Details have been shared of the handover special for Eurovision 2023, which will decide the make-up of the semi-finals.
The 2023 competition will take place in Liverpool in May, who beat Glasgow to stage the contest on behalf of Ukraine after organisers deemed the country unable to host the event due to their ongoing war with Russia.
On January 31, Rylan and AJ Odudu will present the ‘handover and allocation draw’ for this year live on BBC Two and iPlayer from 7pm GMT. A new BBC podcast called Eurovisioncast is also set to launch that day and run through until the main event.
The draw decides which country will compete in which Eurovision semi-final, and which semi-final last year’s winners Ukraine and the so-called ‘big five’ countries (Spain, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy) will vote in.
Those ‘big five’ and Ukraine automatically qualify for the final, with 37 countries taking part in the semi-finals and 20 progressing to the Grand Final on May 13.
Of the upcoming show, Rylan said: “From being part of the UK delegation since 2018, Eurovision has become such a big part of my life. I’m so excited to be presenting the handover and allocation draw which symbolises the start of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023; the year in which the United Kingdom hosts Ukraine’s party. It’s going to be an amazing year for Eurovision. I genuinely can’t wait.”
AJ Odudu added: “It’s so exciting to have the Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom in 2023. New and existing fans are in for an event like no other come May with spectacular live shows on the BBC and a city take over in Liverpool, all with British creativity and Ukrainian culture at its core. I can’t wait to kick things off with the draw later this month.”
AJ & Rylan will host the #Eurovision 2023 Allocation Draw live from Liverpool on Tuesday 31 January 🎉https://t.co/9WDbXWnqJv
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) January 10, 2023
Elsewhere, Public Image Ltd are to compete to represent Ireland at this year’s Eurovision with new song ‘Hawaii’.
PiL’s new song is a love letter to John Lydon’s wife Nora, who is living with Alzheimer’s. In 2020, Lydon said he threw out a planned album with the band in order to care for her.
“It is dedicated to everyone going through tough times on the journey of life, with the person they care for the most,” he said of the track in a statement, adding: “It’s also a message of hope that ultimately love conquers all.”
The band will compete in a televised competition on February 2 to decide who will represent Ireland at Eurovision 2023.
In other news, the Eurovision Song Contest has announced major voting changes for 2023. Next year’s event will see professional juries scrapped from the semi-finals, meaning that viewers alone will choose who qualifies for the grand final rather than a mix of jury and viewers.