UK hopeful Sam Ryder performs upbeat song in Eurovision final
The UK’s Eurovision hopeful, Sam Ryder, has taken to the stage with an upbeat performance of his uplifting pop song Space Man.
The 32-year-old Tik Tok star is one of 25 acts vying for the top prize during the climax of the week-long contest in Turin, Italy.
He took to the stage in a dazzling one piece encrusted with planets, moons and stars made of beads and pearls.
Ryder was the 22nd act to perform, playing a guitar mid-show in front of a crowd of 7,000 fans at the Pala Olympica arena who sang along.
Concluding his set, the singer said: “Shine brightly my friends. Thank you all.”
Graham Norton, who is once again anchoring the contest on BBC One, said: “What a powerhouse performance. You can’t ask for much more than that.
“There is a sea of Union Jack flags.”
Ryder hopes to improve the UK’s chances after it was bottom of the leader board in both of the past two contests – coming last in 2019 with Michael Rice’s Bigger Than Us, and James Newman’s Embers scoring “nul points” in 2021.
He co-wrote the uplifting pop song with Grammy-winning songwriter Amy Wadge, who has previously worked with Ed Sheeran and Max Wolfgang.
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The Eurovision final features the 20 successful nations from the week’s two semi-finals, as well as the so-called big five of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
During the show, folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra performed an impressive rendition of their song Stefania.
The Ukrainian act is the favourite to win currently, having been frontrunners since Russia’s invasion – which prompted organisers to ban the country from competing.
The group was dressed in elaborate outfits, including long multi-coloured fringed ensembles, a pink bucket hat and others in traditional patterns.
Their performance, which combined rap and Ukrainian folklore, went down well with the audience who cheered the group on with many waving Ukrainian flags.
Norton said: “We weren’t sure they were going to make it but they have made it.
“Their commentator did not make it, he is commentating from a bomb shelter.”
During the show, fellow folk band Iceland’s Systur, who performed ballad Meo Haekkandi Sol, ended their performance saying: “This is for Ukraine, we love you.”
The final opened with an energetic performance featuring strobe lighting and projections of the sculpture of David by Michelangelo from Czech Republic’s We Are Domi singing Lights Off.
Finland’s rock group The Rasmus kicked off the first few performances with a powerful version of Jezebel, ripping their shirts off mid-show.
Marius Bear from Switzerland delivered a raw rendition of his track Boys Do Cry backdropped with simple lighting while France’s Alvan and Ahez had fire on stage to perform their track Fulenn.
Norway’s Subwoolfer dressed in yellow wolf costumes while performing a synchronised dance number and singing Give That Wolf A Banana.
Armenia’s representative, Rosa Linn, gave an emotional performance with her song Snap on a stage with a bed, lamp and chair all seemingly wrapped in white toilet roll.
Spain’s entrant Chanel gave a jazzy performance to SloMo while the entire crowd sang along with Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco who sang Brividi, which featured a powerful rap, behind a back drop of twinkly lights.
Estonia closed the show with Stefan performing a catchy rendition of Hope, adding at the end of his performance: “Don’t lose your hope for a better tomorrow.”
Reigning Eurovision Song Contest champions, Italian rock band Maneskin, will also be taking to the stage to perform their new single Supermodel.