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EBU denies president Zelensky’s request to address the audience at Eurovision

Statement by the EBU

Just after the Second Semi-Final had finished tonight, the EBU (European Broadcaster Union) released a statement on their website regarding the Ukrainian president Zelensky and the Eurovision Song Contest. It turns out Mr. Zelensky had requested to address the audience at the Grand Final. However, this will not be happening. The EBU gives an explanation on why the request was denied.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is an international entertainment show, and governed by strict rules and principles which have been established since its creation. As part of these, one of the cornerstones of the Contest is the non-political nature of the event.  

This principle prohibits the possibility of making political or similar statements as part of the Contest.  

The request by Mr Zelensky to address the audience at the Eurovision Song Contest, whilst made with laudable intentions, regrettably cannot be granted by the European Broadcasting Union management as it would be against the rules of the event.”


In the other half of the statement, the EBU emphasizes how the musicality and culture of Ukraine plays a very important role in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. While not addressing the ongoing war directly, it is mentioned that this is the way the EBU chose to how we are ‘United by Music’.

The EBU has ensured from the moment it was agreed that the BBC would host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC that Ukraine, its music, its culture, and its creativity would feature strongly throughout all three live shows.  

No fewer than 11 Ukrainian artists, including last year’s winners Kalush Orchestra, will be performing, or featuring in either the Semi-Finals or Grand Final. 

The brand artwork for the event was created together with a Ukrainian design agency and the incidental music featured throughout the show also composed in collaboration with Ukrainian musicians. 

Additionally, 37 locations around Ukraine will feature in the “postcards”, short films that introduce each of the participating artists before they take to the stage. 

We believe that this is the best way to reflect and celebrate Ukraine’s Eurovision Song Contest win and show we are United By Music during these hard times.

Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram@escxtra on TikTok and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to follow us on Spotify for the latest music from your favourite Eurovision acts, as well as YouTube to see interviews and reactions to the news in the run up to the Eurovision Song Contest 2023!

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