I am glad UK will host Eurovision, says former Ukrainian winner Jamala

The singer said that, while it would have been ‘symbolic’ for Ukraine to host the contest, Britain is the ‘rational’ option.

27 July 2022

Ukrainian former Eurovision Song Contest winner Jamala has said she is “glad” that the 2023 competition will be held in the UK because it should be in a place where “Russia does not threaten the safety of participants and guests”.

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won this year’s contest in Turin, Italy, but British cities have begun to make bids to host next year’s event after the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) decided it could not be held in the war-torn country following the Russian invasion.

Jamala, 38, who won Eurovision in 2016 with her song 1944, fled Kyiv in March and said it would have been “symbolic” to hold the competition in Ukraine.

Glastonbury Festival 2022
Ukrainian singer Jamala won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 (Yui Mok/PA)

“The Eurovision Song Contest, created after World War II, has been uniting Europe for decades,” she told the PA news agency.

“So, speaking from the heart, it would be very symbolic to hold it in our country.

“Not only because Kalush Orchestra won, but also because today Ukraine is a shield for freedom and democracy of the whole Europe.”

But Jamala said Britain is the “rational” option as she carries hope that her country will one day be able to host the contest again.

“Rationally, the contest should take place in a place where Russia does not threaten the safety of participants and guests,” she said.

“I am glad that the contest will be held in (the UK) on behalf of my country, but I hope that very soon we will be able to hold it at home – in peaceful Ukraine.”

The UK became a frontrunner to host in 2023 after British entrant Sam Ryder came second in May with his single Space Man – a performance Jamala described as “really, really, really good”.

Ryder reminded fans that next year’s Eurovision will still be “Ukraine’s party” following the announcement that it will be held in the UK.

The singer said his “heart was heavy” knowing that the world-famous song contest cannot be held in Ukraine but was quick to add that the UK will be part of a group of “loving facilitators”.

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