am Ryder has been widely praised after ending a disappointing spell of UK Eurovision results to deliver the UK’s best performance in two decades.
In a nail-biting final, Ryder’s ‘Space Man’ topped the national jury vote, but was pipped at the post by a massive outpouring of public support for Ukraine, which claimed the top spot after the public vote was counted.
Ryder, who is one of the UK’s most successful artists on TikTok, scored a total of 466 points, marking a stunning resurgence for the UK after scoring null points with 2021’s effort.
It is the first time that the UK has placed in the top three in 20 years.
Among those paying tribute to Ryder’s efforts was Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said: “Congratulations to Ukraine for winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.
“It is a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom. Incredibly proud of SamRyderMusic and how he brilliantly represented the UK tonight.”
Katrina Leskanich, who sang the last winning UK entry, Love Shine A Light by Katrina and the Waves in 1997, said: “Three cheers for Sam Ryder what a fantastic result for UK”.
Graham Norton, who presented the contest on BBC One, said: “This is a red letter moment. I am so happy for him, for the UK and for the BBC who have worked so hard to turn our fortunes.”
The 32-year-old star won over the audience, dazzling in a one piece suit encrusted with beads and pearls.
After topping the national jury vote with 283 points, beating favourites Spain and Sweden, Ryder said: “There is so much gratitude, what an experience.”
Ryder was the 22nd act to perform during the grand final in Turin, Italy, playing a guitar mid-show in front of a crowd of 7,000 fans at the Pala Olympica arena who sang along.
He found fame covering songs on TikTok during lockdown, amassing 12 million followers and catching the attention of global stars including Justin Bieber and Alicia Keys.
Paul Hourican, head of music operations EU at TikTok, said: “From Sam’s very first TikTok, to his fantastic result at Eurovison, we’ve been fans every step of the way. Our community always knew his star power, his artistic talent and his phenomenal voice, and we’re delighted that the world has seen it too.
“Congratulations to Sam and all his team on his superb result and of course Ukraine as very worthy winners.”