Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine appear on stage after winning the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy, May 15, 2022. Image Credit: REUTERS

Viewers from countries not participating in the Eurovision Song Contest will be able to cast a vote for their favourite act next year for the first time in the competition’s history, the organiser said on Tuesday.

It said the new “Rest of the World” vote was to strengthen the audience’s power to influence the results and to recognise the global reach of the competition, which last year drew a television audience of more than 160 million.

Viewers will be able to vote via a secure online platform, and a full list of eligible countries will be published nearer the time of the event, usually held in May.

“Votes from countries not participating will be combined to create a set of points with the same weight as one participating country in both of the Semi-Finals and the Grand Final,” the contest’s organisers said on their website.

The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in the northern English city of Liverpool on behalf of this year’s winners Ukraine.

Decades-long tradition usually dictates that the winner of the contest gets to host it the following year, but the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said safety and security reasons due to the ongoing conflict there meant runners-up the United Kingdom would host it instead.

The contest’s organisers said they were also making changes to the voting system for the semi-finals, which would now be decided by viewers alone rather than a combination of votes from viewers and national juries of musical experts as previously.

The grand final results will still be decided by a combination of votes by viewers and juries.

It said the changes were designed to protect the event’s integrity after irregular voting patterns in the results of six countries in the 2022 contest.