Graham Norton weighs in on Eurovision organizers’ decision not to host Ukraine next year

Graham Norton spoke amid ongoing talks about the UK hosting the Eurovision Song Contest next year.

Back in May, Ukraine won the annual music competition by a landslide with its representatives Kalush Orchestra.

While the winning country traditionally hosts the event the following year, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) issued a statement last week saying that due to the ongoing Russian invasion, it would not be possible to hold Eurovision in Ukraine in 2023.

After “exploring all scenarios” with Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC, the EBU shared their “sadness and disappointment that next year’s competition cannot be held in Ukraine”.

They added: “As a result of this decision, and in accordance with the rules and to ensure the continuation of the event, the European Broadcasting Union will begin discussions with the BBC, as this year’s runner-up, to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the UK.”

Asked about his thoughts, British Eurovision commentator Graham Norton told the Palestinian News Agency:I think everyone is sad about it on the one hand, because that must have been a really bad decision for the EBU.

“They didn’t want to bring this news to Ukraine, and nobody wanted that to happen.”

He continued, “Now that it has happened, I know the BBC is looking into it seriously, but will it happen? I don’t know. You know as much as I do.”

Graham Norton
Graham Norton

Mike Marsland via Getty Images

While the spokesperson was No. 10 They previously insisted they “welcomed” the idea of ​​hosting Eurovision in the UKOver the weekend, Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed that Ukraine both “can” and “should” put the event in 2023.

Speaking to reporters shortly after returning from an unannounced visit to Kyiv, Johnson explained, “I’ve just been to Kyiv. I wouldn’t say he laughs and makes noises and just pops but it’s far away, more lively. People are more confident. People on the streets eat in cafes and restaurants.” In a way it wasn’t even a few weeks ago.

Ukrainians won the Eurovision Song Contest. I know we had a great participation, I know we finished second and I hope to be in this country. But the truth is that they won and they deserved it.”

He added, “I think they can get it and I think they should get it. I think Kyiv or any other safe Ukrainian city would be a great place to get it.”

Winners of the Eurovision Kalush Orchestra
Winners of the Eurovision Kalush Orchestra

Marco Bertorello via Getty Images

Following the European Broadcasting Union’s statement, a representative of Ukrainian Radio claimed that they were “deprived of the right” to host the competition and called for negotiations on a new site to be suspended.

“We are disappointed by this EBU’s decision,” they said. “During this month, a large number of people in Ukraine have made all their efforts to fulfill the terms of the Eurovision contract in our country. Security, of course, is our first priority.

“UA Team: The PBC and state and local authorities have done extensive work and have presented various options. It is unfortunate to see such a non-appealable statement, so we are asking our partners for further negotiations.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last month He wanted to see the 2023 event move forward in Ukraine, comments echoed by the Kalush Orchestra.

Since debuting in the competition in 2003, Ukraine has racked up three victories, and thus Kyiv hosted the Eurovision Live Final in 2005 and 2017.

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