It’s over for ESC veteran Peter Urban: This year’s Eurovision Song Contest will be the last for the Hamburg journalist. This was announced by the Norddeutsche Rundfunk (NDR) on Wednesday. “I’ll be 75, it’s the 25th ESC and that’s a perfect time to stop. And at some point it should have been anyway,” said Urban of the German Press Agency in Hamburg. The NDR journalist took over the task in 1997 and only had to sit out once due to illness.

Since then, the 74-year-old has commented on the entries in the European singing competition with a mixture of calm, appreciation, expertise and subtle irony. The decision to draw the line came from himself, the native of Lower Saxony continued. “Let others do that now.” Norddeutscher Rundfunk wants to “announce in due course” who will succeed him.

Urban told the NDR: “I hope that even in the years with weaker German results, I have helped with my comments to keep up the interest in this fascinating, unique event that is unparalleled in the world.” This year Urban wants to enjoy the ESC again. “I want to be there live again. I’ve done the last two years here in Hamburg and that wasn’t a replacement.” Above all, he learned to appreciate the harmony and the great atmosphere of the connecting event. The ESC is simply an overall event. “There aren’t two of those in the world. You don’t have to like the music, like every song. There are funny or dramatic, bombastic productions. There’s definitely something to see and I wanted to convey that to people.”

The longest-serving ESC commentator is not Peter Urban. The Swiss Jean-Marc Richard has been commenting on the music competition for French-language radio and television since 1991.

The ESC is considered the largest television music event in the world, with around 200 million people tuning in every year in more than 40 countries. The 67th edition will be played in Liverpool on May 13 – despite Britain only finishing second last year. The reason for this is the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. The BBC is working with Ukraine on this. The Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won the ESC in 2022 in Turin with the title “Stefania”.

The first of the ARD will be broadcast live. The Hamburg rock band Lord Of The Lost will represent Germany with the song “Blood