miroshnychenko who said: “Eurovision is love, music and diversity.”
Meanwhile, musician Julia Sanina added that the combination of the cultures of Liverpool and Ukraine coming together “is going to be something unbelievable”.
Published: by Radio NewsHub