The shortlist of potential UK towns to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019 has been made public, and seven cities are still in the race.
The competition to host the event in May will be between Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, and Sheffield.
According to the BBC, 20 cities expressed interest, and those that didn’t make the shortlist included London and Belfast.
After it was determined that Ukraine, the 2022 winners, could not host the competition, it was agreed that the UK would do so.
At the competition held in Turin, Italy this year, UK singer Sam Ryder came in second.
The decision to move it due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has resulted in a fiercely competitive selection process amongst UK locations that want to draw thousands of tourists and the attention of about 160 million TV viewers worldwide.
According to the BBC, the cities’ ability to demonstrate that they have “the capacity, capability, and expertise to organize an event of this magnitude and complexity” led to the selection of the seven-city shortlist.
The process was “heavily weighted towards having prior expertise in organizing significant international events, as well as being able to establish their credentials in staging a celebration of contemporary music,” according to the statement.
At a time when both the BBC and the government are looking to relocate events and opportunities outside of the city, London would have satisfied those requirements but didn’t make the cut. Aberdeen, Brighton, Bristol, and Darlington are some cities that will be left out.
As it stands, Birmingham is the only city further south than Glasgow, which represents Scotland, and five of the six cities are in the north of England.
Belfast was the sole viable candidate from Northern Ireland, while no Welsh cities submitted bids.
The BBC and the Eurovision organizers will select the winning city, which will be revealed in the fall.
The favorites according to the bookies are Glasgow and Birmingham, while Glasgow and Manchester have won the most votes in polls on Eurovision fan websites.
The host location for Eurovision is expected to have space for roughly 10,000 spectators, be conveniently located near an international airport, and have adequate hotels to accommodate at least 2,000 participants, journalists, and viewers.
All prospective sites would need to reschedule concerts and events since a venue would be required for preparations six to eight weeks before the song contest.
Jamala, a former Eurovision champion from Ukraine, said that the next competition will be the “best Eurovision” yet.
Despite initially hoped Ukraine would be allowed to host, Jamala claimed the UK is the “greatest place in the world” to host the competition when she won Eurovision in 2016 with her song 1944.
She told the PA news agency, “For me, [the UK] is the finest country in the world for music.” “That’s why your nation, which is about music and is full of many types and genres, is the greatest spot for me to attend Eurovision.”