The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced that the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Tel Aviv and not in Israel’s capital of Jerusalem as had been previously planned.

The decision comes after months of speculation regarding the location of the annual song contest, with the government initially insisting on holding the popular event in Jerusalem. But following a backlash over the US recognition of the city as Israel’s capital and a subsequent fear of boycotts it dropped the demand.

The Eurovision says it chose Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and commercial capital, because of its “creative and compelling bid.” Jon Ola Sand, the EBU’s Executive Supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest, emphasized Tel Aviv’s “overall setup” was preferable over other options.

“We’d like to thank all the Israeli cities who bid to host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, and although all the bids were exemplary, in the end we decided that Tel Aviv provides the best overall setup for the world’s largest live music event,” Sand stressed.

“We are excited to bring this contest to a brand new city and are looking forward to working together with KAN (Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation) to make 2019’s Eurovision Song Contest the most spectacular one yet,” he concluded.

The semifinals of the competition will be held at the Tel Aviv Convention Center (Gnei Hataarucha) on May 14 and 16, and the final will be held on May 18. It is estimated that the sale of tickets for the semifinals and finals will start in December.