Winners Kalush Orchestra say Eurovision 2023 WILL take place in Ukraine

Kalush Orchestra
Kalush Orchestra are Eurovision 2022 champions. (Image credit: Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images)

Defiant Eurovision champions Kalush Orchestra say they are determined that Eurovision 2023 WILL be held in Ukraine, despite the ongoing war with Russia.

Kalush Orchestra stormed to victory at Eurovision 2022 with their song Stefania in Turin on Saturday after the public vote catapulted them from mid-table after the judges’ votes to an unsurmountable 631 points. 

The UK’s Sam Ryder was leading the 25 nations after the judges vote with his incendiary performance of Space Man, but the public’s universal sympathy for the plight of Ukraine meant he had to be content with 466 points and second place.

Before the event, Kalush Orchestra band leader Oleh Psiuk said his country would host Eurovision 2023, but clearly that will be impossible if war is still raging.

He told Eurovison World: “If we win, the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will take place in Ukraine. It will be a new, integrated, well-developed and flourishing Ukraine.”

It would be wonderful to think that could happen and President Vlodymyr Zelensky echoed the sentiments after their triumph, writing on Facebook: “Our courage impresses the world our music conquers Europe! Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in its history. And I believe – not for the last time.”

Ukraine last held the event in Kyiv in 2017, a year after Jamala won with their song 1944.

In the event that the country is not in a state to host Eurovision, there is a growing school of thought that it could be co-hosted with runner-up country the United Kingdom – in the UK.

There is a precedent: Australia, for example, has a condition that if it ever wins Eurovision that it would host the following year in a European country, partnered with a European broadcaster.

British Business Secretary Kwasi Karteng told Sky News that he ‘looks forward to it being held’ in Ukraine, but qualified that comment with the suggestion the UK would support Ukraine in hosting the event next year.

Sam Ryder, fresh from producing Britain’s best result at Eurovision since Katrina and the Waves' victory with Love Shine A Light in 1997, told the BBC that his result was the ‘tip of an iceberg … The UK is going to be a force next year. It’s going to be mad.”

In another year, he would have been a worthy winner, as many people commented. One person posted on YouTube: “although I am from Ukraine, but I honestly believe that your country really deserved this victory, despite everything!”

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.