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Glasgow. The Perfect Eurovision 2023 Location Blog

The winner of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest was Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra. The public gave the act unbelievable support during the televote. They won an incredible 439 votes out of a potential total of 468!

Kalush Orchestra

The result presented European Broadcasting Union EBU officials with a massive headache. It’s a tradition that the winners host the competition the following year. Given the current tragic situation in Ukraine, it soon became apparent that wasn’t going to happen.

As the United Kingdom were runners-up, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and the EBU agreed that the 67th contest would take place in the UK on behalf of Ukraine. But where? We’re rooting for Glasgow to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023!

Photo credit: Sarah Louise Bennett/EBU

What is Eurovision

If you’ve not come across Eurovision before, you might not know how big a spectacle the event is. The contest, hosted by Turin in 2022, was watched by a whopping 161 million over the two semi and grand-final shows.

Eurovision has been the birthplace of many worldwide hits, including “Congratulations”, by Cliff Richard; “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi” by Celine Dion and “Hold Me Now” by Johnny Logan.

Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu” was the Italian entry in 1958 sung by Domenico Modugno. It came third, but you might know it better as the evergreen ditty, “Volaire”.

Lastly, ABBA won the 1974 contest with “Waterloo”.

The Contest

Salvador Sobral 2017 Winner

The event takes place in May each year, where EBU member countries can enter a song and performer in the contest. In 2022, 40 countries participated (Russia, who usually enters the competition, was banned).

The contest takes place over two semi-finals where countries strive to get a place in the grand final alongside what’s known as the “Big Five”- France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, who are the primary funders of the competition.

The winning country of the previous year’s contest is also guaranteed a place in the final.

There are three rules for each performance:

  1. Songs must be originals (no covers) and be no more than 3 minutes in length
  2. The vocals must be sung live
  3. There can be no more than 6 performers on stage

And the Douze Points go to….

There are two rounds of votes. Both award each song 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 or 12 points.

Eurovision Winners Trophy

Firstly, the votes of music professionals from participating countries are announced. A spokesperson in each capital city will read out which songs won that country’s 8, 10 and 12 points, the coveted ”Douze Points!”.

Next is the public vote, which takes place during a short reprise of all the songs and the interval act. In 2022 the interval act was performed by Mika, but perhaps the most famous was “Riverdance”, which took place in 1994. 

Photo Credit: Trophy above/Sam Ryder below Corinne Cuming/EBU

Eurovision Winner 2022

Sam Ryder at the Eurovision Opening Ceremony

Both sets of votes are combined to determine the Eurovision Winner during a nail-biting countdown. In this year’s contest Sam Ryder, representing the UK, came second after a stellar performance of “Space Man”.

The winners were, of course, “Kalush Orchestra” who were given special permission to attend the contest to sing the winning song “Stefania”.

It’s been reported that the band sold their Eurovisio trophy to raise money to support the Ukrainian war effort. 

UK Eurovision Winners

It has to be said that up until this year, the UK’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest was not well received by either the experts or the voting public. Pundits often blamed the lack of success on politics, but could it be that we didn’t take the contest seriously?  

Indeed, Sam Ryder showed what could be done with a good song and a passionate performance. He very nearly joined another Eurovision “Big Five” group. UK artists who won the contest:  


1967      Sandie Shaw - Puppet on a String

1969      Lulu - Boom Bang-a-Bang

1976      Brotherhood of Man - Save Your Kisses For Me

1981      Bucks Fizz - Making Your Mind Up

1997      Katrina and the Waves - Love Shine A Light

The Eurovision Song Contest Movie

Fire and Saga Poster

A couple of years ago Netflix released the highly popular Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. The plot of this loveable movie involves Lars, played by Will Ferrell and Sigrit, Rachel McAdams, who represent Iceland at Eurovision.

The fictional host city for the contest was Glasgow. Who would have thought the real contest could be coming to Scotland just a few years later?  

Glasgow to host Eurovision 2023

When it was announced that Eurovision is coming to the United Kingdom, seven cities put their civic hats in the ring to host the contest. Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and the current bookmakers favourite, Glasgow have all been shortlisted to host.

The winner will be announced in the autumn after careful consideration by the BBC and EBU. Glasgow’s bid will undoubtedly be enhanced by successfully hosting the COP26 event last year. Attended by two US Presidents, Royalty and World Leaders, it was a logistical and organisational triumph proving that the city can host high-profile events successfully.

OVO Hydro Glasgow

OVO Hydro and SEC

Like the movie, the contest will most likely take place at the OVO Hydro, which opened in 2013 and has a maximum capacity of 14,300. The arena is part of the larger Scottish Event Campus (SEC), which provides ample room for the backstage Green Room, broadcast suites and technical support staff.

Hotel Accommodation

An important consideration will be the availability of hotel accommodation. Glasgow boasts over 12,000 hotel rooms, with over 1,000 in hotels near OVO Hydro Glasgow. All the major brands are represented in the city, including Hilton, Accor, Premier Inn and IHG.

Getting to Glasgow

As visitors to the city know, Glasgow is highly accessible. With three International airports just a short drive away, over 260 domestic and international destinations are within easy reach. Glasgow’s own airport is a mere 20 minutes by public transport from the city centre and boasts scheduled flights from British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa and Emirates.

Avanti West Coast trains link the city to London in under 4 hrs 30 mins from the city’s stunning Central Station. On the subject of trains, why not take a ride on the famous Subway? It’s the World’s third oldest after London and Budapest!

What to see in Glasgow

George Square, Glasgow

Glasgow’s many attractions are renowned. Visitors to the city will experience World-Class museums and galleries, including the ever-popular Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside Museum and the newly re-opened Burrell Collection.

Walking through the city centre will bring you face to face with the colourful street art that forms the Glasgow Mural Trail.

Add the sprawling parks that give Glasgow its nickname “The Dear Green Place”; historic buildings such as Glasgow Catherdral; the architectural gems of Charles Rennie Macintosh, and of course, the legendary friendliness of her people.

Glasgow gets our Douze Points

We wish the Bid Team every success in bringing the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest home to Glasgow.

If you’d like to visit Scotland’s largest city to see what all the fuss is about, now is the time. Our freestyle Glasgow, Loch Ness and the Highlands package from London offers a two-night stay, an excursion to the beautiful Scottish Highlands and lots of time to explore the city’s many attractions.

Book your Scotland Tour today.