Eurovision 2016 winner Jamala has backed Eurovision 2023 being hosted in the United Kingdom, if the contest cannot be held in Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian singer, who triumphed with her song “1944”, said that the EBU’s decision to not hold next year’s contest in Ukraine is “premature” and “very painful”.
“I understand that it has to be in a peaceful place”
In an interview with PA News, Jamala said that the United Kingdom would be “fair” hosts of Eurovision 2023 after Sam Ryder finished runner-up at this year’s contest. His entry “Space Man” brought home the UK’s best result in the contest since 1998. Jamala even added her praises for Sam Ryder, saying that his entry was “really, really, really good”.
Great Britain came second in the competition, so if Ukraine is unwilling to host the event for whatever reason, it would be fair to hold it in one of your cities [in the UK]
Jamala, winner of Eurovision 2016
The 2016 Eurovision winner did also add that the decision by the EBU that Eurovision 2023 cannot be held in Ukraine was “sad” and “very painful”. Ukraine won the right to host the contest after Kalush Orchestra’s win in Turin with “Stefania”. However, Jamala said that she understands that the contest must be held in a safe location for all delegates and fans.
It’s really sad the EBU decided to take away all this chance and all this hope, but I really understand that it has to be in a peaceful place for participants and for everybody.Jamala, winner of Eurovision 2016
Spreading the anti-war message across Europe
Since the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Jamala has performed in concerts and fundraisers across Europe to spread the anti-war message and to raise support for Ukrainian people being forced to flee their homes and their country.
During national final season, Jamala performed “1944” at both the German and Romanian national finals. Later, in March, she appeared in the ITV fundraiser Concert for Ukraine to perform her winning Eurovision song. Alongisde the likes of Ed Sheeran and Anne-Marie, the concert raised over £13 million for DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
More recently, Jamala made an appearance at the Glastonbury festival, alongside folk band DakhaBrakha, where she told the PA news agency that “we can stop this evil [the war] only if we are united, only if we are together”. She later added that she saw at Glastonbury how much of a “treasure” it is to be human.
It’s the first Glastonbury in my life and I see that freedom. It’s a treasure to be human […] to be wearing whatever, and just express yourself. You don’t even know how important it is.Jamala, winner of Eurovision 2016
Eurovision 2023 hosting: what do we know so far?
Last month, the EBU issued a statement stating the 2023 contest cannot be held in Ukraine due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Talks began with the British broadcaster BBC, despite Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC calling on the EBU to continue discussions to host the contest in Ukraine.
Fifteen cities and towns across the UK have expressed their interest in hosting the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest including London, Glasgow and Birmingham. The latter of those cities hosted the most recent contest in the UK in 1998.
British newspaper The Guardian has also suggested that the EU could be preparing a rival bid to host in Brussels. The Belgian capital has previously hosted the contest in 1987, following Sandra Kim’s victory in Bergen the year before.
BBC’s Eurovision commentator Graham Norton is among the favourites to host the contest next year with other names in the mix including Holly Willoughby, Phillip Schofield and Bonnie Tyler.
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