Sam Ryder will represent England at the 66th Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night. The competition will kick off on May 14 in Turin, Italy after the country won last year’s title with Zitti E Buoni from Maneskin.
The 32-year-old will take to the stage with his song Space Man. Sam Ryder co-wrote Space Man with Wales-based Grammy-winning songwriters Amy Wadge and Max Wolfgang.
Following the semifinals, which took place on Tuesday and Thursday this week, the grand final run sequence has been announced. Sam will appear towards the end of the night at number 22 of 25. You can see the full run sequence, here.
Read more: UK Eurovision Winners: Full list of contestants and songs over the years
Sam will be hoping to impress this year after England finished bottom of the leaderboard in 2021, in fact, it’s been 25 years since England last won Eurovision. But who is Sam Ryder and who represented England last year? Here’s everything you need to know.
Who is Sam Ryder?
Sam Ryder will represent England at the 66th Eurovision Song Contest. The TikTok star, who has more than 12 million followers on the platform, rose to fame by performing hit songs with his incredible vocals during the lockdown.
Sam said he wanted to bring “positive energy” to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest when he represented England in Turin. He added that he wanted to bring the same “intention” he showed on the social media platform, which previously caught the attention of Justin Bieber, Sia and Alicia Keys, to his performance.
Who will represent England in 2021 and 2019?
In 2021, the British contestant will be James Newman with Embers. The Brit Award-winning and Grammy-nominated songwriter, brother of singer John Newman, is getting a second chance after the competition was canceled in 2020 for the first time since 1956 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
James was originally set to represent England with the song My Last Breath, but took to the stage a year later with his “positive and upbeat” entry Embers instead. Unfortunately, James is at the bottom of the leaderboard.
James talked about the time he heard “zero points” in an interview on ITV’s Lorriane last year. He said: “What can you do? We went there and we tried our best. I think we took the best from England.
“I was very happy with the song, very happy with the performance. But the best thing for me was how the audience went so crazy when they said ‘zero points’ but the crowd cheered for me, everyone cheered for me.”
When asked if he had any indication he would finish last in the competition, James said: “I don’t know. I’m really positive. I’m trying to visualize the win so I can put a positive vibe in it. all you can say.
“Writing songs and singing for people, you can’t guarantee it will connect with the audience. I thought, for me, I just wanted to go and try my best and we definitely did. My whole team was amazing. Great timing. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
In 2019, England came in last with Michael Rice’s Bigger Than U. The UK has only won the Eurovision Song Contest five times. You can see the full list of UK winners here.
You can watch the Eurovision Grand Final on BBC One, 14 May starting at 8pm. For more showbiz and television news, get our newsletter here.