Little did we British Eurofans know back in March just how much of a good thing we were onto with Sam Ryder. The TikTok star has fully embraced his role as the UK representative endearing himself to fans both, at home and (crucially) abroad. With a positive online presence, batting back relentless negative questions and delightful unplugged street concerts…he’s already more than done his bit. Now it’s our turn to get behind our man
1. The Voice: Above all else at Eurovision you want your singers to have a great voice and it’s safe to say, in Sam, the UK has exactly that. Ryder seemingly has a voice gifted from the Gods with an ability to make everything feel that bit more epic. Courtesy of Scott Mills we’ve heard our Sam belt out online comments about himself and chants from the football terraces amongst others. I reckon he could read out a pizza menu and it would sound like an epic saga. He’s the real deal.
2. Famous Fans: Courtesy of Sam building a significant following on TikTok we all know he’s found himself some well-known admirers. His covers have grabbed the attention of the likes of Alicia Keys and Justin Bieber. Most recently, Camilla Cabello gave Space Man the seal of approval when appearing on Radio 1. It’s no wonder with a voice like that he’s attracting such high-profile fans. Just a shame none of them are able to vote in Eurovision!
3. F1 Fan: OK, this one might just be for me but he’s an F1 fan. Not long after he was chosen Ryder was posting on Instagram as he watched the hit Netflix show, Drive to Survive. A few weeks later and there he is in Imola meeting Toto Wolff…the taller, German equivalent of Christer Bjorkman.
4. The song: Just try listening to it a couple of times and not end up having “I’m up in space maaaaaan” stuck in your head!
5. Europe seems to love him: Whilst Sam has been doing his bit to charm folks here at home (and I’ll come to that) it’s our friends across the Continent that will be voting. As well as attending preview events and endless talk shows across Europe he also attracted crowds at acoustic gigs on the streets of a number of European cities. I cannot recall this level of love for a British act from fans abroad for as long as I’ve been covering the Contest.
Even if one of those jaunts resulted in a trip to Spanish A&E!
6. The hair: Look at it, just look at that proud mane. The man looks like he should be riding a mighty steed in an oil painting. It is majestic.
7. Changing Attitudes: After the nadir for the UK at Eurovision in 2021 we needed a positive force for change. There have been those working away on the inside at the BBC, but first and foremost you need people to believe in your act. Sam has done exactly that. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve messaged me recently saying how much they love this year’s song. That’s all on him.
In press conferences and interviews, he’s repeatedly batted back questions about what may or may not influence the UK’s recent fortunes at the Contest with grace, intelligence and humour. At every possible opportunity, Sam has shone brightly as a joyous beacon of positivity. With decades of stereotypes and negativity to fight it’s not going to change overnight but with Sam and Space Man this feels like the turnaround has begun.